The X-Lakes Challenge has always been intended to introduce pilots to amazing scenery and flying potential of the English Lake District. Although well known for its changeable weather, on good days, the Lake District can be one of the most spectacular places in Britain to fly and run.
The X-Lakes is put in place by Hike and Fly enthusiasts for the benefit of others who enjoy the same experience. Although participants carry trackers to allow scoring, patchy SMS coverage means that people can disappear for several hours at a time. Having a dedicated supporter can help but the reality is that adventurers are completely and solely responsible for all risks they take, whether it be walking, running or flying. It can be incredibly easy to misjudge the terrain or the weather conditions.
The X-Lakes team will provide as much safety information as possible and should receive periodic tracking information. There will also be more experienced pilots on hand to discuss route options and weather conditions. However, this event is very much one in which the competitors must choose their own routes and to only fly when conditions are suitable for their own skills and experience. You can just go for a gentle valley bottom walk if that is the only activity than can be completed safely! As always, you are both the pilot in command and the chief navigator. Make sure you have all the basic hill skills required and expect the weather to change. You must also bear in mind that you will get extremely tired and your decision-making capacity will diminish as the event proceeds. Be especially careful with that last flight of the day. Having a supporter to help with food and sleep is a necessity.
Regardless of the competition element, helping to drive your ambitions and dreams, the event is really about having fun and gathering memories of adventure in a spectacular part of the World. The organisers are there to support your safety and to score the race. They will also ensure that there is opportunity to share stories and celebrate success with like-minded people. However, all competitors take part in an X-Lakes Hike and Fly challenge race at their own risk. The organisers will do their very best in every way but accept no responsibility at all if your tracker fails, you get lost, injured or worse. You will be out on those fells alone and your success or otherwise will be entirely down to your own skills, fitness and judgement!