Who to watch at the 2022 SILVA Northern Traverse and SILVA Lakes Traverse
Competition is set to be fierce for the 2022 editions of the SILVA Northern Traverse and SILVA Lakes Traverse beginning this Saturday 2nd April. The field at the SILVA Northern Traverse is heavily stacked with top ultra-runners, with past winners of both the men’s and women’s events returning to defend their titles. It’s shaping up to be a very exciting event!
Established in 2016, the SILVA Northern Traverse is a 300km footrace that traverses the width of the entire country from St Bees on the west coast of England to the picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast. The route follows the iconic coast to coast route devised by Alfred Wainwright, which takes in the beautiful and contrasting landscapes of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. Attracting around 10,000 walkers every year, it is now arguably the most popular long-distance walking route in England.
The SILVA Lakes Traverse is a 100km footrace that crosses the beautiful fells of the Lake District National Park and ends in Shap. It follows the same route as the Northern Traverse from St Bees, and uses the same race infrastructure, logistics and staffing.
There are 158 entered into the 2022 SILVA Northern Traverse, including some of the best ultra-runners around. The women’s race will see 2018 Northern Traverse winner, Karen Nash, up against Lisa Watson (2019 Dragon’s Back Race® winner), Elaine Bisson (second place in the 2021 Montane Dragon’s Back Race® and 2022 Montane Spine Race), Ita Emanuela Marzotto (2016 Cape Wrath Ultra® winner) and Anna Troup (holder of the women’s fastest known time for running the Pennine Way).
Competition is set to be equally strong in the men’s field. Eoin Keith (2016 and 2018 Northern Traverse winner and 2022 Montane Spine Race winner) will be joined on the start line by Kim Collinson (Paddy Buckley Round and winter Bob Graham Round record holder), Pavel Paloncý (three-time Montane Spine Race winner) and Robert Barnes (2018 Cape Wrath Ultra® winner and third placed at the 2019 Dragon’s Back Race). You can check out the full entry list for the 2022 SILVA Northern Traverse here.
The SILVA Lakes Traverse has a field of 247 runners and will start on St Bees foreshore at 9:30am on Saturday 2nd April. The SILVA Northern Traverse will follow just an hour later. Participants in the SILVA Lakes Traverse have until 2:00pm on 3rd April to reach Shap to complete the event. Competitors in the SILVA Northern Traverse must reach Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast by 1:30am on 7th April to complete their race. You can track the runners live here for the Northern Traverse and here for the Lakes Traverse. With so many experienced and accomplished runners, it looks like it will be an exciting and eventful race!
If either of these races have got you excited for a challenge, entries are now open for the 2023 editions of the events.
How to follow the SILVA Northern Traverse & SILVA Lakes Traverse
Join the journey and keep up with all the action from the 2022 SILVA Northern Traverse & SILVA Lakes Traverse.
Here is how you can follow this phenomenal adventure from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay across the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.
Live GPS Tracking
All participants will carry a GPS tracker which is mainly for race control to keep a safe eye on our participants, however, anyone following the event can also ‘dot watch’ and follow each participant in real time as they journey east along the route.
Purple circle = support point (click to see any cut-off times)
Green circle = virtual checkpoint for timings only
Trophy icon = this will appear once the race begins and will indicate the pace of the current course record holders
It may be worth noting that there are chunks of no-signal, notably between Honister and Greenup edge. And then on the Northern Traverse, poor signal between Nine Standards and Surrender Bridge (Reeth).
From the live GPS tracking page, friends and family can also use the Traverse Mail™ service to send a short message to individual participants – this is possible throughout the event.
How to send Traverse Mail?
Look for the envelope icon on the live GPS tracking page (top left of the screen on a desktop | top of screen on mobile device)
The course through the fells, dales and moors is often remote, so participants should not expect regular phone service. These Traverse Mail™ messages can be collected by participants at select support points. Participants will use the barcode on their race number to collect their messages from a member of the event team at the support point.
Please note that all messages will be displayed publicly on the GPS Tracking page.
Retired in the results means the participant are no longer in the race. They have taken the decision to not continue on the course. This could be for any number of reasons, such as injury, illness or simply exhaustion.
Please be assured that if someone you know is timed-out or drops out of the race then we will look after them and make sure they get off the course safely. We will also help them to get to the nearest transport hub if needed.
Our race control, mountain safety and medical teams are on hand to deal with every possible scenario.
SILVA signs up as title sponsor of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse
We are thrilled to say that leading outdoor navigation brand SILVA has signed up as title sponsor of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse for the next three years.
With this support from SILVA, Ourea Events will be able to continue developing both Traverse events, raising their profile, and enhancing the experience for participants, with aspects such as first response team cover and the new park and ride options.
Shane Ohly, CEO of Ourea Events said,
“We have already enjoyed a brilliant working relationship with SILVA on our sister event the SILVA Great Lakeland 3Day™ for many years. We are delighted to be building on this relationship and welcoming SILVA on board as our title sponsor for the Northern Traverse and the Lakes Traverse. The non-stop nature of both events is a hugely challenging format for the participants and demands only the very best equipment. The combination of self-navigation, overnight darkness and the arduous continuous racing format, perfectly complements the standout range of compasses, headtorches, rucksacks and poles from SILVA.”
Tim Young, UK Sales Manager at SILVA, explains,
“The weather, terrain and navigation will make this journey through three National Parks a unique challenge. Anyone attempting it must be sure they are both physically and mentally strong enough. Runners will be unsupported, so it is also essential they are equipped with robust and reliable kit. The SILVA range of products includes headtorches, compasses and dry bags, all mandatory kit for the Northern Traverse. Our navigation experts designed the Expedition compass with a 1:40,000 scale specifically for mountain navigation. High-powered headtorches such as the Trail-Speed and Cross-Trail have multiple battery options – perfect for ultra-distance events. We’re really excited about this partnership. The Northern Traverse is a perfect opportunity to really show what our products can do.”
Entries for the 2022 Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse are almost at capacity and entries for the 2023 events will open on Friday 25th March.
Hello 2022 participants!
At the end of last year, we announced that Ourea Events would take on the management and organisation of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse. Since then, we have had lots of emails and messages from participants about the event with suggestions, comments, and questions. Firstly, many thanks for taking the time to send us these, and for being passionate about the event. Secondly, my apologies for the many holding emails we have sent you in return. We have wanted to really get to understand the nuts and bolts of the event and this has resulted in quite an intense period of on-the-ground reconnoitring, venue meetings, handover meetings with Open Adventure and many operations team meetings at Ourea Events. All squeezed in with a two-week office shut down over the festive period.
Our vision is to build on the excellent foundations put in place by James Thurlow and his team from Open Adventure. We want to embrace the ethos that the race already has, but at the same time introduce the culture of Ourea Events. This inevitably means we are going to make some minor changes to the event as previously stated, and these will affect both the Northern Traverse and the Lakes Traverse. However, be 100% assured that our guiding principle for all these changes is to improve the participant experience and to make the event logistics more robust. I’ll outline all the changes below for you to read through at your convenience.
I have now completed a full recce of the route. Whilst I already knew some of the route intimately, particularly around the Lake District and the North York Moors, there were some sections I had no knowledge of at all; the Vale of York for example. My choice when completing an initial recce of a race route is usually to walk as this gives me more time to reflect on the route, soak up the atmosphere and really take in the surroundings. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed walking the entire Lakes Traverse and Northern Traverse and the contrasting sections of the three national parks are quite stark when you go straight from one to the other. In summary:
The Lake District
The first 100km of the Northern Traverse is also the Lakes Traverse and this part of the route is undoubtedly the toughest. It features the roughest trails, some indistinct sections, the biggest climbs and as is susceptible to more severe weather. The initial section along the coast from St Bees (0-6km) is a delight and offers a different vista to the lakes and mountains synonymous with Cumbria. There is then a less attractive section through villages and farmland (6-15km), but the enticing view of the Ennerdale mountains is easily sufficient to keep you motivated and progress is quick. Soon you are traversing alongside Ennerdale Water (from 25km) and quickly heading up into the mountains. The entire section through the mountains of the Lake District (25-85km) is simply fantastic, following (mostly) well-defined and decent footpaths. There is another short stretch of farmland encountered (85-93km) before reaching Shap.
The Yorkshire Dales
After Shap (the finish of the Lakes Traverse) you almost immediately step into the Yorkshire Dales and the terrain morphs as you head towards Kirkby Stephen (93-123km) and that classic high moorland limestone karst landscape. Quite a contrast to the Lake District. The sections over Nine Standards Rigg (123-141km) and Melbecks Moor (141-175km) are remote and certainly have the potential to be the muddiest of the route, but they lead to the market town of Richmond, where you may find respite in quaint cafes, and the end of Yorkshire Dales section.
The Vale of York
The journey through the Vale of York (175-211km) uses a combination of footpaths, quiet roads, and tracks. There is no getting away from the fact that this is a long section of low-lying farmland but there is comfort to be gained from the knowledge you are making good progress towards the North York Moors and the quiet satisfaction of knowing this is all part of the tremendous feat of racing across an entire country.
The North York Moors
The northern escarpment of the North York Moors (211-260km) is dramatic with panoramic views to the north. The route follows superb paths and tracks throughout that will make life easier on tired legs while enjoying the spectacular landscapes of heather on the grouse moors. That said, the moors are exposed to the weather and it’s not a section to underestimate. The final section (260-283km) of the race has its own distinct character, and you traverse through fantastic woodland, rural paths, moorland, and villages before reaching the coast. The final coastal section along the Cleveland Way (283-288km) is also dramatic and makes for a fitting finale to the Coast to Coast route.
When we initially took on the Northern Traverse my natural inclination was to align the event route to the recognised Coast-to-Coast record route. This would have resulted in various changes to the current Northern Traverse route. On reflection, I have decided that we will not do this, and our focus should be on a robust and sustainable route that prioritises smooth event logistics and safety. So in 2022, there will only be very minor tweaks to the event route as agreed with various stakeholders (for example bypassing a farmyard etc.)
At the time of writing there are no other updates of the route to share, although we are in conversation with many landowners and stakeholders along the route. Any route updates will be announced subsequently and likely timed to be a talking point at the webinar coming up in February.
I’ll walk you through these in a logical manner.
We will be providing an optional pre-event live webinar for both Lakes Traverse and Northern Traverse participants. There will be a short presentation from us, and the opportunity to ask questions. We see this as a less formal opportunity to get know each other and clear up any uncertainties in good time before the event. This will most likely happen in February, and we will confirm the date and provide a link to all participants in due course.
Pre-event online briefings
This pre-event online briefing is mandatory and will focus on any course updates and safety matters. It will take the form of a pre-recorded video that participants will need to log in to and watch in their own time. The link to this will be sent out in late March. By covering many of the course updates and safety matters online before the mandatory in-person briefing (on the Saturday morning before the start), we expect to make the briefing process much more efficient.
Park and ride
There has been overwhelming demand for a park and ride option from Shap (Lakes Traverse participants) and from Robin Hood’s Bay (Northern Traverse participants) to St Bees. We are delighted to say that we have arranged private parking and a coach transfer service from these locations. Details are now live and we will sell park and ride tickets on a first-come, first-served basis for those who would prefer the simplicity of having their vehicle parked close to the finish.
Park and ride Robin Hood’s Bay (Northern Traverse) – departs 15:30 on Friday 1st April @ £55 per person
Park and ride Shap (Lakes Traverse) – departs 05:00 on Saturday 2nd April @ £35 per person
We understand some of our participants will need to stay in St Bees on Friday night and accommodation options are limited. We are working on a solution to provide a basic accommodation option (but this is not guaranteed!). Please bear with us.
This has moved from the Seacote Hotel, to St Bees School.
Parking/accommodation in St Bees
We’ve updated the information on parking options for participants who choose to drive to St Bees, but we do recommend using our park and ride options so that your car is ready and waiting for you at the finish!
Registration, briefing and start times
Previously, Northern Traverse participants had started at 09:00, 30 minutes before the Lakes Traverse, but this would create frustrating bottlenecks on the first section of the route and also at the first support point. The Lakes Traverse will start at 09:30 as it did previously, and we will change the Northern Traverse start to 10:30 for 2022.
Registration for both the Lakes Traverse and Northern Traverse will be open on Friday evening and again on Saturday morning in the function room of the St Bees School. There will also be a short race briefing for each race held at this location immediately before a mass migration to the start.
We will transport one bag, maximum weight of 5kg direct to the finish of your race. This bag should be robust and waterproof to withstand handling and outside storage. Your finish bag will need to pass weigh-in before it is accepted onto our transport.
Drop bag (Northern Traverse only)
This is one of the elements of the event we have grappled with the most. Previously participants had to duplicate kit into two different drop bags, with each bag alternating between the different support points. After much consideration we will simplify this so that Northern Traverse participants must only supply ONE drop bag and we will take this to the same four of the six support points as in 2018. We believe that this makes planning for the event simpler for participants and logistics more complex logistics for us, but that is what we are here to do. There is a weight limit of 15kg and a size limit of 80L for this drop bag, and it will need to pass a weigh-in before we accept it onto our transport. More details can be found on the kit page.
There has been a comprehensive update to the event rules. There are no fundamental changes, but we have brought these in line with the rules for all other Ourea Events races. It is each participant’s responsibility to familiarise themselves with these. There are two general principles, which underpin the rules of the event; fairness and safety. Please be under no illusion; we will apply these rules without hesitation or favour to everyone in the race from first to last place. We don’t want to come across as overzealous but the application of fair rules to everyone at an event is a significant part of the coherent structure of an event. I would just like to highlight a few important points:
Honest mistakes happen
We take part in events ourselves; we understand that sometimes people make genuine mistakes, for example forgetting some mandatory kit or cutting a corner of a mandatory route. Our approach is simple; if the error is accidental and if a participant confesses to having made it, they will be treated with leniency (most likely just a strike – see below)
Any deliberate cheating will likely result in disqualification. Disqualification means that the participant will be required to leave the event immediately, and at their own cost.
We all get tired at these super long endurance events, but any aggressive and/or rude behaviour to any of the event team, members of the public or anyone associated with the event will result in disqualification.
Three strikes and you are out
We know that most breaches of the rules are accidental and as such we issue strikes. A strike is like a slap on the wrist and may also be accompanied by a time penalty. However, we realise that most participants are not really bothered if they finish in 40, or 41 hours, and therefore a time penalty is not much of a deterrent. Over the years, we have observed a tiny minority of participants (usually just one or two per event) who seem to think that the rules don’t really apply to them, and consistently break them. This is why we created the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule. This means if we issue a third strike, the participant immediately becomes non-competitive (i.e. allowed to finish the event, but with no result or finish recognition) or disqualified, depending on the seriousness of the rule breaches.
There are no fundamental changes and hopefully just even clearer advice about what clothing and equipment is acceptable. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us well before the event to seek clarification. There will be a thorough kit check of your mandatory kit at registration and spot checks at any time during the event. Participants will not be able to start the event if they are missing any items of mandatory kit.
Highlights of changes
Northern Traverse participants will need to pack their own plate/bowl (in their drop bag) for accessing food after the Shap support point (no disposable serveware will be available).
Northern Traverse participants will need to pack a personal first aid kit in their drop bag.
We have updated information on the spare layer all participants will need to carry.
Sustainable food is a fundamental component of our overarching sustainability strategy as a business. We are very aware that this strategy affects everyone because our staff, volunteers and participants all rely on the food we provide to fuel them through our events.
We have served a meat and fish free menu to participants since our first event in 2012. Over the years, we have worked hard to develop the menus we provide for our participants, to ensure the meals are nutritionally balanced for their needs. Our food sustainability policy covers this in more detail.
This does mean that there will be some changes to the menu that was offered at the previous 2018 edition of the event. We are delighted to be able to now share our menu for the 2022 event and we are confident that you’ll enjoy the nourishing, tasty, nutritionally complete menu whilst taking some pleasure from the reduced environmental impact of the event food.
We will endeavour to provide the full menu at each of our support points 24-hours a day.
Additional food options
As well as the food provided by us at support points (i.e. included in your entry), we have highlighted a number of venues along the race route who will be able to provide participants with additional food options from their regular menu. Of course, these are subject to the venues’ normal opening times.
Don’t worry there are no changes to the overall time to complete the course! You will have noticed that we have pushed the start times back a bit, and therefore we have adjusted the cut off times accordingly. These are clearly listed on the details page.
In contrast to our other expedition races (Montane Dragon’s Back Race® and Cape Wrath Ultra®), where the cut-offs are tight, the ethos and nature of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse races allows them to be more achievable by more participants, and this is reflected in the cut-off times. The cut-off times are based on 4km/h, plus extra time for ascent, plus extra time each day to rest. Whilst participants also need to make time for sleeping and stops at the support points, remember 4km/h is ‘only’ a fast-walking pace.
We will be providing all participants with a highly detailed GPX file of the Lakes Traverse and Northern Traverse routes. We recognise that not everyone is a navigational ninja with a map and compass, and by pre-loading the route onto a suitable device, participants are much more readily able to follow the correct route stress-free.
In previous editions, participants were sent a (not waterproof) 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey map a few weeks prior to the event. Rather than print two copies of the map, we are going to supply one bespoke, waterproof event map to each participant. This map will be handed out at registration rather than posted. The new map will be made by Harvey Maps and be 1:40,000 scale. We have a long-standing relationship with Harvey Maps who make our brilliant, and award-winning, maps for the Dragon’s Back Race® and Cape Wrath Ultra®.
Another topic that has created much discussion in the office and amongst the participants is whether we will continue with race bibs for the Northern Traverse. We have decided to change to race numbers for both the Lakes Traverse and the Northern Traverse. Each participant will be issued with a set of numbers (small number on the back of their rucksack/race pack, large number for the front) at registration.
Whilst we sincerely hope you won’t need their assistance, like all races organised by Ourea Events we will have a professional response team consisting of experienced Mountain Rescue team members working on the event. Their role is to provide emergency assistance to any participants on the course.
We can confirm ITRA points for the 2022 edition of this event as has previously been promised and that both races are listed as qualifying races.
As you can see there are various tweaks to the event format and design. Overall, we are very focused on incremental improvements to the event from a participant experience and safety perspective. Please bear with us if there are any errors, omission or contradictions and let us know so that we can clarify and speedily update the website. Thanks again for all the support.
Participants will have been emailed some actions that are now available to, or requested of, them by editing their entry to:
reserve a space on the first-come, first-served park and ride option
ensure they fill out any dietary requirements
ensure they have filled in any relevant health information
set their Trees not Tees preferences if desired
ensure all their other personal details are correct
And of course, whilst the above has highlighted key updates, we strong recommend you sit down and read the largely re-written details page of the website.
We hope you have found this update useful and are now feeling better prepared for what to expect come April.
Good luck with your continued training and we will be in touch again soon with more updates.
We are confident that we will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the organisation of the 2022 Northern Traverse, ensuring that you will enjoy a brilliant and exciting adventure along Wainwright’s Coast to coast route with full confidence in the event support and organisation.
Will we be changing anything?
We’d like to take the opportunity to assure you that we will be making no fundamental changes to the 2022 event, and will only look to introduce improvements based on our experience from organising our other events.
We may include minor changes to the route – e.g. our intention is to go over Helm Crag vs down Far Easedale for instance. You can expect a full update in the new year with high quality GPX files of the route to follow also. We also intend to provide high-quality Harvey 1:40,000 mapping to each participant.
We’re getting out in the field to check everything straightaway, and Shane is currently completing a full route recce shortly – give him a wave if you see him out there!
We’ll be adjusting the support point ‘menu’ to meat and fish free to match our food sustainability policy, and giving the mandatory kit a once-over to clarify a few things. Also, we’ll be recruiting more professional staff to help – e.g. a ‘first response team’ and more.
What’s really clear to us is that Open Adventure built some seriously solid foundations for us to hit the ground running and we look forward to developing things to make your experience absolutely tip-top.
Have you taken part before?
If you’re a Northern Traverse / Lakes Traverse old hand, we’d love to invite you to share your thoughts – pre-feedback if you will! Just get in touch and we’ll be delighted to see what you have to say.
Any questions? Please get in touch…
If you have any questions about the above, or about the event in April, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we would be delighted to chat!
We will be in touch with some more event updates in the new year, in the meantime, happy training!
Yours in running,
The Northern Traverse team at Ourea Events.
Ourea Events to organise the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse from 2022
Ourea Events has completed the acquisition of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse events from Open Adventure.
With immediate effect, Ourea Events have taken on the responsibility for the organisation and management of the event including the delivery of the 2022 edition. Shane Ohly, Managing Director of Ourea Events explains: “The first edition of the event took place in 2016 and attracted 62 runners taking part in the Northern Traverse. The second edition in 2018 attracted 106 runners split evenly between the Northern Traverse and the new Lakes Traverse race. The event was planned to take place biennially with the third edition scheduled for 2020. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the postponement of the 2020 edition, until April 2022”.
He continued, “I am absolutely delighted that the team at Ourea Events have the opportunity to build on the fantastic event that James Thurlow from Open Adventure has inaugurated, and I am confident that we can build on the solid foundations that are already in place. We are planning for over 300 runners in 2022 who will come to Northern England to measure themselves against this logical, but extremely challenging ultra-running event.”
James Thurlow from Open Adventure said, “The Northern Traverse is a unique event, so when the time came for us to look to move on from running this event, the pool of people able to take on this task was pretty small. At the top of the list was Ourea Events – with our sister company Open Tracking, we have seen how Shane’s team operate and are confident that his team will not only take this event in their stride for 2022 but take the event to new heights in the future.”
The acquisition of this event represents a logical move for Ourea Events as it provides an English expedition-style race that is highly complementary to the Welsh Montane Dragon’s Back Race® and Scottish Cape wrath Ultra® events also organised by the business. Shane Ohly added, “We are emerging from a hugely demanding and uncertain period for all businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I remain confident in the growing market for high quality, experiential events in a booming global trail running market, and can’t wait to welcome the runners to the 2022 edition of the Northern Traverse and Lakes Traverse.”
Already have an entry into 2022?
Ourea Events is looking forward to getting in touch with you soon (in November) – meanwhile no action is required.
Looking to enter? Entries are now open
The 2022 edition (2nd April to 6th April 2022) of the Northern Traverse and the Lakes Traverse are open for entries. Enter now!