The Great Glen challenge is a 92km race across the width of Scotland. This event can be completed over 2 days or non-stop. The 2 day event is achievable by everyone and the non-stop event is best tackled by those who have had many hours down winding and ocean paddling. The reason for the requirement for the non stop race is due to paddling for the first 4 hours in complete darkness and the possibility of strong wind and waves. We would advise paddlers do some distance training and train on bumpy water.
The event will always be a downwind race as we decide the direction of the race the night before at registration.
The challenge will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the World and across the mighty Loch Ness
Mandatory Safety Kit
– PFD, which must be worn
– Leash, which must be worn and secure
– Mobile phone (fully charged and in a waterproof container). This MUST be attached to your person
– Whistle (this MUST be attached to your person)
– Bivvy bag (this MUST be attached to your person).
– Cold Weather Clothing. We advise dry suit or neoprene
– Small waterproof torch (To attract attention, if required))
– Race Director’s telephone number programmed into your phone
– Every paddler will be given a GPS tracker. Please ensure it is attached to your person. DO NOT attach to your board.
– Food and Hydration
– Race bib and race number
Schedule of Events
Friday 20th September
17:00 – 18:30. Registration at Struan Cottage, Great Glen Water Park, South Laggan, Spean Bridge, PH34 4EA
19:00 Race Briefing and confirmation of direction event will run
Saturday 21st September (Banavie to Fort Augustus) – 44km
06:30 Safety kit check and briefing. (Neptune’s Staircase, Banavie)
07:00 Prone Start
07:05 SUP Start
07:10 Ski, kayak, canoe, tandem Start
16:00 Cut off at Fort Augustus
18:00. Race briefing for Day Two at Struan Cottage, Great Glen Water Park, South Laggan, Spean Bridge, PH34 4EA
Sunday 22nd September (Fort Augustus to Inverness) 48km
Day Two (Fort Augustus to Inverness)
06:30 Safety kit check and briefing (entrance to Loch Ness, Fort Augustus)
07:15. Mass start
16:30 Cut off at Inverness (Canal Road, Inverness)
19:00 Prize giving meal and party (venue to be confirmed)
NON-STOP (Banavie to Inverness)
Saturday 21st September
16:30 Registration and Briefing at Struan Cottage, Great Glen Water Park, South Laggan, Spean Bridge, PH34 4EA
Sunday 22nd September
02:30 Safety kit check and briefing
03:00 Mass race start
09:30 Cut off time at Fort Augustus
16:00 Cut off time at Inverness
19:00 Prize giving meal and party (venue to be confirmed
Board Shuttles to starts and finishes will be arranged at briefing each evening
– £85 Solo or Team
– £45 Relay
– £150 Tandem (2 paddlers)
– £45 One Day
Entry fee includes, cost of race entry, tracker, snacks and water at all checkpoints. Snacks at finish of each day
We would advise ground support for the Great Glen. However we will have volunteers available at checkpoints to assist with food, hydration and board caddying. Also volunteers will take any required checkpoint bags to the checkpoint and then the event finishes on each day. Please just ensure your bag is recognisable by yourself and ensure it is returned to the drop off points to ensure pick up.
We will be holding a traditional Scottish Party at 7pm on Sunday 22nd September. After prize giving we will have a Scottish Ceilidh Band. This will be both race prize giving and end of season prize giving. Cost of Prize giving dinner is £12.50, for 2 course meal and soft drinks. Please bring your own alcohol
100% refund up to 20th June
50% refund between 21st June and 20th July
25% refund between 21st July and 20th August
No transferring of entries
No refund on accommodation booked as we are required to pay immediately
Great Glen Challenge Safety
When the safety of the participant is not 100% guaranteed (eg. the paddler is sick), the organisation can take the participant out of the event. The participant is at all times responsible to judge their own situation and the potential danger that could occur. The organisation will not be deemed responsible for the participants decisions on safety.
The race may be cancelled, postponed or shortened if water or weather conditions are deemed to hazardous by race officials.
Paddlers must carry a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof container at all times. Race Directors number must be stored in your phone – number will be informed at briefing
All paddlers must wear PFD and leash at all times. PFD can be waist PFD. If not wearing PFD and leash you will receive instant disqualifications.
All paddlers must ensure they wear suitable clothing for the water and weather conditions. We would encourage drysuits or neoprene. Water temperature will be around 5 degrees.
All paddlers must carry a whistle torch, phone and bivvy bag on their person
Sufficient food and drink will enable the athlete to keep paddling. Please ensure you take enough food and drink for the full distance. Water and snacks will be available at checkpoints but please do not rely on this for your race hydration and nutrition.
Cut off times
We have a cut off time at the Fort Augustus checkpoint, these are detailed in the race schedule. If a paddler does not arrive by the cut off time they can opt to continue paddling the course, but it will be as an individual paddler and not under the safety of the race. Please remember we will be paddling down wind so this will ensure a faster paddle time
Water Craft choice
Please ensure you paddle the correct water craft for the water conditions. We would advise one that is suitable for ocean conditions. The large bodies of water can resemble the ocean if the wind picks up. We do not advise the use of flat water, narrow boards
You will be given a safety card at registration to complete. This must be completed, signed and attached to yourself prior to entering the water at the start of each day. No one will be allowed to start the race if they do not have all the mandatory safety kit. Your mandatory kit could be checked at a checkpoint. If you lose an item, please let a volunteer know at a checkpoint and we will endeavour to get you a replacement
Paddler must wear high viz race bib at all time on the water. Race bid will be provided
Paddler must wear race number at all times. Race number will be provided
Details of Portages
Start – Neptune’s Staircase, Fort William, PH33 7NG
1st Portage – (10km) Gairlochy (350m) – CHECKPOINT
2nd Portage – (27km) Laggan (250m). – CHECKPOINT (food and water at this point)
3rd Portage – (37km) Kytra (200m)
4th Portage – (44km) Fort Augustus (750m). Portage before entering exiting Loch Ness (food and water at this point)
5th Portage – (84km) Dochgarrock Portage (200m). – CHECKPOINT (food and water at this point)
Finish – (92km) Muirtown Lock Flight, Canal Road, Inverness, IV3 5LE – FINISH (food and water at this point)
We will have hot soup at all checkpoints
We are unable to put in a checkpoint on Loch Ness. However, we will have a boat on the water from 8am until 2pm, which will have water and snacks on board. If you need to pull out on Loch Ness you can pull out 3km into the paddle on the left hand side at Invermoriston or at Foyers 16-17km on the right hand side of the Loch when travelling in the direction towards Inverness
You are allowed assistance with your board/boat at portages. UK SUP do not provide individual ground support but will help where possible with board caddying.
RNLI Safety Advice
The water of the Lochs are rarely above 5 degrees centigrade. Therefore drysuits or wetsuits would be advisable
Waves between 1 and 2 metres are common and can occur within 30 minutes of strong wind establishing
Being fresh water the Great Glen route is far less buoyant than the sea
Marine VHF Channel 16 is monitored by HMCG throughout the Great Glen. If using mobile dial 999
Mobile phone signals are generally ok. Make sure you have a fully charged battery and keep your phone in a waterproof container
On Loch Ness and Loch Oich please follow the left hand shore line and follow the right hand shore line on Loch Lochy. This is correct for the route we will be taking from Fort William
Please paddle no more than 100 metre off the shore. The reason for this is that this area is subject to almost instantaneous wind and weather changes. At 100m you are able to reach the safety of the shore before the water conditions change too much