Inspiration / Mountaineering / Running / Walking /

6 Awe-Inspiring New Year Challenges

Not for the faint hearted By Cotswold Outdoor
Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Happy New Year! Christmas is done for another year and our thoughts turn to a more resolute 2016 with achievement, self actualisation and personal growth all on the menu (perhaps). Whilst resolving not to leave tea bags in the sink is entirely worthwhile, we decided to put together a list of 6 challenges of the more inspiring nature to provide inspiration for your new year adventures.

These challenges certainly aren’t for the faint hearted. All require determination, fitness and a significant investment in preparation time to complete. Whether you fancy trekking, paddling, pedalling or running across this finish line in 2016 we’ve got a challenge for you.


When: 3rd June
Where: Peruvian Amazon
How: Run

Running 230km over 5 stages is eye watering in itself, throw in 100% humidity, thick jungle, mountain tracks and carrying your own gear and you’ll start to appreciate the challenge involved in the Jungle Ultra. Set deep in the Peruvian Amazon the event is a formidable self-supported challenge with river crossings, creatures of the jungle and technical trails to test the most adventurous of endurance runners.

See more of The Jungle Ultra »

Trek the GR20

When: Late June to early September
Where: Corsica
How: Trek

Often considered to be the toughest and most spectacular of the GR (Grand Randonnee/Great Trek) routes, the GR20 route in Corsica covers a stunning variety of terrains and should only be tackled by those with a high level of fitness and with careful preparation and planning. At approximately 200km in length with over 10,000m in height variation the route can be split into two parts (North and South), with the North section being more mountainous, technical and challenging and the South a little easier. The whole route can be walked in 15 days and doesn’t require technical climbing skills but don’t underestimate any part of this adventure, it is as beautiful as it is challenging!

Get the facts and information on the GR20 »


When: March 2016
Where: Devizes, Wiltshire
How: Canoe

The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race covers 125 miles providing challengers with one of the toughest endurance events in the UK and a serious test of fitness and determination. Held annually since 1948, the route starts in Devizes, Wiltshire, travels the Kennet & Avon Canal to Reading to join the River Thames where the last of the 77 portages (short carry sections) at Teddington sets you on the 17 miles tidal portion of the Thames, providing some challenging river conditions and the sting in the tail. The Senior Doubles is non-stop testing mind and body to the max as you paddle through the night over Easter Weekend. Or split the challenge over four days for a different format to your endurance challenge. Serious training is essential to undertake this wonderfully British challenge.

Read what you need to take to the water »


When: January 2016/2017
Where: The Pennine Way
How: Run

This 268 mile Montane Spine Race along the entire Pennine Way is considered to be amongst the world’s most brutal races and showcases the wilder side of the British landscape. Athletes face deep snow, high winds, sideways rain and mud, in a 7 day foot race from Edale in the Peak District up to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. The 2016 race begins on 9th of January so if the event sounds like your your bag then it’s worth enjoying the extensive coverage that the race receives (participants carry GPS live tracking devices) and seeing if you meet the required experience. This is undoubtedly a challenge of serious magnitude not for the inexperienced!

Read about Britain’s most brutal race »


Where: Mont Blanc, French/Italian Alps
When: June to September
How: Mountaineer
© Robert Anderson

At 4810m, Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Western Europe and stands proud amongst the Alpine peaks. Given careful preparation, favourable weather conditions and a high level of fitness Mont Blanc can be expected to take 2 days and so can be done in a weekend. Indeed our Buying Director, Peter Holtmeyer-Cole, did just that in September 2015 via the Gouter hut route.

Steeped in climbing history and romance, ascending Mont Blanc,whilst not as technically challenging as some mountaineering peaks, should not be underestimated and requires experience using ice axes and crampons. Those with less experience but who are up for a serious challenge can book guided expeditions.

Learn about climbing Mont Blanc »


When: 1st - 3rd July 2016
Where: Whitehaven to Scarborough
How: Mountain Bike

Go coast to coast along waymarked mountain biking trails, travelling through the stunning Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors. The Rat Race team know how to organise big events, so whilst they take care of the logistics you can focus on the challenge and the trails. You’ll need to be up for 200 miles over 3 days with 18,000 feet of climbing along a huge variety of surfaces but this a really fun (and challenging) way to do the coast to coast.

Get the info on The Crossing »