Following a gap of two years, the famous Tour de Trigs hiking competition is set to return to the pathways and byways around Banbury in Oxfordshire in early December.
The competition night hike, so called because it visits pretty much every hill in the area, has been staged here for the past 45 years.
Cancelled last year despite last minute efforts to save the event, it has only ever been interrupted due to severe weather conditions and the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.
The demanding hike – which is open to all - attracts teams of three from around the world, say organisers.
'It's great because it is bloody hard work!' says one of the event directors (and UKC-er) Jeremy Wilton.
'Here in the south midlands we have very few good 'outdoor' challenges - we don't have an Aonach Eagach to traverse or a Snowdon horsehoe to complete. I can guarantee however, that if the first weekend in December is wet and cold (as it usually is), the Tour de Trigs is a challenge on a par with the hardest hikes in the country.'
'When your boots are clogged with Oxfordshire mud and it's pouring with rain, it really can feel like you're in the middle of Rannoch Moor!'
The competition is divided into a 55-mile and 30-mile (junior) course, each of which have to be completed in 24 hours. In the very limited daylight of early December that means much will be done in the dark. Neither course is a soft touch, organisers promise, and drop-out rates have been as high as 80% in the past - even among teams of service personnel.
The course is revealed to competitors on the morning of the hike and needs to be plotted on an OS map - no GPS allowed.
A number of awards are given including the fastest team, oldest team, and fastest mixed team.
This year's event will go ahead with the backing of Banbury Rotary Club, Banbury Charities and many from the previous year's organising committee.
It takes place over the 1st & 2nd December 2012. For more info see the Tour de Trigs website
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