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1 day
Grade 3

About the challenge

The beautiful hills and valleys of the Lake District - one of the best natural adventure playgrounds in the UK – sets the scene for our demanding multi-activity challenge. The route is designed to test your skills, stamina and mental strength as we set off through this fabulous scenery – by canoe, then bike and on foot around Haystacks, before returning to bikes once more to finish the route. Whether you take part on your own or with friends, this long, tough day offers a great challenge – and the sense of achievement and camaraderie at the end will be unforgettable!

Dates & prices

Departs Days Charity Availability Registration fee   Fundraising target   Payment option  
20 Jun 2015 1 Open challenge Spaces £49 + £250 Or £125 Book now
18 Jun 2016 1 Open challenge Spaces £49 + £250 £125 Book now

The itinerary

Early morning arrival and registration at our start point on the east shores of beautiful Derwentwater. After an introduction and briefing about the day’s events, we get acquainted with our canoes!

After a safety briefing, we head out onto the open expanse of Derwentwater – which gives us a unique view of our surroundings and an idea of what lies ahead of us today! The conditions will dictate our goal on the water, but if conditions are good we’ll aim to paddle around St Herbert’s Island in the middle of the lake, named for an Anglo-Saxon priest who lived there for many years; parts of the hermitage are still visible.

Returning our canoes to shore, we change into dry kit and prepare to start the first of our cycle sections. We ride alongside Derwentwater, heading towards the beautiful Borrowdale Valley and the tip of the lake. The fells rise up around us and the views are wonderful. Reaching the end of the valley at Seatoller our route climbs up to Honister Pass, a very tough climb with a height gain of over 200m. Hopefully the views from the top will be a wonderful reward before we descend into the Buttermere valley; care needs to be taken on the steep descent. Towards the end of Buttermere we come to Gatesgarth, a small village lying at the foot of Haystacks – the trekking section of our challenge.

At 597m, Haystacks is not one of the highest fells in the Lake District, but is popular largely because it was Wainwright’s favourite mountain walk. The curved crags visible from Gatesgarth give us a taster of the wonderful views awaiting us. The ascent is steep in places but we take it steady and it’s not too long before we reach the summit, with its small tarn, rocky outcrops and wonderful views across to some of the main peaks in the region. Descending again, we return to our bikes.

Our second cycling section, which is slightly longer than our first stint, takes us along Buttermere. We then turn right into the Newlands valley and start the second of our big climbs, gaining 200m in height once more as we climb to the pass of Newlands Hause. The scenery through the Newlands valley is spectacular. After reaching the summit, a wonderful descent takes us back to Derwentwater, and we skirt round the northern tip of the lake and finally come back to our start point. Challenge completed, you should be feeling very proud of your achievements!

Approx distances:
1-2 miles canoe, 23 miles cycle, 6 miles trek

Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate; in order to accommodate larger groups the itinerary, or parts of the itinerary, may also change.

Detailed information

What's Included?

The tour cost includes lunch and snacks; bikes and canoes (with all safety equipment and instruction), and full trip support of Discover Adventure leaders.

What's Excluded?

The tour cost does not include personal travel insurance (optional), cycle helmet (compulsory), extra food, drinks, souvenirs or personal items, or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.


Accommodation is not included but there are plenty of options in the area if you wish to organise accommodation.

Dietary Requirements

Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

Trip Support

Discover Adventure Crew

Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.  All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are.

The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: participant ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.


You should bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day.

Trip Safety

Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and mobile phones, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires – is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the challenge

Trekking Information


The terrain on Haystacks is mainly stony with some loose rocks and stones, though there may be some grassy or muddy sections which could be slippery in wet conditions. Paths are generally very good. There are steep inclines both up and down. We cycle on good tarmac roads. The canoeing is in Canadian canoes on Derwentwater.

Full instruction and safety briefings will be given for all activities; no technical knowledge or previous experience is required.
The environment we pass through needs the respect of all its users to be preserved. Please walk and cycle on the path surface rather than on the vegetation growing beside it, don’t remove stones from the paths and don’t take short-cuts. Please follow the Countryside Code.
We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.


Average temperatures for Keswick:
April – September     5 – 20°C

The lakes and mountains that make up the Lake District National Park are stunning and beautiful on a good day, but this can give a false sense of security. The weather can change rapidly during the course of a day, and the mountains are very exposed. This can have an impact on your comfort and safety, especially if you are ill-equipped.

In bad weather keep close together as a group, and keep an eye on your surroundings. Mist, falling rain or snow and wind can confuse your sense of direction. If you are poorly dressed for bad weather, exposure can rapidly deplete your concentration and energy. Be well-equipped and keep a regular check on your location.

Clothing & Equipment

We are trekking through varied terrain and could be exposed to bad weather at any time. The information above gives you an idea of the climate, but be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly in the UK! We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

Fitness Levels

This event is designed to be challenging for those of good health and fitness, and is achievable for most people provided they train well in advance. We will supply you with a thorough training guide when you have registered. Training for the challenge is all part of the preparation and requires commitment! Without it, you will find the day less enjoyable – and we want you to have the time of your life!

Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.


We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years.

Worldwide Sustainable Tourism

Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. 

Discover Adventure Projects

We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.

Carbon Offsetting

We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with The Conservation Volunteers and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at or call 01302 388883

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