Coast to Coast: run, cycle and kayak your way across the highlands of Scotland
If you’re going to push your body to its limits, you may as well do it surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Highlands. Rat Race’s Coast to Coast endurance race involves a lot of running, even more cycling, and a little bit of kayaking. And as the name suggests, it takes you from one coast of Scotland to the other. In two days. Maybe even one if you’re feeling invincible.
The race starts in beautiful Nairn, home of Tilda Swinton and the town Charlie Chaplin holidayed in every year. Unmissable would recommended a freshly-cooked fish supper from Friar Tuck, eaten overlooking the harbour.
From Nairn beach you run 7 miles inland towards Cawdor Castle, where you do your first transition. In this case, you stop running and hop on your bike instead. And now a lovely bike ride through the Highlands.
And don’t forget, it has to be finished at some point during the first day. Best get pedalling.
Your destination for the night is Fort Augustus, on the banks of Loch Ness. Here, you get all the stuff you’ve been dreaming about – a hot meal and a sit down on something without wheels. And a warm and comfy bed or sleeping bag. But before all that, there’s a 1.5-mile run and kayak to complete.
Day two sees you up with the lark to get on your bike once more. This time it’s for a 34-mile ride through the Great Glen. After a transition in Fort William, you finally see the back of that bike for good, and start a 14-mile run towards Loch Leven. If you prefer, you can go off-road for this bit. This will shave two miles off the route. Then it’s down to the loch, into your kayak for a mile-long paddle. And out at the other side to sprint to the finish line outside the Isles of Glencoe hotel in Ballachulish.
Wise competitors book a room at the hotel, meaning as soon as they’ve got their medal, they can have a bath and then make their way to the after-party.
The Coast to Coast race starts in Nairn in the north-east and finishes in Ballachulish in the west. It follows a route through the Scottish Highlands, including a stopover in Fort Augustus.
The race takes place every September. Check the event information page for the most up-to-date schedule.
What you need to know:
You don’t have to enter to enjoy the stunning Scottish scenery. Head to Fort Augustus and cheer on the competitors before enjoying a slap-up meal at The Boathouse, in the grounds of the abbey, followed by a canalside pint in the village.