WaterAid Mountain Challenge 2017

When: 10 June 2017
Where: Lake District, England
Distance: Routes vary in length and difficulty
Registration fee: £15 per person
Fundraising target: £75 per person

The WaterAid Mountain Challenge is a one day team-based trekking event, where hundreds of hikers form teams to take on a walking route to help achieve an overall team goal.

This year’s Mountain Challenge returns to the Lake District to tackle the ‘unfinished business’ of 2016 – to have at least one team on the top of each of the 214 Wainwright peaks.

Teams are made up of 4-7 people and we suggest finding team members before signing up to the event. If you are an individual or a pair and looking to join with others to create a team then please email [email protected] and we will add you to our ‘Looking for a team’ list before then getting in touch in May to try and find you a team.

Responding to feedback from last year, we have halved the number of routes this year by combining or extending existing walks and creating a few new ones. This means there is a higher proportion of Strenuous and Very Strenuous routes for you to choose from.

So go ahead, explore your options and enjoy the mountains! 

Find your route >

From the minute you sign up we’ll be on hand to support you with the following:

  • WaterAid branded item to wear /display on the day
  • Fundraising pack to help you meet your targets
  • Training programme and expert training tips for all levels
  • Email support from our training partners
  • Fundraising and event resources including balloons, collecting tins and banners
  • Regular newsletters and emails to keep you updated
  • Support and advice from a dedicated member of the WaterAid events team

We’re here to help you every step of the way on your challenge journey, and we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch if you have a question or want to chat to the coaches about your training. 

Signing up

How much does each team need to raise?

Each team member taking part in the challenge is asked to raise a minimum of £75 in sponsorship.

Why does each team need a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 7 team members?

This is to account for the safety of each team member and to ensure that we are not overloading the local environment. As a commitment to making this event environmentally friendly, we have limited the number of teams to three per mountain (except in a few exceptional cases where we have liaised with local land managers to permit four teams on the route, subject to access and timings).

Can we pick our routes?

Yes, once you click through to the ‘Find your route’ area of these webpages you will see the route options split by difficulty. Once you select a difficulty or the ‘All Wainwright routes’ option, you will see a list of available walks along with a brief description of each route and details of its length, ascent and the approximate time it should take to complete the route from start to finish (breaks not included). You can then click on the ‘Book your route’ button to register onto the challenge for your chosen route.

Can we pick our own teams and teammates?

Yes, this is a team event and the vast majority of teams will be setup by groups of colleagues, friends or family members. We would encourage you to try and recruit a minimum of 4 team members before signing up to a route.

If you struggle to find team members or want to take part as an individual or pair please see the question below.

Can individuals and pairs take part?

If you would like to take part but don’t have a group of at least four people then please get in touch and we can put you together with others in a similar position to create teams. We may even be able to assign your group an experienced trekker to lead it.

What is the age limit for the event and can children & dogs take part?

The age limit for participants to register on the event is 18 years of age and above.

Children, under 18s and dogs can also walk with you but they will not officially be part of the event and do not count towards your number of team members. All teams must have 4-7 adults.

You will be solely responsible for the safety of any under 18 or dog you have with you on the day. You will also be responsible for the safety of others they encounter. You must therefore supervise them closely at all times and be sure that they are capable of completing the route you choose.

You must also ensure that you follow the Lake District National Park’s guidance on walking with children and walking with dogs .

We would therefore strongly suggest that anyone planning on walking with under 18s or dogs stick to the ‘Easy’ or ‘Moderate’ routes.

Are there hikes of varying difficulty for different abilities?

Yes, we have routes split into five different difficulty levels: Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Strenuous and Very strenuous. This variety allows something for everyone whilst giving seasoned walkers the opportunity to tackle multiple summits whilst also providing options for less experienced walkers.

The shortest walks are in the Easy category and start at around 2km in length with a minimum of around 200m of ascent (also known as ‘elevation’ or ‘vertical distance’). The longest walks are in the Strenuous and Very Strenuous categories with routes of up to 24km in length with up to 1,900m of ascent. Walks in these categories also require more experience as the terrain is more technical and navigation is harder.

Can places be transferred, deferred or refunded?

Entries cannot be transferred to another person, refunded or deferred.

On the day

What is the start and finish time of the event?

Our contact centre will be open between 8am-8pm on event day (Saturday 10th June). Team leaders will phone the contact centre to let us know their team are starting and when they have finished their route. They (or any participant in the event) can also call us during this time in case of an emergency or injury that occurs during the challenge.

Therefore all teams should start after 8am and finish before 8pm.

So exact start times are up to your teams and you don’t have to be walking first thing in the morning but we strongly recommend all teams start early enough to give them time to complete their challenge before the light starts fading and well before 8pm - this is especially important for those doing the longer, more difficult routes.

It is vitally important that the contact centre is informed when teams have finished their challenge as, if we haven’t heard from you before 8pm, we have to assume that you are still out in the hills and then need to start calling your emergency contacts and possible the emergency services. This is an event safety requirement which we must adhere to but it can cause unnecessary distress to your emergency contact if you forget to let us know that your challenge has finished.

What happens if the weather is bad?

Weather can be changeable, particularly in the hills. What can look like a sunny day at the start can be cold or raining by the time you reach the top. We suggest that you follow the kit recommendations in the safety guidelines. The event will still go ahead, whatever the weather but please remember to be sensible and judge the weather for yourselves on the day.

Is the event environmentally-friendly & does it adhere to the Country Code?

The beautiful landscape and wildlife of the Lake District and our National Parks need to be looked after and preserved. As such we are keen to ensure that the event itself and all participants in the WaterAid Mountain Challenge act in an environmentally-friendly manner.

We have limited the number of teams on each challenge route to three to minimize impact on any one area of land. We also inform all relevant authorities and agencies about the event in advance and respond to any queries or concerns they raise.

As a participant we will also provide you with safety guidelines and a copy of the Country Code, These should be followed at all times during the challenge.

We strongly believe in ‘leave no trace walking’ where walkers keep to established paths and trails, don’t interfere with local plants and wildlife and keep hold of all rubbish until they can dispose of it in a bin after their walk is finished. All walkers must be aware of this and respect and protect the environment.

Once you’ve finished your walk, you’ll probably be in the mood for celebrating and/or refuelling. So this year we are suggesting some pubs in the lakes for you to head to.

We hope lots of teams will pop in to create an atmosphere and give you all a chance to toast your achievement, get to meet other WaterAid Mountain Challenge teams and share your experiences of the day, while having the odd drink or two!

All the pubs have accommodation, except the pub in Keswick where there are plenty of other options locally. Make sure to book rooms and meals as early as possible, as the Great North Swim in Ambleside and the Keswick Mountain Festival are both taking place during Mountain Challenge weekend so the pubs and hotels will be busy.

When looking for accommodation, please bear in mind that the A591 between Windermere and Ambleside will be very busy during the day all weekend because of the Great North Swim at the Low Wood Hotel.

The suggested meeting pubs are:

The Coledale Inn, Braithwaite
Situated at the top of the village.
017687 78272

Braithwaite also has two other pubs (Royal Oak and Middle Ruddings) as well as Scotgate Caravan and camping site.

The Wainwright, Keswick
On Lake Road (opposite the George Fisher mountain shop)
017687 44927

1769 bar and restaurant, The Inn at Grasmere
In the centre of the village.
015394 35456

The Unicorn Inn, Ambleside
On North Road, running parallel to the A591 through the town. If you book a room here and ask for Paul he will offer a discount if you tell him you are part of the Challenge)
015394 33216

The Britannia Inn, Elterwater
In the centre of the village
01539 437210

The Black Bull Inn, Coniston
In the centre of the village
015394 41335

Mountain Challenge call centre – checking in/out and emergencies

The most important thing to remember on the day is to call the WaterAid Mountain Challenge Call Centre both when you set off and finish your climb, on 020 7793 4450 (open from 8am-6pm). Aim to finish your route well before 6pm, because if we haven’t heard from your team by then we will call your emergency contacts and this could cause unnecessary distress.

Please make sure each of your team have the phone number as well as the emergency card.

Download your emergency card >

Navigating your route

Remember this is a self-guided team walk so you should all have a copy of your route card and the team as a whole should possess at least two compasses and copies of the relevant 1:25,000 scale maps for the areas to be walked (and know how to use them!). We recommend the Ordnance Survey (OS) Explorer map series (map numbers – OL 4,5,6,& 7).

These maps can be purchased online at the OS shop, or other online retailers and high street shops such as Cotswold Outdoor. Please check you have the correct maps - your route may go across more than one map, so make sure you have maps covering all sections of your journey.

The fells are well signposted in some areas of the lakes but not all, and signposts should not be relied upon in place of your route card, map and compass. Neither should GPS mapping apps, because phone signal is hard to find in the Lakes and uses up phone battery. Each team member needs to ensure that their phone battery is preserved for calls - it could also make sense to bring an emergency charger.

Download your route card >

Be a responsible hiker and protect the Lakes

The Lake District is a beautiful part of the world, and we’re committed to ensuring it says that way, so please make sure that you adhere to the Countryside Code. This includes sticking to dedicated paths, closing gates behind you and taking all litter away with you. The goal is to enjoy your day but aim to leave no trace, so people can have the same fun experience next time, rather than picking up your litter!

Share your pictures & videos!

And finally, don’t forget to send us your best photos and videos as well as any feedback you have. It's always great to see what you've been up to and hear your stories. Please email us or tweet them to @WaterAidUK using #WAMC. We can’t wait to see them!

Have any last minute questions?

We're happy to help! Please read the information below or email us