Caerphilly Challenge Series - FAQs

Do I really need a map?

YES, you really do need a map! or at least someone in your group needs to have a map…. and be able to read it!

We get asked this question every year, even though we constantly stress on any info we send out that you need one! Your map is your most important piece of kit …... We provide route descriptions and route cards that relate to your OS map.

We have photocopies of the route available on the morning, but these are purely for reference purposes and are not intended to be the map you use for navigation. These maps do not have the same detail as a proper OS map and they are not water proof.

We will not be providing photocopies of the route map in 2015. It is your or your group’s responsibility to bring the relevant OS map!

If you are on a led walk, your walk leader will have a map and be familiar with the route.

We will provide a KML file for your GPS device (if you have one).

I’m thinking about stepping up to one of the longer challenges, I feel fit enough to do it…. but I cannot read a map? What would you advise?

2 options:

Firstly…… learn how to read a map. Check out the Ordnance survey website or contact Brian Begg, he organises map reading courses.

Secondly… buddy up beforehand with someone (a friend, colleague) who can read a map. Make sure they are happy  to stay with you throughout the challenge.

Will the route be way marked?

90% of the route will be NOT be way marked.

Part of the challenge is being able to navigate your way around the county.

Feedback from previous years has meant that we now waymark problem areas and junctions i.e. getting people through urban areas and difficult points on route.

Pleeeease…….Don’t be expecting to follow well maintained paths all the way around, with perfect way marking and coloured ribbons hanging on trees so you don’t need to look at your route description and map.  If we did that it wouldn’t be a challenge!

Can I run?

Yes, you can run the 2 longer challenges (the 5 and 10 mile Rambler routes are led walks)!

Please be aware that the challenge is set up with walkers and fun runners in mind. The route will not be way marked like a club cross country event.  You will still need to navigate independently whilst on the hoof.  Similarly we will not be chip timing etc.  

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are welcome. …. As long as they are under control at all times! be aware that the walk may cross farmers’ fields with cattle etc insitu.

Why do you have checkpoints on route?

To keep you safe!

By using checkpoints...

... we can roughly tell where you are on the route.

... entrants can drop out at any checkpoint should they feel that they have enough.

... we can have water and energy stops for entrants.

Will there be water/Energy stops on route?

Each checkpoint is manned and has water and flap jacks etc (or whatever other bits we can acquire off sponsors). You need to carry food and water for the day. The checkpoints mean you can carry a smaller bottle and refill it on route.

The Rambler led walk (8-10miles) may not pass any of the checkpoints, so you would need to carry any water and food you require.

I see on your challenge info that you mentions cut off times at checkpoints? What’s that all about?

To ensure the safety of challengers, volunteers and staff……….. we have to put some time limits on the challenge. We like all entrants to be finished by 6.30pm at the latest.

We set the cut off times by working backwards from 6.30, looking at the distance between checkpoints  and estimating how long it should take someone to walk it (at a slow pace).

We then set a cut off time for each checkpoint… which means that if you dont get to a checkpoint by a certain time, you will be asked to drop out as you wont be able to get to the finish by 6.30pm. (You will be transported back to the Start/Finish point)

These cut off times are very generous for example in 2014 the cut off time for checkpoint 1 in Parc cwm Darren was 11.30 for the 22milers who started  between 7 and 7.30am. This gave entrants 4 hours to walk 8 kms. Loads of time!

What if I miss the cut off time and refuse to drop out?

Nobody likes to drop out of a challenge when they set out to complete one. We understand how motivated people are to finish and how gutted they are if they are not going to get to the end.

However, When you register for the challenge you agree to abide by the rules of the challenge .

If you refuse to drop out you will disrupt the whole challenge and put yourself, volunteers and staff in danger.

As an adult you are responsible for yourself and can choose to ignore our advice.

Please beware if you do choose to ignore our advice, you are taking full responsibility for your actions and potential consequences i.e. getting lost………….. and to make matters worse you might find you miss the post challenge food,  the school is shut down and your car is locked in.

Remember…. We put these cut off times in…. because we care about all of our challengers and volunteers.

Are there toilets on route?

There are no planned toilets on route. When planning our route we look for the best route based on countryside, terrain and views. Toilet location doesn’t come into the equation.

That said, all of our routes over the year have come pretty close to toilets of some description i.e. local pubs,   Country park visitor centres, numerous quiet bushes etc.

If I go on a led walk… how quickly will I be expected to walk?

The led walk will be led at a pace that is sufficient to get the whole group around the route safely. We have no way of gauging how fast or slow individual entrants are. This is one of the down sides of a led walk. The walk leader will manage the pace. Quicker walkers may need to slow down a little.