The aim of the event is to inspire & involve people of all ages in outdoor pursuits. Based at Sheffields 200 acre Graves Park, the event will feature elite competitions and professional demonstrations in rock climbing, orienteering, mountain biking, running, slacklining, and adventure racing. There will also be three artificial caves to try out for free, as well as free climbing walls with professional tuition, free orienteering courses, free physiotherapy consultations and treatment- Plus much much more.
Tickets cost £7 on the day and accompanied under 16’s are free.
The first purpose-built ‘black’ grade mountain bike trail in Cumbria has been officially opened at the Forestry Commission’s Grizedale Forest. The downhill trail, which is more than a kilometre long, was built by a small team of passionate and dedicated volunteers who are mountain biking enthusiasts, supported by the Grizedale Mountain Bikes team and the Forestry Commission’s recreation ranger. Mountain bike trails are graded by colour in a similar way to ski runs – green, blue, red and black – with black being the most difficult and suited only to experienced riders.
The black trail adds to the existing mountain biking and cycling trail network at Grizedale, which includes the 16km-long red grade North Face Trail, a plethora of exciting bridleways, several way-marked family bike trails on the forest road system, and the Grizedale Mountain Bikes’ bike hire and shop.
Katie Jarvis, Forestry Commission recreation ranger at Grizedale Forest, said, “We are now able to offer great trails to suit all levels of riders, from families with children on our forest road routes, the cross-country mountain bikers with the North Face Trail and bridleways, and now the more experienced riders and downhill adrenaline-junkies with the new black route.”
One great way to enjoy Grizedale throughout the year is by getting a Discovery Pass which also costs far less than a gym membership. For only £40 a year, this entitles you to free parking within the forest, 10% off items in the visitor centre shop, 20% off Go Ape high wire adventure courses on weekdays during term-time and a saving of £24 on adult membership of the CTC (the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation) as well as other benefits.
For more information about Grizedale, visit www.visitlakelandforests.co.uk. For regular updates on Grizedale Forest visit the Grizedale Forest Facebook page. Follow this link to watch a video of the trail – www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4IqJk7u6hA.
For those who prefer their holidays to include lung-bursting outdoor pursuits and plenty of perspiration, there is no shortage of challenging sporting events around Loch Ness and Inverness during the summer and early autumn months this year.
Along the Great Glen in May, the annual Whole Way Walk is the longest ranger guided walk in the country. This 79 mile journey takes walkers to the heart of the Highlands by combining six days of guided hiking with other events showcasing the area’s history and heritage. From 6-11 May, participants will trek the width of the country from Fort William on the west coast to Inverness on the east offering a unique opportunity to experience this environment up close and personal.
Alternatively, adrenaline seeking visitors might like to take part in the Drambuie Pursuit, which runs from 11-13 May. The nine-stage event takes in the Loch Ness area, with events at Invergarry, Fort Augustus and the River Ness and combines a wide range of outdoor activities including archery, buggy racing, white water rafting, rock climbing, abseiling, hill running and mountain biking. Not for the faint hearted, this high-energy Highland challenge offers an exciting and inspirational introduction to the area.
Heading into June, outdoors enthusiasts have the opportunity to join a range of events at the ‘Outta Affric’ Glen Affric Walking Festival. This four-day festival (1- 4 June) offers graded and guided walks taking in a selection of Munros and Corbetts alongside a packed programme of entertaining, interesting and informative extras.
For those who like to inject a little variety into their travels, June also brings a selection of exciting challenges taking in the Loch Ness area. The first is the Scotland Coast to Coast event. This two day challenge (15-16 June) allows entrants to select their own level, taking one or two days to tackle the route from the east coast at Nairn to the west coast at Ballachulish by running or walking, kayaking and cycling through its tough terrain either alone or as part of a two-person team.
June 16 will also see walkers gathering at Gairlochy on Scotland’s west coast for the 24 hour Caledonian Challenge, where participants attempt to complete a 54 mile route through some of the Highland’s most spectacular scenery in just one day all in aid of the Scottish Community Foundation. And just a week later the area will play host to the Highland Cross duathlon event (invitation only) The Highland Cross takes place on 23rd June with participants attempting to complete a 20 mile walk and 30 mile bike ride through the rugged terrain of Glen Affric and Strathglass to finish in the beautiful village of Beauly.
August sees the arrival of the Monster Swim at Loch Ness. This open water aquatic event offers the opportunity to tackle either the one mile Big Yin or the half mile Wee Nessie course – both of which offer the opportunity for participants to truly immerse themselves in the surroundings and see spectacular scenery from an entirely new angle. The season of exertion and exhilaration is rounded off on 30 September with the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon which offers a rare opportunity to race on the roads round this iconic loch location. This must-run route takes in 26 miles of spectacular surroundings, with the finishing line in the Highland capital of Inverness.
Further information on the area, accommodation and what’s on around Loch Ness and Inverness at www.visitlochness.com
TweedLove, the Bike Festival (26 May – 5 June 2012) set in the very bike-friendly Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders, has announced a major new all-mountain enduro race to be staged at Forestry Commission Scotland’s Glentress on 27 May 2012. In a new take on the gravity enduro format, The King and Queen of the Hill will see riders compete to be crowned the ‘official ruler’ of Glentress, widely recognised as Britain’s best trail centre.
The course will take riders to near the very top of Glentress Forest’s big hill, and then right back down again, by way of a series of timed race and linking stages, with riders required to have at least one uphill stage included in their overall points score. The King and Queen of the Hill also features a massive final descent stage, running from near Spooky Wood all the way back down to Peebles, with a big proportion of natural trails along the route.
Event organiser Neil Dalgleish said, “If you’re going to be the King or Queen of Glentress, you’ve got to rule the whole hill, which means you need to be decent going up as well as a ripper coming down. The final descent is going to be a real challenge for all the riders with a mix of Glentress signature man-made track as well as off-camber roots, natural, tight technical and fast open sections all the way from the top of the hill, right down to the bottom.”
Another first for the ‘King and Queen of the Hill’ is that it will start and finish in the town of Peebles, in the grounds of the renowned Peebles Hotel Hydro. Dalgleish added, ‘The Peebles Hotel Hydro is a beautiful hotel, with amazing grounds all round it – and the trails roll right down to their door. It’s the perfect spot for the event HQ.’
Entries for the race are now open on the TweedLove website – http://tweedlove.com/ – which has more info on the race and the whole TweedLove programme – ten days of good times on and off the bike.
The light and sound installation ‘Sòrn’ at Strathmashie Forest, Laggan in the Cairngorms National Park (the UK’s largest national park at 4,528 sq km) has been created by the artist Gill Russell. Funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), the Cairngorms Local Action Group and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the project celebrates 2011’s UNESCO Year of the Forest by creating artworks in outdoor locations in the national park which ‘enhance awareness of the heritage of the forest and of the people who live there’. Sòrn is the culmination of the project and has been supported by Laggan Forest Trust which is hosting the exhibition over the winter months. Sòrn is designed to be seen in darkness so anyone wishing to view the installation is advised to visit in the evening. Located on a good forest track five minutes from the Wolftrax car park, Sòrn is well signposted but remember to bring a torch!
More down to earth, a new mountain bike centre near Tomintoul, which could create the longest single track descent in Scotland, has been approved by the CNPA. Two trails will be built – 10 kilometres and 19 kilometres – through the forests and on existing forest roads. The descent from the summit of Carn Daimh on the longer of the trails will be approximately 4.7 kilometres. CNPA Planning Officer, Mary Grier, said, “Interesting and challenging trails will be created from the existing landform rather than being man-made and will involve limited construction and minimal tree felling. We’ve also added a condition that the trail should be no wider than 1.2 metres, all of which helps protect the surrounding forest and landscape. Currently both cyclists and walkers use the forest roads and the likelihood of conflict between the two has been identified as low. The increased promotion of the new centre could attract more people to enjoy the outdoors in this area of the park and explore the existing network of paths.”