Compared to most hiking groups (which is principally but not exclusively what we do), the Challenge group is, as the name suggests, fairly *extreme*. It is not casual.
We do spectacular big Munro and Lake District rounds, all grades of scrambling, the occasional bit of fell running. We also do challenge distance walks of 30 miles (50KM) in a day from time to time. Relative to most other walking groups, we do all of those things quite rapidly. We're prepared to drive for a few hours to get to the best places. Events take place throughout the year; we embrace glorious winter conditions. We also climb and boulder (mainly indoors) weekly and sometimes do other outdoorsy stuff.
We do not stop at the pub for lunch. If that's your idea of a day's walk, you're looking in the wrong place. Events will take place in virtually all weathers. We do not "ramble", ever.
You don't need to be an expert or especially fit to join, or know how to climb. Whilst most members are in their 20s or 30s, all ages are welcome.
We're not ultrarunners, elite athletes or Himalayan mountaineers, but the out of condition and completely inexperienced (when did you last walk steadily for more than 4 hours?) are probably best suited to other groups. Attending events will help you learn and develop skills and fitness. You do, however, need to want to get fit(ter) through regular practice. Similarly, if you don't have gear already, at some point you'll need it... Get in touch if you're keen, though!
All prospective new members need to attend a couple of events before being admitted, so expect a message from me asking what you'd like to try for your first event. *Even better, contact me first*.
So far, we've successfully done the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, the National 3 Peaks, the Long Mynd 50, the Welsh 3000s and the Cairngorm 4000s. A traverse of the Black Cuillin is probably the next biggie, or perhaps some trips abroad.
If after trying one of the walking events you decided to join us, there's a £3 annual membership fee. Additionally, for trips (rather than repeated weekly events like climbing), we ask for a £1 contribution towards the various costs.
We split travel costs by paying drivers 20p per mile, divided by the number of people in the vehicle. Sometimes we split that across several vehicles.
Legal stuff : All members of the CHALLENGE: West Midlands group take part in training and the challenge entirely at their own risk. There's always the risk of serious injury or even death when you get out into the hills, and by joining the group you accept this and absolve the group of any legal responsibility for any accidents that may occur. It is your own responsibility to bring proper equipment with you, and group leaders reserve the right to refuse to allow the under-prepared to take part on walks.