Meanwood Valley 3 Trigs Challenge

You have to love a trig point. When out on the hills, they usually mean the end of the climbing, an excuse for a break and the best view. They also tell you definitively where you are – a reassuring navigational presence. Originally functional concrete pillars, they have become icons of the pre-digital age of cartography, and symbolic of the wild places…

But trig points are everywhere, including in the city. And whilst urban trigs may not be quite as glamorous as some of their rural cousins, it’s nice to be reminded of the hills when going about your day-to-day business in town. So, I’ve devised a roughly 9-mile off-road running challenge for us North Leeds-types that links (in a rough triangle, appropriately enough) the 3 trig points spanning the Meanwood Valley – at Scotthall, Tunnel How Hill and Stairfoot Lane. Thus, the Meanwood Valley 3 Trigs Challenge. Why not give it a crack sometime?3-trig-map.jpgI’ll try and keep “rules” as such to a minimum:

  • Start at any of the 3 trigs, visit the other two in any order and return to your start point.
  • Choose your own route, but generally I’m envisaging it would be largely off-road. For example, if starting at Scotthall, you might go via Sugarwell Hill, Woodhouse Ridge and the Meanwood Valley Trail, but the detail is up to you (and part of the fun). If you really want to run straight up Scotthall Road and King Lane I can’t stop you, but the spirit of this challenge is soft ground, avoiding traffic and knowledge of the ins and outs of the Meanwood Valley.
  • Another part of the fun is in successfully locating the Tunnel How Hill and Stairfoot Lane trigs, because their location is not immediately obvious. Maybe do a bit of prep to increase the chances of success with this…?
  • …Compare with the Scotthall trig, one of the most “visited” in the country. For safety’s sake, you don’t have to cross Scotthall Road to visit the trig itself – the metal pedestrian gate onto the playing field opposite is sufficient.
  • And take care at the numerous other road crossings. I take no responsibility should you get killed or injured when undertaking this challenge….
  • Perhaps most importantly, I don’t envisage this as a timed “race” as such, not least because the infinite number of route options makes consistent and meaningful timing difficult. I see it more as an exercise in locating and linking the 3 trigs and returning to your start point having enjoyed the circuit.

OK, a list of successful completions to date can be found here and in the Comments section below, with links to routes taken (you can also follow me on Strava to see my various efforts and routes). If you’d like your effort adding, let me know using the Comments or social media, with a suitable link. Any feedback on this idea, route selection etc much appreciated. If sharing, please use the hashtag #MV3TC. Have fun!

Completions so far (@ 19.5.20)

9.1.19. Jon & Jenny

2.12.19. Matt Armstrong

25.3.19. Richard Jones

23.6.19. Tim/Ian/Dinesh

25.6.19. Jon Pownall

25.8.19 Adam Nodwell (view a clip of Adam’s previous attempt here)

21.3.20. Andy Mace

28.3.20. Mats Vermeeren

11.4.20. Hilary Lane

14.4.20. Martin Sutcliffe

18.4.20. Tony Mills

(More ideas for trig-bagging in Leeds can be found in my blog 13 Pillars of Wisdom).

31 thoughts on “Meanwood Valley 3 Trigs Challenge

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for setting this wonderful challenge in an area which I am very familiar with, having grown up in the vicinity, and having run along the trail for the past 30 years or so.
    I have completed the challenge this morning and would like to add my name to your list. However, I’m not sure how to upload my Strava to it. Please could you advise.
    Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Hilary – glad you enjoyed it. When I came up with this a couple of years ago I couldn’t have imagined the circumstances that we’re facing now, but it seems to chime with the times. Anything to give our precious daily outdoor slot a bit of additional variety & interest! I found your run on Strava and have added it above. Take care. Dave


  2. Hey Dave,
    Cheers for setting this class little challenge. Recced it over the past couple weeks then gave it a propper good bash today and took it under the hour mark. Perfect time of year to give it a go, dry under foot, mild temps and no cars on the roads. Please could you add my attempt to this blog. Let me know if you need any help with my strava link


    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great Ollie, I’ve added you above. Strictly speaking the FKT at present is my effort of 17.12.18 (51 mins) but that was almost all on roads… whereas your route today is more in keeping with the “rural” spirit of the challenge. Obv. it’s difficult to draw a line between the two, which is why I increasingly see this as more a navigational/route finding challenge than a timed one… mind you, as you say, with the paths dry/no traffic/mild weather this might be a good time to go for the FKT. Don’t do it at the expense of social distancing etc though! – it’s all a balance between keeping things interesting but also responsible just now. Great to have your interest either way.


    • No worries Emma. You definitely took the purists’ line there, and nothing wrong with that! Cheers for taking part. Dave


  3. Hi Dave, our lockdown walk of the route isn’t quite circular (we needed to pop to the shops on the way back) but here it is anyway. Found quite a few new paths on the MVT – the benefits of walking and social distancing. Thanks for putting this out for us to follow!
    Check out my activity on Strava:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since Lockdown I’ve found so much stuff on the doorstep I would otherwise have overlooked. I’m not quite saying “this is great” but it has been of some consolation. Glad you enjoyed the walk. You should be proud of having set a new SKT for the MV3TC!


  4. Not sure if this qualifies but I bagged all three of these trigs on the evening of 5th January 2000. Yes 20 years ago. I was Staying at Leeds Uni halls, visiting for a conference and had spare time in the evenings. So starting from the Uni, on foot, armed only with an OS map (Landranger 104), I set off for Scott Hall not sure if it would survive, the map showing it on a dual carriageway. But when I approached, there it was on the central reservation. Next call was Tunnel How Hill. I nearly missed this one. Bear in mind it was a January evening so I was doing this in darkness. I had headed straight for the highest point and didn’t find it. About to give it up as lost, there is was as I ambled down the wooded northwesterly slope. My third and last trig of the evening was Stairfoot Lane, a nice easy roadside pillars along an unlit road on the outskirts of the city. This was a pleasantly easy bag with the city lights on the horizon. Now fulfilled with my trio of trigs, I hoofed it all the way back to the Uni residences to contemplate another four Leeds trigs which I bagged the following evening. My trig bagging antics can be found here:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your “trig-bagging antics” are pretty spectacular Graeme! Such a great way of exploring local areas or, in your case, much of the country! I’m very impressed that you managed to find Tunnel How Hill in the dark with only a 1:50000 map way back when. Yes – you’d think it should be at the top of the hill, but that was occupied by a folly (“King Arthur’s Castle”) when the trig was built. Great to know that this trig-bagging game has a long history, well before Lockdown. Great to hear your recollections.


  5. Tried as much trail as possible. I’ve absolutely loved getting out and finding trigs!
    Because of this challenge and I’m keen to know if you have any more challenges in the pipe line Dave or anymore trig points I can hunt down 🙂
    Thanks for providing me with some awesome quarantine fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, looks like you found almost all the trails going there Andy! 3 trigs done and only another 6000+ to go – see for the full list, and also recommend the COVID Trig Point Challenge! group on Facebook. My more recent blog Exiled from the Fells mentions the various ways I’ve tried to keep running interesting during Lockdown. Cheers for your comments. Dave


    • I’ve found it an idea that kept on giving. Done it about 8 (!) times now, a different way each time. There are so many variations. Glad you enjoyed your first go. Dave


    • Great to see you giving it some more goes Richard, although you’ve still got a fair way to go to be as sad as me! (8 efforts on Strava I think, and they’re just the ones I recorded….). Nice though that just minor variations can lead to a very different experience – just what we need right now. Dave


  6. One of the VS told me about this challenge last year, but never got around to doing it. Completed it last night. Not what I had originally planned, so was unfortunately chasing the fading light by the end. Hope to give it another go taking more of an off-road route next time. Great challenge – I suspect it will get a lot of renewed interest off the back of the 2021 Great Owl Running GPXGP. Rachel


    • Many thanks Rachel, and also for nudging me about Adam’s latest plans…. trig-hunting helped me get through Lockdown 1 and great to see it being taken even further! Hope you have another good run round M3T, perhaps when weather/conditions are a little kinder.


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