If you are looking for a challenge in the outdoors, then the Mawddach Big Adventure (MBA) will give you plenty of opportunity to test your mettle, and for a change it won’t cost you the earth.
The MBA is made up of 4 outdoor disciplines; hill walking, cycling, mountain biking and orienteering. The journey of over 250 km will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of southern Snowdonia and you will need to be good at each discipline to do well.
To count yourself amongst the MBA elite, you will need to push yourself hard, grab some sleep, then get up and push yourself some more. And then some more.
By choosing to run the individual events back to back, the MBA can be similar in concept to an expedition length adventure race (see www.sleepmonsters.co.uk), and would be the perfect training ground for anyone preparing for such an event.
Get your team and support crew working in perfect harmony at a time and pace that suits you, and without the messy business of kit-checks, entrance fees and teams that are faster.
To complete the MBA you will need to finish the following:
The Mawddach Way. A 50 km circular Hike around the Mawddach Estuary from Barmouth to Dolgellau and back.
The Mawddach Big 8. A 160 km figure of eight cycle ride, consisting of a north and south loop.
The ‘Beast of Brenin’. 38 km of Mountain Bike Black run
Light Green Orienteering Course. 3 km of difficult orienteering in the Coed y Brenin Forest
‘Completed’ means following the official route with no short-cuts, intentional or otherwise. All orienteering checkpoints must be correctly identified.
There is no time limit set on completing the MBA, but the time taken will affect the level of difficulty experienced. A good MBAer should be able to complete the above ‘courses’ in 5 separate days. A very good MBAer should be able to complete them in 5 consecutive days. The elite will do it in fewer.
All courses have open access around the clock, but you will have to buy the orienteering map during visitor centre opening hours.
There is no fee to take part in MBA. GPS data for the Mawddach Way and Mawddach Big-8 can be downloaded for free, but it is well worth picking up a guidebook for each; hard-copy versions are available from the respective websites. To help keep costs down even further, you can buy e-book versions of both guidebooks with a special deal for prospective MBA Participants:
Value Adventure! Rampage for less with a special 25% discount on the the Mawddach Way and Big 8 e-books. Get both pdf files for just £6.70:
A map of ‘the Beast’ can be downloaded for free, and orienteering maps can be purchased from the Coed y Brenin visitors centre. Other than that, it is just parking, food and accommodation.
Once you have completed all the events it is time work out your score, and to do this you will need two bits of information; the number of part or whole days it took you to complete the challenge, and the number of gaps of a day or more when you were not doing the challenge. This must be at least one less than the total number of days. If it took you 5 Saturdays to complete MBA, then there would be five days with four gaps. If you completed MBA over three weekends, then this would be 6 days and 2 gaps. People who complete in less than 5 days may round to the nearest half day. Apply those figures to the table to work out your score. If you send us your name, the date on which you completed MBA, the number of days and gaps as detailed above, we will be able to include you on the Wall of Fame
Recognising that not everyone can be brilliant at everything, we have included a team category to make the challenge open to a wider field. Teams may consist of 3 or more members, and the challenge must be completed over a 48 h period. Send us your team name and date of completion to be included on the Wall of Fame
Coed y Brenin is, amongst other things, a working forest, and the trails do get closed from time to time when felling is taking place. It is worth checking before you head out to attempt the challenge. Coed y Brenin does not have much in the way of mobile phone coverage. The Mawddach Big-8 passes through villages with some shops and pubs to stock you up with food and drink. The Mawddach Way is in isolated terrain for most of its length so you will need to carry what refreshment you need.