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Outdoor events for hillwalkers in the UK

Let’s get together in the great outdoors! Here’s our pick of outdoor events – hiking, biking, running, swimming and more – happening in the UK’s high places in the coming months.

The hillwalking community can be a sociable bunch. With plenty of outdoor events organised throughout the year in the UK, there’s bound to be a festival, talk, or activity to suit your calendar. From sunrise birdwatching to stargazing evenings, the outdoor events happening across the UK’s national parks this month will inspire you to get out there. We’ve also included some cultural odes to the mountains, curated and presented inside institutions, for those days when conditions keep us indoors.

Outdoor events and walking events happening in December 2022

Paul Pritchard – The Mountain Path

3 December
Talk hosted by The Rheged Centre, Cumbria
Paul Pritchard, a cutting-edge mountaineer, suffered a catastrophic head injury when a boulder fell from The Totem Pole sea stack he was climbing in Tasmania in 1998. Since, this award-winning author has documented his journey of living and adventuring with hemiplegia. In this talk and Q&A session, he shares his most crucial life lessons.
Cost: £10-12
rheged.com

North Wales Wildlife Trust Beach Clean

4 December
Dinas Dinlle, Eryri
Winter storms bring litter and rubbish to the west coast beaches of North Wales. In a series of beach cleans, the North Wales Wildlife Trust invites you to help keep these shores clean and ensure the safety of local wildlife. They promise great fun and the chance to meet like-minded individuals. Booking is not essential.
Cost: Free
northwaleswildlifetrust.org.uk

Mountains on Stage

Charles Dubouloz on the summit of Grandes Jorasses, in the Mont Blanc massif, during the filming of 'From the shadows into the light'

Charles Dubouloz on the summit of Grandes Jorasses, in the Mont Blanc massif, during the filming of ‘From the shadows into the light’.
Supplied by Mountains on Stage.

5 – 12 December
Various locations
Four outstanding films will travel to a theatre near you as part of the Mountains on Stage tour. The festival showcases adventures as extreme and international as they are intimate and human. With talks from the filmmakers, the ethos is to inject creativity and a little humour, demonstrating the diversity of mountain sports.
Cost: Varies
mountainsonstage.com

Shahbaz Majeed – My Scotland, My Journey

6 December
Talk hosted by RSGS at Dundee University
Award-winning photographer Shahbaz Majeed, whose images have been displayed on Scottish banknotes, will show you Scotland from a different perspective in this talk and presentation about how photography can be a powerful tool to make an emotional connection with people.
Cost: Free
rsgs.org

Cold Moon Rising Hike with Freshwalks

7 December
Edale, Peak District
A spectacular winter full moon walk above the Vale of Edale is to be hosted by Freshwalks to celebrate the rising of the Cold Moon in the great outdoors. This 10km hike will take in Lord’s Seat, Rushup Edge and Mam Tor under the cover of darkness, illuminated by moonlight, weather permitting!
Cost: £25
freshwalks.co.uk

Adventure Caving with Yorkshire Dales Guides

10 December
Stainforth, Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales are home to some of the best vertical cave systems in the UK. Explore this deep underground world with experienced outdoor instructors, whether you are new to caving or want to progress to the next level. Kit is supplied for these three-hour expeditions, boasting magnificent insights and big challenges.
Cost: £60
yorkshiredalesguides.co.uk

Winter Celtic Trail Races

17 December
Brecon Beacons National Park
These three long-distance running races pass through ancient woodlands, hidden reservoirs, and unrivalled views of the Brecon Beacons National Park. There are sharp climbs, fast descents, river crossings and sections of single track all with a wild and remote feel. The paths here, while fast and runnable, feel a little less travelled.
Cost: Varies
runwalkcrawl.co.uk

Winter Gravel Series Ride

Test your winter gravel riding skill with the Alpkit and Sonder Bikes outdoor events at the Winter Series. Credit_ Sam Taylor

Test your winter gravel riding skill with Alpkit and Sonder Bikes at the Winter Series.
Credit: Sam Taylor

18 December
Alpkit, Ambleside
Join the Alpkit and Sonder Bikes team for the Lake District leg of their series of winter gravel rides alongside some local legends. The self-supported ride will last between two and four hours. The route can be completed at your own pace and organisers encourage those of all abilities to take part!
Cost: £10
alpkit.com

Earth Photo Exhibition 2022

‘Destruction’, 2022. Earth Photo ‘Changing Forests’ category winner. Credit_ David Rippin

‘Destruction’, 2022. Earth Photo ‘Changing Forests’ category winner.
Credit: David Rippin

19 December – 23 April
Grizedale, Lake District
Visit the Forestry Commission Centre at Grizedale Forest this winter to see a stunning selection of the Earth Photo 2022 shortlisted images, covering categories that include People, Place, Nature, Changing Forests and A Climate of Change. Established in 2018, this world-leading initiative is dedicated to engaging with photographers and prescient issues affecting our planet.
Cost: Free
forestryengland.uk

Christmas Dark Skies Walk

23 December
Winlatter Forest, Lake District
This family-friendly festive night-time walk in the forest will cover up to four miles as you seek out magical skies full of stars with Jo from JAG Outdoors. Use star maps to identify the constellations, or simply enjoy the hot beverages on offer. Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome, as are Santa hats!
Cost: £10-15
forestryengland.uk

Outdoor events and walking events happening in January 2023

The Loony Dook

1 January
South Queensferry, Edinburgh
Recover from Hogmanay with a dose of cold water at the Loony Dook. Get dressed up in your wackiest outfit for the parade, march through South Queensferry towards the Firth of Forth. Here, you’ll throw yourself into the deep end. Literally. Part of your registration fee goes to the RNLI.
Cost: £12.50
theloonydook.co.uk

Fan Dance winter series

7 – 8 January
Brecon Beacons
This gruelling non-navigational 24km SAS Selection test march is staged over Pen y Fan, is the world’s oldest Special Forces test with a provable and undeniable heritage. Founded, organised and managed by veteran SAS and SBS soldiers, the ethos is of integrity and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
Cost: Varies
thefandancerace.com

Winter Mountain Skills with Mammut Mountain School

13 January
Ambleside, Lake District
The extensively experienced Mammut Mountain School instructors and guides are ready to help you take your winter skills to the next level. Exploring hand-picked locations, depending on the weather in Lakeland, this one-day course comes with certain equipment provided and a maximum group size of just six.
Cost: £61
mammutmountainschool.co.uk

Photography Winter Workshop with Alan Ranger

13 – 15 January
Lake District
This three-day residential photography workshop visits beauty spots around the Lake District with award-winning professional landscape photographer, Alan Ranger. The Lake District has been a favourite location for photographers for decades and the weather creates unique windows to capture reflections, mist, stormy skies and subtle and strong colours.
Cost: From £825
alanranger.com

Buff® Winter Trail Wales

The Buff outdoor events continue with the Winter Trails

The Buff Winter Trail gets a thumbs up.
Credit: Sport Pictures Cymru

21 January
Eryri
The eighth annual Buff® Winter Trail Wales will lead you along the stunning tracks of the world-renowned Coed y Brenin Forest Park in the Snowdonia National Park. You could be running in snow, frost, under crystal clear blue skies or in rain and mud. Expect great organisation, a warm welcome, and good fun.
Cost: £34
runcoedybrenin.com

Winter Skills 101 with Girls on Hills

Girls on Hills courses provide a safe and supportive environment for women to learn mountain skills, as well as meet other enthusiasts in an outdoor sport which is still heavily male-dominated. Credit: Girls on Hills

Girls on Hills courses provide a safe and supportive environment for women to learn mountain skills, as well as meet other enthusiasts in an outdoor sport which is still heavily male-dominated.
Credit: Girls on Hills

21 January
Fort William, Glencoe
Delivered by MCI and WML-qualified female guides, and sponsored by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, this two-day course is for women seeking adventure in winter. The mountains of Scotland are breath-taking in snow, but can be dangerous. The course covers movement skills, crampons, self-arresting using an ice-axe, avalanche awareness, and winter navigation.
Cost: £150
girlsonhills.com

Atlantic Irish Festival

A guided hike during the Atlantic Irish Fest (Credit_Atlantic Irish Fest)

A guided hike during the Atlantic Irish Fest.
Credit: Atlantic Irish Fest

21 -25 January
Wild Atlantic Way, Donegal
The Northwest of Ireland has long been celebrated for its unique Atlantic culture and history. Now there is a festival on the Wild Atlantic Way, making the most of the cosy winter atmosphere, with the best of outdoor activities, live music, cultural talks, and plenty of craic and ceoil with new friends.
Cost: Varies
atlanticirishfest.com

When Mountains Meet/Jub Milain Pahaar

26 January
Talk hosted by Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow
A musical adventure from Scotland to Pakistan with Scottish/South Asian-influenced music, storytelling, and striking visual images, this talk recounts the adventures of Anne Wood on her unforgettable voyage from the Scottish Highlands to the Himalayas. Inspired by Anne’s true story, this show summons majestic mountains, sounds and mouth-watering tastes.
Cost: £20.16
celticconnections.com

Breakfast with Red Squirrels

Start the day right with breakfast Red Squirrel spotting (Credit_ Wild Intrigue)

Start the day right with breakfast Red Squirrel spotting.
Credit: Wild Intrigue

28 January
RSPB Haweswater, Lake District
Immerse yourself in the arboreal life of the Red Squirrel in the woodlands of RSPB Haweswater, Lake District. From a comfortable hide in the Naddle Forest, spend a morning watching the antics of Red Squirrels and learning about their conservation progress while enjoying a locally-sourced breakfast with expertise from a Wild Intrigue guide.
Cost: £55
wildintrigue.co.uk

London Winter Walk 2023

28 – 29 January
London
Walk off the Christmas celebrations for a good cause and kick start the New Year with marathon, half marathon and 10k walks taking in the Thames, historic bridges, and many key capital landmarks. A bobble hat and neck buff are included for participants with a medal and food at the finish.
Cost: Varies
ultrachallenge.com

Outdoor events and walking events happening in February 2023

Alpkit Social Swim

2 February
Alpkit Hathersage
Join the Alpkit Hathersage team for a social swim in the shadow of Stange Edge. Walk along the Derwent Valley Heritage Way where you’ll find a spot for a dip. Beginners and regulars are welcome. There will be free coffee, tea and cake available at the store post-swim where you can warm up and chat about all things swimming.
Cost: Free
alpkit.co.uk

Rombalds Stride

4 February
Yorkshire
Organised by the 15th Airedale Scout Group, the Rombalds Stride Winter Challenge is a 23-mile walking or running route taking in some of Yorkshire’s finest scenery. You’ll ascend up the Airedale Valley, over Rombalds Moor to Ilkley and across Otley Chevin. Checkpoints will close on a 2mph walking speed.
Cost: £25
rombaldsstride.co.uk

Dark Skies Festival

10 – 26 February
Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors
The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, which remain some of the darkest places in England, are once again running a joint Dark Skies Festival in February. 2020 saw the theme of ‘exploration’ run through the impressive programme of events, with 2023 set to bring activities like kayaking, stargazing safaris and zip wires.
Cost: Varies
darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk

Adventure Film & Dinner Evening

11 February
Sticklebarn, Lake District
This is the return of Kendal Mountain Festival film and dinner events at Sticklebarn. The series of bespoke evenings are centered around a collection of inspiring films carefully chosen by the KMF team and a dinner provided by Sticklebarn. A presenter will guide you through the films and give insights into the explorers.
Cost: £30
nationaltrust.org.uk

Conservation Day at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve

Belties and calves on Eycott Hill (Credit_ Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Belties and calves on Eycott Hill.
Credit: Cumbria Wildlife Trust

15 February
Eycott Hill Nature Reserve
Eycott Hill is a wonderful upland nature reserve where newly created and restored habitats are showing through. Join the Cumbria Wildlife Trust to help them continue the conservation process among the Belted Galloway cattle and montane flowers and enjoy a peaceful day on the outskirts of the Lake District with spectacular views.
Cost: Free
cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk

Fort William Mountain Festival

16 – 19 February
Fort William
Scotland’s outdoor capital welcomes you for a packed programme of events designed to inspire you to enjoy and respect the high places here. From bothy sessions to award ceremonies and film screenings, as well as a schedule of guided walks and runs, the activities are as varied as the landscape.
Cost: Varies
mountainfestival.co.uk

Welsh Dark Skies Week

17 – 26 February
Various locations
All eight protected landscapes in Wales have come together to celebrate what makes our dark skies so unique and special. Together, the three National Parks and the five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be holding events from stargazing and astrophotography workshops with mobile observatories to special guest lectures on biodiversity and heritage.
Cost: Varies
discoveryinthedark.wales

Guided Mindfulness Walk

Llyn Mair.Credit: Eryri National Park

Llyn Mair.
Credit: Eryri National Park

18 February
Llyn Mair, Eryri
Enjoy a guided mindful walk around Eryri with qualified guide Davy Greenough. These moderate walks allow a small group to appreciate the natural environment including regular stops with meditations along the way. An experienced mindfulness practitioner will lead the meditation as you ramble through this untapped, peaceful part of the National Park.
Cost: Free
snowdonia.gov.uk

The Winter Traverse

A frosty morning by Red Lake on the Dartmoor Winter Traverse. Credit: Justin Nicholas

A frosty morning by Red Lake on the Dartmoor Winter Traverse.
Credit: Justin Nicholas

25 February
Dartmoor
Start your new year with a big dose of winter and a walk or run across Dartmoor. This fully supported 50 km journey from South to North, through some of the most remote parts of the moors, is more challenge than race. While good fitness is required, walkers can choose to be accompanied by local Mountain Leaders with first-aid cover.
Cost: £55 – £75
climbsouthwest.com

The South Pennine 24

Jackie Cooper with Search & Rescue dog and Peter Smith at the South Pennine 24 CP1 at Chew Reservoir. (Credit_ Mick Cooper)

Jackie Cooper with Search & Rescue dog and Peter Smith at the South Pennine 24 CP1 at Chew Reservoir.
Credit: Mick Cooper

25 February
Peak District
This 24-mile fully-supported challenge event is hosted by the South Pennine chapter of the LDWA and traverses a variety of terrain from wild moorland to well-graded bridleways and footpaths in the Dark Peak & South Pennines, with 3,900ft of ascent. All are welcome and soup and refreshments will be provided.
Cost: £22 for non-members
ldwa.org.uk/southpennine

Winter Skills And Wild Camping

Walking into one of the winter skills outdoor events. Credit_Rich Mountain Experiences

Walking into a winter skills course.
Credit: Rich Mountain Experiences

25 – 26 February
Glencoe
This guided two-day course will help you hone your winter skills and combine your newfound knowledge with a high winter wild camp (and sunset, weather permitting!) with ‘reduced legwork’. Based around Glencoe and Kinlochleven, the course is provided by qualified guides on behalf of Rich Mountain Experiences. Camping equipment can be supplied.
Cost: £250
richmountainexperiences.co.uk

Have we missed one of your favourite outdoor events or are you hosting an upcoming event? Let us know.

If you prefer to experience the great outdoors in solitude, check out the walking routes across the UK that come tried, tested and recommended by our expert contributors.

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