Walking is a fantastic past-time – a great, non-competitive form of outdoor exercise that allows contemplation, exploration and adventure. Every now and then though it’s nice to add in a bit of spice and setting yourself a challenge. One way of doing that is to join an organised event as an individual or team and challenge yourself in the company of lots of fellow walking enthusiasts. If you’re looking for an event to add to your outdoor new year resolutions list then this is the post for you!
From putting on your boots for a charity walk to tests of endurance or navigational skill, here is an ever-expanding list of organised walks, principally in the UK, that I have come across. I’ve included a separate list of family walks which are aimed specifically at children or young families. That doesn’t mean that other walks listed aren’t open to children but you will need to check the fine print of the individual event for details and use your common sense. A lot of them, given they are endurance challenges, have a minimum age restriction and are not suitable for minors.
If you’ve got any suggestions to add to the list then please leave a comment or send me an email and if you’re taking part in an event then I’d love to know how you get on! I’ll be adding new walking events throughout the year as I come across them. Here’s a few to get started:
Three Peaks Challenge: Climb the three highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland within 24 hours. Not a challenge for the faint-hearted or who like time to stop and enjoy the view along the way! Various dates.
Yorkshire Three Peaks: Climb Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in Yorkshire Dales National Park within 12 hours. Various dates.
Welsh Three Peaks: Take in Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan on the Welsh version of the Three Peaks Challenge. Various dates.
Welsh 3000’s : A super-testing walking challenge involving climbing all the peaks in Wales over 3000ft, generally within 24 hours though there is no set time. Choose your date.
TGO Challenge: A self-supported walking challenge across the Scottish Highlands from West Coast to East Coast, with a maximum time of 15 days. This is open to over-18’s only and involves planning your own route.
Tour de Trigs: A 24 hour overnight hiking challenge for teams of 3 across Oxfordshire and South Warwickshire covering 30 miles or 50 miles in total and using only maps and sets of coordinates to guide you. Open to school and youth organisations as well as the general public. 5th/6th December 2015.
Family Walking Events
Barnardos Big Toddle: Organise your own short sponsored walk raising money for disadvantaged children or join a local event near you.
Toddle Waddle: Arrange your own Toddle Waddle or join a local event raising money for Meningitis Now.
Tommy’s Baby Races: The Baby Races are a series of power-walking events across the UK over the year for parents and families. You can power-walk with your pushchair and take place at child friendly venues, which are jointly organised with BuggyFit. Money goes towards Tommy’s medical research projects.
Eye to Eye Family Friendly Charity Walk: a 4 mile family friendly charity walk through London for the Moorfields Eye Hospital. 22nd March 2015.
Oli’s Safari Walk: A 3km pushchair friendly family walk through Knowsley Safari Park to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. 17th May 2015
The Macmillan Trail Series: 5 marathon distance hiking challenges along some fantastic routes along the South Coast, Trans Pennine Trail, Chilterns, North Downs and Hadrian’s Wall. Raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Various dates across July and August.
London2Brighton Challenge: Walk from Richmond in London to Brighton Race Course covering a distance of 100km. There are also shorter options and it is also open to runners. 16’s and over. Choose your charity to walk for from a large selection. 23rd May 2015.
Isle of Wight Challenge: Another Action Challenge event for over 16’s taking in the whole of the Isle of Wight coastal path – a full 106km! There are also 1/4 and 1/2 island options and you can walk or join the runners.Choose your charity to walk for from a large selection. 2/3rd May 2015
Grand Union Challenge: An Action Challenge event for the over 12’s (14 for 50km and 16 for 100km) from London out to the Chilterns along the Grand Union Canal towpath. 25km, 50km and 100km options and you can choose to join the majority of walkers or run. Choose your charity to walk for from a large selection. 27/28th June 2015
London2Cambridge Challenge: An Action Challenge event for the over 16’s on a 100km or 26.2km route starting from the Olympic Park and heading out up towards Cambridge. Walk or run.Choose your charity to walk for from a large selection. 29th August 2015.
Thames Path Challenge: An Action Challenge even for the over 16’s (14 for 50km, 12 for 25km) heading out of London along the Thames Path. 25km, 50km and 100km distances. Walk or run. Choose your charity to walk for from a large selection.12/13th September 2015
The Midnight PLOD Trek for Action Medical Research for Children: Take on one of five routes in the Costwolds, Trossachs, Mourne Mountains, Rutlands or South Downs Way. Starting at midnight on various dates across the summer months, walk an endurance testing 50km as part of a team.
TrekFest – The Peaks: With a choice of between 15 and 54 miles through the Peak District National Park, you can choose to walk for the charity of your choice. 5/6th September 2015
The Moon Walk: Take on a night time challenge in London or Edinburgh to raise money for breast cancer charities. Distances go up to marathon length although there are much shorter versions (from 6km) which are open to over 10’s. Two dates in June.
Marie Cure Walk 10: Walk 10km for Marie Curie at various locations throughout the UK. Various dates.
Fright Hike: Take a spooky 30km walk on dates during October and November at four woodland locations across the UK. With 6 hours to complete the event, this is a seasonal challenge for those who aren’t easily scared! Walk for a wide range of participating charities.
Five Valleys Walk: Take a walk through the Cotswolds on varying distances to raise money for Meningitis Now. 27th September 2015
Alliance Trust Cateran Yomp: A 24 hour 52 mile hike around the Cateran Trail with archery, clay pigeon shooting and more along the way. Three options of distances are included.
Oxfam TrailTrekker: A 100km hike through the Yorkshire Dales in around 30 hours to raise money for Oxfam. Teams of 4. 22/23rd August 2015.