A group called Highlander (opens in new tab), which organises what it describes as the ‘world’s first global long-distance hiking event series’, is heading for Britain, with the announcement this week of two treks in Cumbria to take place later this year.
Highlander Lake District (opens in new tab) is due to take place 5-9 July. Two non-competitive challenges have been announced: The Pegasus Lake District is a 3-day 51km walk, and the Hercules Lake District is a 94km, 5-day trek. Entry prices start at £249 per person for the Pegasus and £379 for the Hercules.
Route planning and logistics provided by Highlander, but the hikes are essentially self-supported adventures, and participants are issued with a mandatory kit list that includes a good hiking backpack (opens in new tab), hiking boots (opens in new tab) or walking shoes (opens in new tab), lightweight backpacking tent (opens in new tab), sleeping bag (opens in new tab), sleeping pad (opens in new tab), camping stove (opens in new tab), waterproof jacket (opens in new tab), headtorch (opens in new tab) and more besides.
You may well be asking why people would pay to go walking on publicly accessible paths, but the entry fee does get you a bit more than just a line on a map to follow and a place to pitch your tent, and Highlander are presenting the event as a kind of roaming festival. In the evenings, once walkers have reached they day’s destination, they can participate in a programme of activities, including yoga workshops and music.
The planned routes will take see participants explore several of the Lakes’ most iconic locations, including Scafell Pike (England’s tallest peak), Wastwater (the country’s deepest lake), plus Great Langdale, Borrowdale, Ullswater and Aira Force waterfall, and the Wainwright Fells of Fairfield, High Raise and Steel Fell.
The Lake District (opens in new tab) - England’s largest National Park and a World Heritage Site - is one of the most visited destinations in Britain, and some of the points on the planned routes struggle with the pressure of mass footfall during the summer, especially Scafell, which gets flooded at all hours, with people doing the Three Peaks Challenge, so the announcement of this events might not be welcomed by everyone.
However, Highlander emphasise that numbers are limited, and participants are urged to follow Leave No Trace and Erase the Trace principles, and to even collect rubbish left behind by other visitors while they walk.
Founded in Croatia in 2017, Highlander host more than 30 events (opens in new tab) across 25 different countries including Croatia, the United States, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Italy and Spain. The event in the UK has come about as a result of a partnership with Spartan, which began in 2021.
Highlander CEO, Jurica Barac, says: “We’re thrilled that Highlander is finally being introduced in the UK as we continue our mission to motivate people to enhance their mental and physical health through hiking adventures and unique experiences.”
“Highlander Lake District is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s an Adventure of a Lifetime and a chance for participants to get out of their comfort zone and grow as individuals. Connecting with nature and conquering both physical and mental obstacles leaves participants with a feeling of accomplishment, enlightenment, and a new outlook on life.”