The UK has a new X-Alps style hike-and-fly race – and you don’t have to be able to run like Toma Coconea or fly like Chrigel Maurer to take part.
The X-Lakes Challenge will take place in England’s Lake District National Park over the weekend of 18-19 May this year, and is designed to be a hike-and-fly adventure for pilots of all abilities and fitness levels.
Pilots will have to create their own route around the national park, choosing from any of 214 local hills and peaks to use as turnpoints. Each hill will have a score – the team or pilot who gets the most points wins.
“The aim is for pilots to experience the wonders of the English Lake District by bagging as many 1,000ft Wainwright Fells as possible, either on foot or by paraglider,” organisers said.
“Wainwrights” are the 214 English hilltops in the Lake District. Known locally as fells they are called Wainwrights after the author of the original guidebooks to the area. All 214 Wainwrights lie within the boundary of the Lake District National Park, and all but one are taller than 1,000 feet (304.8m).
The challenge for pilots will be to hike or fly to the summits of as many Wainwrights as possible, scoring points for each peak that they tag.
Pilots will be able to take part solo or as a team of two. Those with no local knowledge will be encouraged to pair up with a local who knows the area well.
“Ideally a local pilot will buddy-up with a visiting pilot to assist them with local navigation and meteorology,” organisers said. “However, any pair of pilots can enter as a team.”
Two race classes mean the pilots can either spend the night camped out or in a hotel, or take it easy on a day hike.
The “Hardcore” race will last 32 hours, from 8am Saturday until 4pm on Sunday, with a compulsory overnight rest period.
The “Day Trippers” race will last eight hours on Saturday, from 9am to 5pm.
Advice on possible routes, weather and safety will be given at the competition briefing on the Friday night ahead of the competition start.
SIV guru Jocky Sanderson will be meet director, and the competition will be based at his Flight Park near Keswick. Richard Bungay, who supported Steve Nash in the Red Bull X-Alps 2015 and works for UK Airsports, will supply logistics.
Pilots must pay a team entry fee of £50, which will go towards supplying satellite trackers for each pilot, prizes and the end of competition party. Any profits made will be donated to the local mountain rescue team.
Pilots can sign up at any time until 9pm on Friday 18 May, the night before the race starts.
Find out more and sign up here