The New Two-Day Event Being Held In Northumberland on 20-21st August
The online retailer and adventure specialist, Above & Beyond, are holding a two-day outdoor event based in Northumberland, created to test the stamina and endurance of all those who enter.
Called The Challenge, the event will see participants taking part enjoy a night of free camping at Ingram before being bussed (free of charge again) to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland.
From there, they navigate to Clennell Hall in Northumberland National Park, via a route of their own choosing. However, they must hit a series of check points along the way, which will ensure they experience some of the region’s most impressive scenery and well-know hills.
Then, after another night of free camping in the grounds of Clennell Hall (which, being only 40 minutes away from the Kielder Obseratory, is free from light pollution and promises incredible night skies), they set off again in the morning to find their way back to where it all began in Ingram.
The Above & Beyond Challenge is being documented by Outdoor Photographer of the year, Greg Whitton. And over the two days, those taking part can expect to cover around 40 miles of beautiful terrain; although this will vary for each participant as there’s no fixed route and the path they take between checkpoints is up to them.
This introduces an element of strategy to proceedings, as route choice will need to take into account a number of things; such as weather, terrain, skills, fitness and ability.
That said, The Challenge isn’t a contest or a race and how people tackle it is up to them. They can walk it at a gentle pace and admire the beautiful scenery of Northumberland, or go ultra-light and run the entire way.
The Challenge, really, is with themselves - not against others taking part; and a challenge it will be, because although the rolling hills of Northumberland are beautiful at times they are brutal too. If you enter, expect to ascend between 3 to 4.5K feet each day.
Event organiser, Darren Smith, had this to say: “We decided to create the Challenge because we’re based in Northumberland and we love the Region. We want more people who enjoy outdoor life to experience the incredible scenery in this amazing part of the world.
“Northumberland National Park was voted the UK’s favourite national park and has topped a Condé Nast Travellers List of The World’s Best Parks, yet a lot of people don’t realise how amazing, vast and unspoilt the scenery is up here. We want more people to experience it.”
He went on: “We work with some of the world’s leading adventurers and we wanted our event to reflect this. The clothing, equipment and brands we sell cater for wild camping and adventure in the world’s toughest environments, so we created a walk in the park which will be anything but that!”
As well as being a physical challenge, those taking part will need to be on point mentally, too, with good navigational skills (or have a member in their group who possesses them). They will need to be self sufficient in the hills over the two days as well, carrying their own food and water. There’s the chance to grab a shower, food and drinks during their night of camping at Clennell Hall - but during the day runners and walkers will be reliant on the kit and provision they have with them in their rucksacks.
Clennell Hall itself is a stunning Grade II Listed building where everyone taking part will be allowed to camp for free. If they like, those wishing to run the Challenge can rent a room at Clennell Hall and leave their tent at home giving them the option of going ultra light. There’s a natural stream for people to wash in or hot showers if they prefer. There’s also a bar and restaurant but people are equally welcome to bring their own food and stoves - the event really is flexible and designed to be whatever type of adventure you want it to be. You can even bring your dog along.
In the morning there’s the chance to grab a bacon butty for £2.50 (or a more substantial breakfast) before setting off back to Ingram. Camping at Ingram is also free, meaning once participants make it back they have the option of staying on a few extra days to see and explore more of stunning Northumberland.
Tickets for The Challenge are just £45, and everyone who enters the event is entered free of charge into a free prize draw in which they have the chance to win £500 of outdoor equipment from brands including Fjällräven, Montane, OMM and Mountain King.
What’s more, the event is being supported by St Oswald’s Hospice, a charity who provide specialist hospice care to North East adults, young people and children with life-limiting conditions.
Those who wish to enter can register for the Above & Beyond Challenge here
For more information visit the event page on the Above & Beyond website here: