We’re delighted to unveil the routes for the 2015 Cumbrian Challenge, our flagship, annual, fundraising event in the Lake District.
Teams of four tackle one of two routes – the ‘Tough’ or the ‘Tougher’, with both routes climbing the majestic peaks of Steel Fell (553m) and Fairfield (873m) high above the beautiful village of Grasmere where the race will start and finish. You’ll face an early 7am start, be stretched on the fells, but also be back in time for an evening of live music and entertainment and slap-up feed with new friends and team-mates.
Join us for a fun and challenging weekend on 15-17 May 2015, competing alongside our beneficiaries and expedition members for just £200 per team – with every team that signs up supporting another wounded veteran back into work.
20km, 1300m of ascent, 5-11 hours (depending on fitness – minimum pace 1.8 km/hr)
Climbs up the stunning southern ridge of Steel Fell before dropping sharply down, across the valley and then starting a long climb up to Fairfield – the highest peak in the Eastern Fells south of the Helvellyn range. The route then follows a long descent down to the start/finish line in Grasmere via the beautiful spur featuring Great Rigg and Heron Pike with stunning views across to the Langdales and Scafell.
29km, 1800m of ascent, 5-11 hours (depending on fitness – minimum pace 2.6 km/hr)
Follows the Tougher route up Steel Fell and then the lung-busting scree of Fairfield before striking out along the ridge close to Hart Crag, up to Dove Crag, Little Hart Crag and a final climb up to Red Screes before a lengthy descent into Ambleside and a stunning march along the undulating valley, through the majestic Rydal Hall, to the start/finish line in Grasmere.
Don’t know which route suits you? Check out details below of our previous routes and timings – along with estimates for 2015. These will help you judge which route is most suitable for you and help guide you with the level of training and preparation you and your team require to meet the challenge.
Please note, your team can change its route choice up to two weeks before the event.
The paces take into consideration short breaks and the ascent involved. When walking on flat ground and pavements you will be able to walk much faster (!) – mountainous terrain has a large impact on your natural pace so please take this into account.
Fitness plays a big part in a challenge like this, and generally the fitter you are the more enjoyable it is. So use it as an excuse to get fit. You do not need to be a highly-trained mountaineer but there is a level of training and preparation required for such a challenge. The sooner you start training, the ‘easier’ it is going to be and will reduce the chance of injury in the build up or on the day.
To help you train utilise the available training plan on the Cumbrian Challenge page and ask your local gym or fitness instructor to help with suggestions on specific exercises for you. We appreciate not everyone has a mountain range nearby however we strongly advise participants to train in mountainous areas at least once a month if possible. Not only to check that your training is working and to gain some hill fitness, but to ensure your clothing and equipment is suitable. ‘Hills’ can be closer than you think – make the most of any stairs at work or be inventive and use the stairs in a local multi-storey car park.
When training in mountainous terrain the required km/h pace for your chosen route will help you gauge whether you are able to maintain a suitable pace and therefore whether your current training/fitness levels are on target. Bear in mind that the Lake District mountains are a lot higher than most uphill areas in the UK, so your highest local peak may actually only be half the height. Therefore repetition ascents may be useful to give you a more realistic feel of the amount you will experience on the actual challenge routes.
When choosing your route please take into consideration the dynamic nature of mountain weather and how this can affect your pace. Conditions can be very changeable and even when it is warm and dry in the valley the tops can be an altogether different environment. By training outdoors in all weather conditions you will be able to better understand the physical and mental impacts different conditions can have and how to deal with them. Hot weather can be just as challenging as wet and cold conditions.
Do I need mountain navigation skills?
The route is marshalled and not guided therefore a level of map reading competence within your team is certainly advantageous. Marshals will be at key locations (junctions, spot heights) and will point you in the right direction and offer as much help as they can, but will not be able to walk with you. The routes will follow well-defined paths for the vast majority of the way and certain sections may have tape markers to help, but if visibility is poor, as it can well be in the mountains, having at least one member in your group who has basic map reading and compass skills, understands the features and can orientate with map and compass is strongly advised.
An Ordnance Survey map of the routes will be provided at the briefing the evening before the challenge, but each team will be required to have their own compass.
What if you’re struggling to complete the route on the day?
Don’t worry, there will be marshals throughout the course monitoring everyone and if, for whatever reason, you are unable to maintain the slowest pace required to complete your route in time, marshals will be on hand to show you an alternative, shorter route down.
Obviously everyone’s aim is complete their chosen route but factors such as injury, tiredness and weather can have an impact. To ensure your safety on the routes it is very important to heed the advice of marshals and if you are asked to descend via a shorter route this is for your team and personal safety, and also for the wellbeing of the event as a whole.
The routes have been designed to be challenging but not so that you must be a trained athlete to complete them. Get training with your team-mates, use the information here and you will be participating in a fantastic challenge for an even more fantastic cause.
REGISTER YOUR TEAM NOW FOR THE CUMBRIAN CHALLENGE 2015 and support a wounded veteran back into work.