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Cumbrian Challenge 2016 Routes revealed

Routes Revealed for Cumbria 2016

The ‘Tough’ and ‘Tougher’ routes have been confirmed for the Cumbrian Challenge in May 2016 along with a new, easier, ‘Peak’ route – is your team up for the challenge?

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Here are the stunning routes for our infamous Cumbrian Challenge 2016 for teams of four in the Lake District.

There are three routes catering for every ability from the ‘Peak’ for those new to the fells or carrying a little Christmas excess to our traditional ‘Tough’ and ‘Tougher’ for the fitter, more confident teams keen on a big day in the beautiful fells. You’ll face an early start, enjoy a magical, if stretching, walk out onto the fells and be back in time for an evening of music and a slap-up feed with your team-mates.

If you haven’t signed up already, join us for a fun and challenging weekend. Every team that signs up can support another wounded veteran back into work and you will get to meet and compete against our beneficiaries and expedition members at a very informal and memorable event.

The Peak

12.5km, 514m of ascent, 5-10 hours duration depending on fitness (minimum pace of 1.25km an hour required) Map of Peak route

Perfect for participants with no experience in the hills and wanting to climb their first Lake District peak and/or first Wainwright. The route loops round and over the lovely Loughrigg Fell (335m) which stands above the beautiful lake of Grasmere. A fantastic first taste of the fells for your team.

The Tough

24km, 1100m of ascent, 5-10 hours duration depending on fitness (minimum pace of 2.3km an hour required) Map of Tough route part 1 / part 2

A big day in the hills for teams with a reasonable level of fitness, broken in boots and appetite to get up high and experience the best the Lake District has to offer. Tackle the legendary fell run route up out of Grasmere Sports Ground before looping round above Grasmere and across the valley and up past the waterfalls to Easedale Tarn, picking an interesting path through the rocks round and up to the famous Langdale Pikes, scaling Harrison Stickle (736m) before dropping down and striking out for home along the Langdale valley, past Loughrigg and back into Grasmere for well deserved tea and medals.

The Tougher

31.5km, 1650m of ascent, 5-11 hours depending on fitness (minimum pace of 2.9km an hour required) Map of Tougher route

The big one. This is a tough day. A long day. A rewarding day which will need teamwork to get through it. It starts with the same short, sharp surprise of the Grasmere Sports fell run route straight up from the start line and then loops around Grasmere and follows the picturesque Easedale Beck up to Easedale Tarn, picks a route through the steep and rocky Eagle Crag before topping out at High Raise (762m) with stunning views out over Great Gable and down to Borrowdale. Teams will then turn to the majestic Langdale Pikes, passing Thunacar Knott (723m) before climbing Harrison Stickle and then an ‘exciting’ and memorable scramble up Pike Of Stickle (709m), high above the Langdale valley.

Teams will then descend to the valley but while the Tough route teams turn back towards the finish, Tougher teams will head up once more climbing to the stunning Blea Tarn then up over Lingmoor Fell (469m) before finally heading for home with a final sting in the tail up Loughrigg Fell (335m) and a stagger to the finish line.

Rupert Bonington, owner of Mountain Fuel, son of Sir Chris Bonington and an expert on the Lake District’s trails helped recce the Tougher route (which includes the first half of the Tough route) with WWTW event manager Andy Sloan.

He said: “It wasn’t event day so I didn’t get any of the adulation, clapping or cheering at the finish as no one was there but what I did have was a great sense of achievement, a day to remember for a long time and a huge smile on my face as Andy and I shook hands and both agreed that that was an incredible route!”

Here is his elevation map of the route and photos.

Want to know more? Visit our Cumbrian Challenge page.

Don’t know which route suits you? Check out details below of our previous routes and timings – along with estimates for 2016. 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.

What to consider when choosing your route?

Fitness

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.

Weather

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 in places by our partners Distant Horizons who are responsible for setting the routes and ensuring we get everyone safely off the hill. The routes are not guided or marked therefore a level of map reading competence within your team is needed.   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 and support a wounded veteran back into work.

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