GALA Harriers ladies defended their national crown at the weekend.

The team of Jenny Forbes, Fiona Dalgliesh, Kate Jenkins and Anya Campbell yet again made the running to claim the Scottish Masters Cross Country Championships.

The quartet were backed up Fiona Shepard, Rachel Fagan and Dawn Grant, who all featured in the top half of the field at Forres.

Gala Harriers could have been forgiven for turning back half way up the A9 on Friday night, such was the snow fall making roads impassable and driving conditions treacherous.

As it transpired, the conditions for the race itself were far more forgiving than might have been expected with fairly decent underfoot conditions on the undulating parkland and woodland trails.

In the female race, there were fantastic performances from all seven ladies and they underlined their dominance of recent months with another team gold, comfortably seeing off a challenge from Carnegie and Corstorphine.

Jenny Forbes led the way in 7th with fantastic back up from Fiona Dalgleish (8th) and Kate Jenkins (10th).

If Jenny hadn’t suffered a wrong turn, she may well have picked up an individual bronze medal.

Anya Campbell was the next Harrier home in 12th and she was rewarded with a richly deserved age-group bronze medal, underlining the improvements in her running over the last 12 months.

Not to be outdone, there were equally strong runs from Fiona Shepard (23rd), Rachel Fagan (29th) and Dawn Grant (32nd).

Six male athletes also made the journey north and whilst not in the medals, all enjoyed their outing with Dave Nightingale agonisingly missing out on an age group bronze medal, being passed in the last 500m to finish 4th (89th overall).

Craig Mattocks led the charge for Gala in 21st with Rory Campbell (46th), Bob Johnson (84th), Billy McCulloch (133rd) and Derrick Brydon (137th) making up the remaining places.

There was a silver medal for Teviotdale Harrier James Pittillo, who finished just behind Edinburgh's Walter McCaskey in the Over 80s race.