What's your plan for 2018? Is this the year that you take on your first big trail run, or your first orienteering challenge? Maybe it's the year you decide to enter a foot race against 200 horses?
If you haven't decided on your big challenge or escape yet there's good news, because we've put our heads together to round up some of the highlights of the coming year for you.
Montane Spine Race
We genuinely can’t think of a harder race than this. Walking the entire Pennine Way is considered an achievement enough in itself, let alone running it in the middle of winter and with your food and shelter on your back. Good news for those who don’t like the cold is that the first ever summer version, the Spine Race Fusion will be held this year. Same race, different season.
More details: thespinerace.com
Fort William Mountain Festival
Adventurer and broadcaster Lowri Morgan will be talking about self-belief at this year’s festival at the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’. There’ll also be the annual film competition night, the Best of Banff showcase plus a host of mountaineering and adventure workshops.
More details: mountainfestival.co.uk
The OutdoorsMagic Trail Marathon and Half
Yes that’s right, we’ve got our own event this year. As part of the OMM Lite festival weekend we’re putting on an all-terrain marathon and half marathon in the beautiful Forest of Dean. It’ll be fully-waymarked and marshalled and at the end you’ll be cheered over the finish line by hundreds of spectators at the OMM basecamp.
Almost every year since 1980, around 300 backpackers from the UK and around the world head to Scotland to walk their own personally crafted routes from the west coast to the east. The self-supported journey typically takes around two weeks and the majority of hikers will opt to camp for the entire duration. This year’s event is full but keep an eye out for the call for 2019 entries.
More details: tgochallenge.co.uk
Ras y Gader / Cader Idris Mountain Race
A race in Snowdonia from Dolgellau town centre up to the top of Cader Idris and then back down exactly the same way. In the 10.5 miles covered, runners are faced with over 3000ft of ascent and a huge variety of terrain underfoot. It’s just one of many quirky mountain races on the running calendar this year.
More details: cader-race.co.uk
The Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon
This year’s Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (LAMM) on the Isle of Harris will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the Outer Hebrides. It’s a two-day running and navigation challenge where entrants must also camp out overnight and carry all their kit for it. With the race location already announced, 2018 sees a break from tradition – it's normally only revealed to competitors just 36 hours before the starting gun.
More details: lamm.co.uk
Keswick Mountain Festival
One of the biggest events on the outdoor calendar, the Keswick Mountain Festival brings a host of cycling, swimming and trail-based activities to the Lake District town as well as live music and talks from some of the biggest names in adventure. The main stage is perched right on the shore of Derwentwater with the fells beyond making for a stunning backdrop.
More details: keswickmountainfestival.co.uk
Whole Earth Man versus Horse
Pretty much what it says on the tin. Every year hundreds of runners pit themselves against dozens of people on horseback to see if they can complete a 22 mile off-road course through the hills surrounding Llanwrtyd Wells in Mid Wales. Man has only beaten Horse twice in the event’s 37-year history.
More details: green-events.co.uk
The classic fell running and orienteering race returns for the 51st time, challenging entrants to run from point to point over terrain that some would deem near-on impassable. There’s two days of running with an overnight camp – and yes, you have to carry all your equipment. This year it's in the South West, but we can’t tell you specifically where, that information is kept secret by the race organisers until just weeks before the event.
More details: theomm.com
Kendal Mountain Festival
The main focus at this festival is mountain film and there has certainly been some memorable stuff premiered here over the years. You can also expect a packed programme of talks and workshops on anything from climbing to mountain photography. We can’t not mention the 10k trail run – it’s become a bit of a classic.
More details: mountainfest.co.uk
Main image: Whole Earth Man versus Horse, by James Carnegie.