The Great Kinder Beer Barrel Challenge has its roots in a bet that occurred in 1998. The original challenge was laid down one bleak January night when local Edale shepherd Geoff Townsend complained to the landlord at the Old Nags Head Inn that they had run out of his favourite beer. Geoff jokingly offered to fetch a barrel of the brew from the Snake Pass Inn, only three miles away as the crow flies, but with 900ft of ascent and descent in between. The landlord agreed that if Geoff succeeded, he could have the barrel (and, more importantly, its contents). So the thirsty shepherd gathered twelve locals to help carry the barrel on a borrowed Mountain Rescue stretcher. He won the bet, shared the beer with his team, and raised £1200 for Edale School in the process.
Since the original crossing, the challenge became an annual event for teams of 8 to compete in a not-too-serious but fiercely competitive race against the clock with the fastest teams completing the course in under 50 minutes! The barrel race is held annually on either the first or second Saturday in September and raises a considerable amount for Edale charities as well as being a great day out whether you’re running or spectacting.
The race stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic and restarted in 2023 with a new route due to the Snake Inn closing as well as restrictions on access to the Kinder plateau.