FKT: Nathan Roulson - River Colne, Source to Sea (United Kingdom) - 2020-07-07

Route variation
Standard point-to-point
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
8h 24m 45s

River Colne, Source to Sea

A new running route has been established that follows the River Colne from its source to the sea. Nathan Roulson of Halstead Road Runners planned the route over several weeks and completed the 52 mile run on 7th July, in a time of 8 hours 24 minutes.

There are many FKT routes in the wilder parts of the British Isles, but only a handful in Essex.

In his book The Colne by Boat, Bike and Boot, Ken Rickwood suggests the source of the river is “an ancient spring in a field beside Ridgewell’s St Lawrence church”.

Nathan said “the location of the spring is not obvious amongst drainage ditches and is off the marked public footpath, so in order to make the route easier for others to follow, I defined the start of the route to be the main doorway of the church. It’s a really beautiful spot to start a day of walking or running”.

Nathan wanted to to make an Unsupported attempt, so needed to recce water stops along the route. He continues “the first water point is at Saint Barnabas Church, Chapel at 16 miles and the next at All Saints Church Brightlingsea at 35 miles. The end of the route is Colne Point Nature reserve, specifically the Colne Point SSSI sign (sight of special scientific interest) just beyond the bridge over Ray Creek.

The terrain is maybe one-quarter paved surfaces – the rest is woodland, farmland, tree-lined river valleys, estuaries and marshes. It passes through Yeldham, the Hedinghams, the Colnes, Colchester, Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea, where it loops inland around the Brightlingsea Creek, through St Osyth to Point Clear - and finally Lee-Over-Sands.

"The scenery varies significantly and much of it is truly beautiful. My pack weighed 3.7kg including the following items:

  1. Camelbak Ultra 10 vest
  2. 2 litres of Tailwind with caffeine
  3. 200g Tailwind caffeine powder
  4. 100g Tailwind powder
  5. PhD Nutrition Smart bar
  6. Eat Natural bar
  7. Leki Micro Trail Race poles
  8. Samsung Galaxy S8, power bank + cable
  9. Small first aid kit
  10. Inov8 AT/C Stormshell Full Zip Jacket
  11. Tailwind cap
  12. Buff
  13. Forearm guards
  14. 20ml hand sanitiser 
  15. Car key

"I was wearing my trusty Altra Olympus 3.0 trail shoes (for those longer days out!) shorts, Halstead Road Runners t-shirt and Skins calf guards.

"After several weeks of recce runs and a three-day delay due to high winds, the attempt went to plan. I used my poles between 35 and 45 miles to preserve my legs for a final 10k push".