WaterAid Mountain Challenge

Add to Calendar 2018-06-09 00:00:00 2018-06-09 00:00:00 WaterAid Mountain Challenge Join hundreds of hikers on this one day trekking event and raise money to help make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene become a normal part of life for people around the world. Location WaterAid UK [email protected] Europe/London public
Yorkshire Dales National Park
1 peak (6 miles) or 3 peaks (24 miles)
Registration fee:
Minimum sponsorship :

Event information

Join hundreds of hikers on this one day trekking event and raise money to help make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene become a normal part of life for people around the world.

The WaterAid Mountain Challenge began over twenty years ago, and is one of WaterAid’s longest-running events. This year we headed to the Dales taking on the stunning Yorkshire 3 Peaks (in glorious sunshine!), giving walkers the opportunity to conquer the summits of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Walkers chose between the fun, achievable 1 Peak challenge (6 miles, 650m elevation gain) or the more challenging 3 Peak (24 mile, 1650m elevation gain) option.

Watch this space for details of the 2019 event!

What people are saying

"Was a class day. Thanks for setting it up!"
Aaron Oakes
"We all thoroughly enjoyed the event and we already want to sign up for next year!"
Denis Rimmer


What does the registration fee cover?

This helps cover the costs of setting up and running the event, including providing participants with:

Before the event

  • Training tips, fitness plans and kit lists
  • A fundraising guide, containing loads of great advice and ideas to help you get started
  • Fundraising materials like balloons, collecting tins and banners (these can be requested by emailing [email protected] )
  • Event information emails and support from a dedicated member of the WaterAid events team

On event day

  • A great start/finish venue with car park next door
  • Water and snacks (at the start/finish and at marshalled checkpoints)
  • WaterAid branded bag covers
  • Certificates (for those that complete their chosen route)
  • Mountain guide walk leaders
  • Marshals at checkpoints on the route
  • Mobile first aid medics
What's the minimum fundraising target? What's the easiest way to collect the money?

The individual minimum fundraising target is £100 per person.

We'll be on hand to give you fundraising support, advice and materials but the easiest way to quickly reach this target is to create an online donations page on JustGiving. You can do this during the event signup process.

This page can later be linked to a team Just Giving page (if you’re in a team and you have created a team page) so you can aim for an overall team target. We would then base your team’s overall target on the number of team members times the minimum individual target (e.g. 3 walkers - £300, 4 walkers - £400, 5 walkers - £500, etc). But we would still expect each participant to raise at least £100 each.

When do event registrations close?

Event registrations will close on Monday 4 June 2018 but we would encourage you to sign up as soon as possible to give you the maximum time to train, prepare and fundraise.

Can places be transferred, deferred or refunded?

Entries cannot be refunded or deferred but they can be transferred to another individual before event registrations close on Monday 4 June 2018.

If you do need to transfer your place to another person please email [email protected] to arrange this.

What's the age limit for the event?

The age limit for participants to register on the event is 16 years of age and above but all 16-18 year olds must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

We would strongly advise that anyone wanting to walk with under 18s should only take on the 1 Peak route.

Can I take part as a group? Will I need to walk in a group?

You can sign up as an individual, a pair or a larger group. But we will likely set you off with others in slightly larger groups. However, once on the mountain, and if the weather allows it, we find it much more enjoyable for people to be able to walk at their own pace, in the group size they wish. The route is very well signposted with obvious, wide paths.

You may be able to walk with one of our qualified mountain instructors who will be on the mountain with you. Please ask us about this on the day of the event and we will try and organise this for you.

How do I sign up?

Applications for 2018 are now closed. Keep an eye out for when sign-ups to the 2019 event open.

What support can I get from WaterAid to help with my training and fundraising?

To support all our walkers in the lead up to event day we’ve teamed up with our training partner, RunningWithUs, to provide you with guides on how to build up your fitness and prepare for your challenge. You can find these above under 'resources'.

To help support you with fundraising, we'll send you an online fundraising guide and some emails, with loads of great advice and ideas to help you get started.

We can also send you materials like balloons, collecting tins, banners and sponsor forms. To request these or any other items please email [email protected] with details of what you would like, how you would use it and the best postal address to send them to.

What are the route options and how difficult are they? How fit do I need to be?

You can choose between the fun, achievable 1 Peak challenge (6 miles, 650m elevation gain) or the more challenging 3 Peak (24 miles, 1650m elevation gain) option. Whichever option you choose, please be aware that this is a challenging event and it’s important that you’re prepared physically for the walk. We encourage you to do regular weekly training to build up your fitness and stamina.

Because of the nature of the event we would recommend that pregnant women and people with heart disease, high blood pressure or chest problems do not attempt this walk.

How long does the route take to walk? Is there a cut off time?

12 hours is the ‘target time’ for most people who walk the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and the majority of walkers complete the walk within that time. A small percentage take 12–13 hours.

Unfortunately, if we think a person is going to take more than 13–14 hours we'll need to apply a cut off at the Philpin Lane checkpoint (after the 2nd peak) at around 2.30pm. If people miss this cut off time they will be transported back to the village hall. This cut off is in place to make sure people aren’t over-exerting themselves or getting caught out in the dark!

When I should look to reach each peak in order to stay within the cut off time?

To complete the route in under 12 hours, you should have reached and then left the summits of Pen-y-Ghent in less than 1.5 hours, Whernside in less than 6.5 hours and Ingleborough in less than 9.5 hours.

Do you have any tips to make sure I complete the route within the allotted time?
  • Eat lots of foods rich in carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta and potatoes, in the days prior to the event.
  • Get a full night’s rest before the event.
  • Don’t start too fast. Go steady BUT be aware that you will not get faster as the day wears on. Most people slow down significantly after 7–8 hours.
  • Never stop for more than 10 mins at the checkpoints – especially if the weather is bad.
  • Don’t carry too much water (its heavy – roughly 1kg per litre) as you can get resupplied at the roadside checkpoints (roughly every 4 hours). 1.5 -2 litres will be fine unless it's particularly hot.
  • Eat regularly – on long days you should try and eat small and often (every 30 – 45 minutes).
  • Don’t wear too many clothes to start – overheating leads to dehydration.
  • Wear good quality footwear and socks (carry a spare pair of socks). Make sure you go for a walk in them BEFORE the challenge!
  • Use walking poles if you have them.
  • If you think you will be close to 12 hours (or are a slower walker) register early and start early to avoid the cut off time.
What support and facilities will there be on the route?

We'll have marshal checkpoints along the route, where you can top up on water and snacks and get advice or medical attention if needed. Marshals will be able to contact event management if needed.

Although these checkpoints will not have toilets, our marshals will be able to tell you where the next toilet is. Please be aware that toilets on the route are very far apart.

We'll also have some mountain leader guides walking the route during the event who may also be able to assist you. We may also set groups off from the start with mountain leaders so please mention at registration if you'd like to be part of one of these groups.

Where and when do we start?

Both the 1 and 3 peak routes will start and finish at the village hall in Horton-in-Ribblesdale (Full address: Chapel Lane, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Settle, BD24 0HA).

Registration will take place between 6-7am but we encourage all walkers to register as early as possible to give themselves maximum time to complete the challenge. Due to the length and difficulty of this walk, and in order to manage the event efficiently and safely, this registration window is very strict.

If you arrive after 7am we will not be able to register you.

During registration we'll do a kit inspection to ensure you have adequate clothing for the weather and terrain. We'll also need to check that we have the correct mobile number for you.

Please do not bring sponsorship monies or forms with you, but please send them in afterwards.

How do I get to the start? What are the travel options?


Horton-in-Ribblesdale has a train station in the centre of the village and it can be reached via routes from Leeds and Carlisle. To minimise impact on the environment we would encourage all participants to consider using the train if possible. Both routes include some very scenic views.

On the day of the event, train into Horton will not arrive early enough for registration. We suggest you arrive on Friday evening and leave on Sunday morning – this also gives you time to recover and celebrate your achievement on Saturday night!

You can find out more details about train travel to/from Horton-in-Ribblesdale on the National Rail Enquiries website.


The Horton-in-Ribblesdale village hall is found on Chapel Lane, postcode BD24 0HA. Please allow plenty of time for your journey on the morning of the event, as roads are narrow and traffic can be slow.

Is there a car park I can use?

Yes, you can park in the field next to the village hall, which will cost £3 per car. Please make sure you bring this in exact change.

If you'd prefer not to use the car park field, there are hard-standing car parks in the centre of Horton-in-Ribblesdale (north of the village hall) but these also charge.

If you have arranged accommodation nearby, you may be able to leave your car there for the day.

Please be aware that street parking or curbside parking in Horton-in-Ribblesdale is very difficult and can cause problems with organised events and local residents.

Are there places I can stay nearby?

Horton-in-Ribblesdale has various accommodation options including hotels, B&Bs, bunkhouse, self-catering cottages and a large campsite. Details of these options can be found on the village’s website.

As the normal start point of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks route and a lovely part of the Dales in its own right, accommodation options in Horton do fill fast on summer weekends. So you may need to look further afield in nearby villages such as Chapel-le-Dale and Settle.

Where do we finish?

Both routes finish back at the village hall in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

You'll need to check back in at the village hall after the challenge - whether you have completed the walk or retired early from the event - so that we can account for all participants. If you do not sign back in, it may result in us calling out mountain rescue unnecessarily.

What do I need to bring? Is there a kit list?

On the day of the event a mountain leader will check your kit and in extreme cases reserves the right to disallow participants if their ‘essential kit’ is inadequate. The essential items on the kit list are there for your safety. We will not let you take part if you are missing essential equipment. The weather is notoriously changeable and can be severe in this area regardless of season, so we strongly recommend that you come prepared for all eventualities.

Essential Kit

  • Footwear - a flexible pair of walking boots with high ankle support and grippy soles. Trainers are not acceptable. To avoid blisters wear a good quality pair of walking socks and make sure your boots are broken in. If you don’t have a pair of walking socks, then wearing two pairs of socks (one thick, one thin) should work. If you are prone to blisters, please pre-plaster the points which suffer most.
  • Clothing – Layer up! We advise a base layer (wicking top), mid-layer (microfleece), and good quality waterproof outer layer combined with walking trousers, shorts or stretchy tracksuit trousers (not jeans!). If you are prone to feeling the cold thermal leggings may also be useful. Please also bring additional layers of clothing suitable for both warm and cold weather conditions.
  • Waterproofs - Fully waterproof jacket and over-trousers, preferably made from good quality material such as Gore-Tex or eVent.
  • Rucksack – 25-30 litre capacity (large enough to carry spare clothing, food, water bottle, camera). 
  • Warm weather kit – sunglasses, sun cream and sun hat.
  • Cold weather kit – woolly hat, gloves and scarf.
  • Food and drink – Water (2 litres), flask and packed lunch. It's important that you carry water to avoid dehydrated. Also carry enough high calories snacks to keep you going for the duration of the walk – good options are nuts, chocolate, cereal bars or a good piece of Kendal Mint cake.
  • Mobile phone – everyone must take a fully charged mobile phone and keep it in a waterproof bag (zip lock sandwich bags work well for this). If you don't have a mobile phone or your battery runs out, make sure you stay with a fellow walker who has a phone. These numbers must be provided to the registration team before you start your challenge.

Suggested Kit

The following kit is still likely to be useful and could make your challenge significantly more comfortable:

  • Walking or ski poles - these are recommended for support, especially in descent, for tired legs and for boosting you uphill.
  • Ordnance Survey map & compass – although the route is well signposted and we will have marshals to direct you at junctions, it’s never a bad idea to have a map available, especially if the weather becomes an issue. We recommend the OL2 Explorer map (which includes a mobile download version) available from the Ordnance Survey website.
  • Torch with spare batteries.
  • Survival bag and whistle - person-sized plastic survival bag available in outdoor shops.
  • Personal first aid kit - including: rehydration tablets, plasters, blister plasters, sterile gauze dressings, bandages, safety pins, tweezers, scissors, alcohol-free cleansing wipes, painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen (as appropriate to yourself), sticky tape, cream to relieve insect bites and stings.
Can I bring my dog?

We ask participants not to bring their dogs. This is due to the presence of local livestock on both routes.

What happens of the weather is bad on the day?

As we all know the weather in the UK can be changeable, particularly in the hills. What can look like a sunny day in the valley can be cold or raining at the summit, which is why the items on your kit list are so important for your safety. Please remember to bring all the required kit, be sensible and judge the weather for yourselves on the day.

Our mountain guides will regularly monitor the weather along the route in advance of the trek, and they'll advise us of any safety concerns before and during the event. Any decision to cancel the event would be based on their expert advice and will only be taken if they consider the health and safety of the participants to be at risk should the event continue. Should they advise to cancel the event, all participants would be contacted by telephone immediately.

Will I need to know how to use the compass and map?

No, the whole route is well signposted with wide trails and we have put in marshalled checkpoints at path junctions to ensure you stay on course.

What happens if I become injured or ill and need to retire from the event? What happens if there is an emergency?

Our checkpoint staff, walk guides and mobile first aid medics will all be linked by full radio communications. If you have a problem, alert your marshal or guide and they'll arrange for your care and/or transport back to the start/finish point at the Horton-in-Ribblesdale village hall.

It's strict policy for this event that under 18s must be accompanied at all times by the parent/guardian responsible for them. If an under 18's parent/guardian needs to retire from the event then the under 18 will also have to retire - both will be returned to start/finish point.

In the unlikely event you're unable contact a marshal, guide or another member of staff in an emergency and you are also unable to reach the nearest event checkpoint (either ahead of or behind you), you should consider calling the Emergency Services - 999 and ask for police and Mountain Rescue.

The international distress call can be used to attract attention; six blasts on a whistle, or six shouts or six flashes of a torch followed by a pause of one minute before repeating the signal. The answering call is three blasts, shouts or flashes.

What happens when I finish my route – do I need to sign back in?

You must check back in at the start/finish point at Horton-in-Ribblesdale village hall, whether you have completed the walk or retired early from the event. If you don't sign back in with us, we may call out mountain rescue unnecessarily.

How do you make sure the event is environmentally-friendly? Do you adhere to the Country Code?

The beautiful landscape and wildlife of the Yorkshire Dales National Park needs 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.

Rather than using plastic bottles or cups, we provide water in tanks for our walkers to refill their own bottles/carriers. We also provide fruit and other snacks with minimal packaging and then collect rubbish and recycling separately at every checkpoint along the route.

All walkers are given a copy of the Country Code and a pre-event briefing making it clear that they should follow the principles of ‘leave no trace’ hiking. Walkers are advised to carry a rubbish bag with them and take their personal rubbish home after the event.

We're also donating £1 from every entry fee to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, to help with upkeep of the paths and surrounding area.

Stay in touch

Looking to sign up for the event? Or do you need some help choosing your route?

Contact Alan in the Events team and he’ll be happy to help.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 020 7793 4594

You can also join the WaterAid Events Facebook group to get answers to any questions you may have.

Alan Gardiner, WaterAid UK