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Cumbrian Challenge

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Route Guide

Pick the ‘Peak’, ‘Tough’ or ‘Tougher…

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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 and new friends, alongside our inspirational beneficiaries.

If you haven’t signed up already, join us for a fun and challenging weekend.

The routes for the 2017 Peak, Tough and Tougher will be confirmed and revealed in October.

The Peak

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

Perfect for participants with no experience in the hills and wanting to climb their first Lake District peak and/or first Wainwright. It will be (relatively) gentle, it will incorporate a peak and you’ll have all day to do it. A fantastic first taste of the fells for your team or to ensure everyone can come and take part.

The Tough

Circa 24km, 1100m of ascent, 5-10 hours duration depending on fitness (minimum pace of 2.3km an hour required)

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, taking in several high peaks before heading back into Grasmere for well deserved tea and medals.

The Tougher

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

The big one. This is a tough day. A long day. A rewarding day which will need teamwork to get through it. You’ll need to hang on to the inspiration of seeing teams of our beneficiaries (marked out with different coloured event t-shirts) digging in and getting on. There are cut off times and teams which miss them will be politely turned around onto escape routes or the other courses to ensure your safety and enjoyment.

The route will take in numerous peaks and introduce you to a range of stunning vistas across the fells before plunging back to the finish to swap excited tales with friends new and old and celebrate a new-found appreciation of your team.

Decision time

Don’t know which route suits you? Check out details below of our previous routes and timings. 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 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 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 FULLY 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 essential.

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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