Hike & Fly as a branch of our sport is now as popular as it has ever been. There are more and more manufacturers making lightweight wings especially to cater for this ever growing market. It is now possible to get designated wings from A all the way through to D rated, so whether you are new to the sport or are an experienced H & F devotee there is something out there to suit you. With this upsurge in popularity has come a good number of UK based H & F competitions, with formats from completing a pre-designated route to peak bagging. These competitions take new comers all the way through to the well initiated, are well organised and offer lots in the way of learning opportunities. If you are new to H & F competitions they are a great way to find out what it’s all about in some amazing settings, while if you’re an experienced H & F pilot you have the opportunity to really test yourself against your peers in the same competitions. From 2023 there will also be a linked series with a competition in England, Wales and Scotland leading to an overall H & F British champion.
Based out of Llanberis at the foot of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), the X Eryri is a hike and fly competition set over two days. It is based on getting as many peaks as possible, the further the peaks are from the start the more points they are worth but beware, you have to be able to get back to the start by the end of the race, otherwise there is a penalty. With craggy mountains, deep valleys, lakes, forests and the proximity of the ocean it is an evocative place to fly, with challenges to keep you interested from start to finish. You have the opportunity to have a supporter to assist you and can bivvi out or stay in a van, hotel, or wherever you can get to by the cut off time at night. After this you are not allowed to move more than 300m from that spot until the morning curfew is lifted and you are on your way again. With interesting bonuses to add into the mix for the furthest cardinal points and getting all 3000ft mountains to name just two, you are assured a physical and mental test. If all you want to do is come and dip your toe in the hike and fly competition arena and fly in some spectacular scenery or you’re after a full on point bagging mental and physical workout, the X Eryri is there for you.
The X-Lakes Challenge
The English Lake District can be one of the most spectacular places in Britain to fly, walk and run. It’s 214 hills of more than 1,000 feet in height are collectively known as the ‘Wainwright’ fells. They are gathered around a group of 16 lakes arranged around the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike.
The X-Lakes Challenge aims to introduce pilots to amazing scenery and flying potential of the English Lake District through challenging participants to collect as many ‘Wainwrights’ as they can over a two-day period. There is also an entry level one-day challenge for less committed pilots. Competitors choose their own routes and only fly when conditions are suitable for their own skills and experience. In some editions conditions have led to limited flying options and the skill of the challengers has been to thread a route together that clips as many 400m waypoint cylinders as possible involving the fastest route.
The X-Lakes is put in place by Hike and Fly enthusiasts for the benefit of others who enjoy the same experience. Participants carry trackers that facilitate scoring and safety, and they populate a live leader board to help friends, family and supporters to keep track of the event. Participants are both pilot in command and chief navigator. Entrants must have basic hiking skills and expect the weather to be changeable. Having a supporter to help with food and sleeping arrangements is a good idea.
Competition helps to drive ambitions and dreams for many, but the event is really about having fun and gathering memories of adventure in a spectacular part of the World. We meet together afterwards to share stories and celebrate success with like-minded people.
To find out more, find images and videos of previous editions and to enter the next event, please visit www.x-lakes.uk