The Octopus, 8 ascents of Leith Hill, Surrey logo

The Leith Hill Octopus Charity Challenge

So where is this all happening?

On Leith Hill which is a little leafy lump that sits just four miles west of Dorking, and Dorking is where the route starts, right outside the swimming baths in the main street.

The challenge is to ascend the top of Leith Hill by 8 different routes, finishing at the top at the end of the 8th climb. There are more details about this on the route page

The ethos of the challenge reflects that of the CTC, the cycling organisation that organises a Hilly 50k event in early spring, using a couple of the same roads. But that's where it ends. It is not a namby-pamby cyclosportive where you pay a fortune to enter and then expect to see marshals on every corner. You won't get your shoes polished on the start-line nor your hair (if you have any that is) laquered on the finish-line. You won't leave with monstrous-sized plastic bag containing what are euphemistically called goodies. No, this is just the opposite.

The ethos of The Octopus is an unashamed push backwards in time, back to rather old-fashioned cycling values which means that you have to set off with a brain and you have to look after yourself, or someone in your group has to take responsibility if push comes to shove.

Not only will The Octopus boost your competence and self-confidence, there is the further bonus of being able to do it on a date that suits you.

The Octopus, as you'll have realised by now, is a different sort of cycling challenge because you don't actually go anywhere.

No, your route is more like following a randomly scattered heap of spaghetti, curling and twisting and overlapping with other strands that has been dropped on a map. You effectively start at one end and keep going until it's all done.

As well as the hard graft on the roads, the challenge is in the planning of your route and the preparation for the big day.

Get more details on the route and how to enter pages