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RSPCA 24 Hour Lake District Challenge

n/a days
Grade 3

About the challenge

The Lake District is one of ten National Parks created in England and Wales during the 1950s, and is one of the best natural adventure playgrounds in the UK. The fells and lakes, championed by figures ranging from William Wordsworth to Beatrix Potter and Alfred Wainwright, are as spectacular as their reputation suggests – and set the scene for our tough 24-hour challenge. Reflecting the 24-hour shifts undertaken by our officers, this 24-hour multi-activity event is a team challenge. It will test our fitness, endurance, determination and teamwork as we journey through these fabulous landscapes by foot, canoe and bike. This is a long, tough challenge which serves as an excellent team-building experience; extra team tasks can be added to maximise this opportunity. The sense of achievement and camaraderie at the end will be unforgettable!

The itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Keswick; Skiddaw Overnight Trek

Arrive late afternoon in time for registration and a briefing on our 24-hour challenge, which we will complete in teams of four. After a hearty, energising meal, we set off around 6pm for the first part of our challenge – our night-time ascent of Skiddaw. One of the 3000ft peaks in the region, the mountain is the fourth-highest in England at 3054ft (931m) and its ridge is visible from many miles away in this part of the Lake District. We will only have a short time to appreciate the scenery before it grows dark! The trail is good and head-torches help guide us, but it will still be a testing start to the event – and a good way to bond with our team members. At the summit we enjoy the atmosphere of being at the top of the mountain in the middle of the night, and then start our long descent, which brings us to the shores of Derwentwater in time for breakfast.  We have time to eat and rest before preparing for the next phase of our challenge.

Day 2: Canoe & Cycle

Derwentwater is one of the largest lakes in the Lake District, and sets the scene for our next challenge - canoeing. We pick up our canoes and, after a safety briefing and some time spent practicing our water skills, head out onto the open expanse of Derwentwater – from where we can truly appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. The wind blows along the lake, which makes paddling very hard in one direction! There are several islands on Derwentwater which provide us with the perfect course to get a little competitive – good teamwork is more likely to benefit you here than excellent fitness or experience. We’ll be on the water for around 3 hours before returning to the shores for lunch. We then prepare for the cycling part of our adventure!
We set off on our bikes, pedalling alongside Derwentwater and 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. We then ride along Buttermere, turn 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. This is a tough climb, and we’ll be very tired by now, having worked practically every muscle in our bodies! But the end isn’t far off, and we keep reminding ourselves what our efforts are for. The scenery through the Newlands valley is spectacular. After reaching the summit, a wonderful descent takes us back to Derwentwater, and after a short time come back to our start point.

NB: For larger groups, one half of the group will cycle while the other canoes; they will then swap activities.
We’re not far off our 24 hours! Our last section takes place on the lower-level farmland and woodland near the shores of Derwentwater and features some problem-solving activities; this will be less physically-demanding but will test our mental abilities and team-work skills after such a strenuous night and day! We then finish at a hostel where we have a great evening of celebration to mark our huge achievement. Night hostel.

Day 3: Depart Keswick

After breakfast we say our goodbyes and head home, feeling a sense of elation at our achievements and a real bond with our fellow challenge members.

Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.

Detailed information

What's Included?

The tour cost includes all meals; one night’s accommodation and bikes and canoes (with all safety equipment and instruction). It also includes full trip support of Discover Adventure leaders (see Trip Support below).

What's Excluded?

The tour cost does not include personal travel insurance (optional), extra food, drinks, souvenirs or personal items. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.


Accommodation will be in a hostel for the last night; you will be sharing with others on the challenge in dorm-style rooms. Accommodation is not arranged for the night challenge, though we will have a place to base ourselves and our kit.


All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 3. The food is very good, will give you lots of energy, and there is plenty of it!

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.


Vehicles will transport all luggage, food, water and equipment as necessary. We suggest your kit is packed in a soft rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during different sections of the challenge, especially the night-trek.

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

Challenge Information


The terrain on Skiddaw varies from well-constructed grassy paths and some stony tracks on the ridge. Some sections may be muddy or slippery in the wet. There are some steeper sections but it’s generally a steady ascent suitable for night-time conditions. We cycle on good tarmac roads and some unsurfaced road. The canoeing is in Canadian canoes on Derwentwater; no technical knowledge or previous experience is required.
Full instruction and safety briefings will be given for all activities. 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.


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 so 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

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 enable 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 Toursim

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.