Adventure firm Rat Race is promising ‘a year of extraordinary challenges’ as they reveal their ambitious new ‘Project: Explore’ event series.

Rat Race Adventure Sports has been organising obstacle runs and wilderness excursions since 2004.

Project: ExploreBut they’re now upping the ante, unveiling 12 brand new UK events aimed at much smaller groups which they say are more bespoke and unique than ever before.

Project: Explore includes a traverse of the Cairngorms in full winter conditions, a climb to the top of Snowdon which begins deep in an underground cave system, and a ‘floating’ 5km which takes place on a sandbank in the middle of the English Channel.

It also features some of Britain’s most extreme ‘pub crawls’ – including a three-day foot, bike and kayaking tour of ten famous whisky distilleries in the Scottish isles.

Rat Race founder Jim Mee says each challenge has been carefully selected and specifically designed to test participants to the limit while delivering the excitement they crave.

He said: “Project: Explore offers unique, scintillating challenges which give a whole new take on some of Britain’s best adventure opportunities.

“Every day people climb Snowdon, but no one does it from half-a-mile beneath the mountain to its very peak.

“And while people may walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall, few do the ultimate challenge of covering the distance on foot, bike and kayak.

“Each project is delivered as a small group adventure travel, tailored to the season and delivered with flair and excitement.

“People can take part as part of a larger group or as a bespoke package with their friends on a date that suits.

“We’re confident it will deliver a year of extraordinary and unforgettable challenges, offering something fresh even to the most experienced.”

The events kick-off in June this year, with entry for all races now open, and here’s a rough overview of what’s on offer:

Across Knoydart (June 2018)

A full-throttle two-and-a-half-day mountain bike ride around Scotland’s remote Knoydart peninsula. Starting at the head of Britain’s longest dead-end road at Kinloch Hourn, the challenge takes in rough terrain and gnarly mountain passes. Rat Race says, ‘Gnarl is guaranteed’.

Tour of 10 Malts (July 2018)

A three-day foot, bike and kayak trek visiting every distillery on the Scottish islands of Islay and Jura. Highlights of this unique multisport concept include sea stages in kayaks, quiet road cycling, stunning foot trails and the fine sandy beaches.

Goodwin Sands (August 2018)

A run in the middle of the sea on the famous sandbanks, six miles off the Dover coast – though at low tide. Adventurers will be whisked out in a fast-moving RIB, and then run the world’s only ‘underwater’ 5k course.

Hebrides Tip To Toe (September 2018)

Swim, cycle and run over 140 miles along the full length of the Outer Hebrides. It involves road riding through remote villages and between mountains, dramatic trail-running stages, and kayaking across the Sound of Harris.

Swim-Run (October 2018)

The brave will run and swim across the causeway at Northumberland’s Holy Island at low and high tide – the first ever joint undertaking. In between these crossing they will make their way, via a stunning coastal run route, to Bamburgh Castle, followed by short dips and a return trek to Lindisfarne.

The Darkness (November 2018)

November’s challenge is a night-time circular route to the summits of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent peaks in North Yorkshire. Planned to last up to 15 hours, Jim says, ‘snow could be a factor, and it will undoubtedly be a wild and windy environment in which to compete.’

Trans-Pennine Express (December 2018)

This is a two-day, 50-mile cross-Pennine cycle ride between Manchester and Sheffield. Along a new route, participants will enjoy quality fat-tyre riding, taking in the famous Peak District landmarks of Kinder Scout, Jacob’s Ladder bridleway and Mam Tor.

Bike Mountain (January 2019)

This two-day mountain bike ride  heads from the shores of Loch Lomond to the summit of Ben Lomond in Scotland, via the most southerly Munro, through daylight into darkness. This journey of endurance unfolds in the deep freeze of the Scottish winter, with a dawn descent from top to bottom of the mountain planned.

Cairngorm Traverse (February 2019)

Rat Race say: “The sub-arctic Caringorm plateau is widely acknowledged as the wildest mountain area of Britain. A big traverse of this famous National Park is on many mountain-lover’s bucket list and a winter traverse is the Holy Grail – a seriously committing objective.” The guided route features a roped ascent of steep snow slopes and an overnight bivvy.

Canterbury Trails (March 2019)

A double Ultra run/trek along Geoffrey Chaucer’s ancient Pilgrim Route, covering 60 miles in two days. The trail will take in London, Rochester and rural Kent before ending at Canterbury Cathedral. Rat Race says, ‘To be fully authentic, just as the Pilgrims did, we will attempt the final three miles barefoot…’

Subterranean Snowdon (April 2019)

Billed as ‘the largest vertical ascent variable of any mountain journey in Britain – and one hell of an adventure above and below ground.’ A world-first format, the ascent begins in the slate caverns half-a-mile beneath the Welsh mountains. From there it’s a 4,500ft ascent to the stop of Snowdon on foot and on bikes. And you’ll even abseil a waterfall on your way down.

Hadrian’s End To End (May 2019)

A complete, multi-discipline traverse of the full length of ‘the Wall’, on foot, bike and two-person sea kayaks. It starts in the west coast at Bowness-on-Solway, Cumbria, and ends at Wallsend, North Tyneside.

** Project: Explore challenges are priced between £199 and £799.

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