The following page outlines further details regarding:
Aims of the WHW Challenge Race - some further thoughts
Registration + Start + Check Point + Water Point + Finish Information
Ben Nevis Climb - additional optional challenge
WHW Race Route Information
The WHW Challenge Race is designed to require no outside assistance other than that provided by the race. Accordingly the race provides food, drink, other support items and moves drop bags, rucksacks and a finish bag along the route and to Fort William. Retired competitors from the race are also transported to the finish area in Fort William. The Race Support Team deal with and manage everything. Please see previous web page for more explanation.
What is the WHW Challenge Race attempting to achieve?
Some further thoughts...
The organisers are attempting to provide a CHALLENGE to the competitor that is uncomplicated, cheap, easy and simple, in transversing the whole beautiful scenic West Highland Way route. Also to encourage new people to take part in the joys of 'long distance trail' competition. The camaraderie achieved in the West Highland Way Challenge Race can be seen in the results tables, where so many come in together in pairs or groups.
"One year I was really going through a tough spell just before taking on the Devil's Staircase climb. I grouped up with 4 other competitors. We supported each other and all made it into the check point at Kinlochleven. Thanks guys. Great team work" Runner 2018
The WHW Challenge is a 96-mile 'point to point' race in 35 hours where enjoying the scenery and having a good workout is perhaps the most important factor along with finishing the race. Several of our competitors complete the WHW Challenge Race in under 35 hours, just by steady walking they are not joggers.
We work hard to create a race structure that hopefully breeds BELIEF and CONFIDENCE in all competitors taking part in the WHW Challenge Race. Yes, you have to train well to give the challenge an honest effort. Training is key. Coupled with good fitness/training, our generous check point cut off times often give competitors the confidence and belief they can finish the course in 35 hours. The WHW Challenge Race also allows competitors to improve their endurance and sleep deprivation resilience. Hopefully competitors will dig deep into their resolve and find their inner strength, which in many cases they did not know they possessed. In one weekend you can find out more about yourself and have a real sense of epic achievement. Perhaps more so than many people will discover in the same year or maybe even a lifetime.
The WHW Challenge Race does not set or require superhuman entry requirements. As such the WHW Challenge Race is open to marathon runners, Long Distance Walking Association (LDWA) members, or any other long distance related event competitors. Even if it is your first time attempting an Ultra, you may consider entering this Challenge to see how you get on and discover how far you can walk in one continuous effort. Basically you don't know until you try. The main point is that the competitor is fit and healthy enough to undertake the 96-mile ultra endurance competition and they are sensible enough to pull out if they are having a bad day. Be fit. Be determined. Be smart.
The final decision on accepting entry for all competitors will be at the discretion of the Race Director and Race organisers.
Click here to read and learn from Mike Mattison's 2019 Race story/experience.
WHW section between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy. Good running/jogging/walking to be enjoyed.
If family, friends, partners are wishing to cheer you on during your race attempt we (the race organisers) kindly ask that you are mindful and adhere to the following:
- Avoid driving and parking close to race check points and water points. Often these locations only have space for the Race Support Team vehicles.
- Also part of the agreement we have for using community halls, tent pitches, national park buildings as Race Check Points is, we will only bring official Race Support Team vehicles to those locations.
- Only park up in safe and permitted places. Then walk or jog to the part of the West Highland Way to cheer on your competitor.
- Safety First - if at any time you are feeling driving fatigue, or suffering from sleep deprivation, stop at the next available safe and permitted parking spot and rest. Rest well before continuing your journey.
- THE RACE ASKS THAT NO SUPPORT PERSONS OR FRIENDS MEET THE COMPETITOR AT BEINGLAS FARM CAMPSITE (CP3, 41 Miles). ACCESS IS VERY RESTRICTED. PLUS WE DO NOT WISH TO UPSET THE LAND AND BUSINESS OWNERS AT BEINGLAS.
- In summary, it is best to leave all elements of Support to the Race Organisers.
- Also, the best way for family and friends to support runners/walkers is to become a West Highland Way Challenge Race volunteer. That way you are part of the official support team and the race organisers can plan and manage effectively. Details on how to get involved and volunteer can be found on the Contact Us & Race Volunteer website page.
REGISTRATION + CHECK POINTS (CP) + WATER POINTS (WP) + RACE FINISH INFORMATION
Please read and digest information carefully.
Pre-race, Race and Post-Race food will be provided by the race organisers at Registration, individual Check Points and the Finish. Details of food and drink provided is detailed below.
In addition to the food provided by the race, competitors will be able to provide their own drop bags at Registration for transportation to the 3 Check Points listed below. These drop-bags will be transported by the organisers to the designated checkpoints and the drop-bags will be transported DIRECTLY to Fort William after the Check Point has closed. The used drop bags will not accompany the competitor along the route.
RACE REGISTRATION TIME: between 18:00 hrs and 23:00 hrs on the Friday night.
NOTE: IF AN 'UNSCHEDULED EMERGENCY OCCURS' AND AN ENTRANT IS GOING TO BE LATE FOR REGISTRATION, PLEASE PHONE JIM DRUMMOND at your earliest opportunity on 07724 576337.
Depending on the lateness we will try and accommodate a late start if we can, but please have a good excuse for being late.
REGISTRATION LOCATION : MILNGAVIE TOWN HALL BUILDING , 71 STATION ROAD, MILNGAVIE G62 8BZ (Grid Ref: 556745). The Town Hall building is opposite the entrance to the Railway Station Car Park, about 100m from the Railway Station.
Registration and final race deyails are in the Main Hall. There is also a quiet room for the use of competitors who arrive early and want to rest up before the start.
At Registration tea, coffee and juice will be proivided to the competitors, along with light refreshments.
On registering the competitor will be required to sign a further disclaimer form.
The competitor will then receive a Race Number which will be required to be displayed on their front at all times during the race.
The competitor will not be deemed to be out of the race until their race number is given to a race official. This requirement is for safety reasons.
At Registration competitors will be advised of unrestricted parking locations nearby. They can park their cars until their return on the Sunday.
THE RACE BRIEFING: The Race Briefing will take place in the Main Hall at 11:00 p.m.
2016 Race - Jim Drummond (Race Director) briefing runners before the start. Please note the race briefings now take place in the main hall to 130+ competitors and volunteers. Jim has taken part in over 600 races and has a successful career in the military behind him. All his valuable experience is a tremendous asset to the race. Talk with Jim before the race, especially if you are attempting your first big ultra or are feeling a bit anxious about the challenge. Both Jim and the race support team can advise you accordingly. The race is all about helping you to succeed and hopefully finish the course.
Hand them in at Registration. Competitors can deposit drop bags for use at the CHECK POINTS at Rowardennan CP2 (27 miles), Bridge of Orchy Hall CP5 (60 miles) and Kinlochleven CP7 (81 miles).
The drop bags may contain personal drinks, food, clothing, shoes, sun block, midge repellant, first aid kit, torches, batteries, vaseline, paracetaol, etc.
Bags should be of a type that can be closed again securely after use to retain the contents for transfer to Fort William. Roll top closure dry bags are the best and ideal for this type of event.
REMEMBER THE DROP BAGS MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE CHECK POINT LOCATION COMPETITOR'S RACE NUMBER.
This needs to be handed in at Registration for transport directly to Fort William. For example, it should contain washing kit, towel, a full change of clothing. Please be mindful of the size and weight of your finish bag.
SMALL LIGHTWEIGHT TENT:
(One or Two Person only) This can be put in your Finish Bag for use at the end of the race for competitors who require some private rest space and/or who don't wish to pre-book and pre-pay for accommodation in case they finish during the night. There is plenty of room to erect a small tent on the grass areas at the football field where the race finishes. Please DO NOT camp on the actual football pitch playing area. Pitch your tent on the surrounding grass area. Please note there is no additional cost for camping. Competitirs will finish carrying their sleeping bag anyway.
The race takes place during the weekend and sometimes on the national UK Bank Holiday weekend. With this in mind hotels, guest houses and hostels are usually full in Fort William and they don't take kindly to people disturbing them at 2:00 a.m. in the night looking for accommodation even if pre-booked.
AGAIN YOUR FINISH BAG MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE COMPETITOR'S NAME AND RACE NUMBER
Is required to be handed in at Registration. This will be returned to the competitor at Check Point 5, (Bridge of Orchy; 60 miles) and is required for safety reasons to be carried by all competitors to the end of the race, in case of immobility. At CP 5 when rucksack is issued, then any bum bags etc. can be left and these will be transported to the Finish. Also this Safety Rucksack is to be carried by those wishing to climb Ben Nevis.
Safety rucksack needs to have two mandatory items of equipment in it:
ITEM 1 : A minimum 800gram sleeping bag.
ITEM 2 : A heavy duty orange type emergency Survival Bag.
Also the safety rucksack needs to have spare capacity to carry other important kit the competitor needs for the remainder of the race e.g.waterproofs, hat, gloves, etc.
The sleeping bag does not need to be waterproof, a simple minimum 800 gram (total bag weight) e.g. a £10 sleeping bag from Sports Direct is sufficient. The same shop sells Survival Bags for £4.99 (£2.49 during sale). These survival bags weigh 270 grams. A lightweight rucksack weighs in at 350 grams.
The total weight is 1.42 kg or 3 lbs 2 oz. Not a lot of weight to carry to save your life if you are immobilised 2,000 ft up a mountain. If a competitor twists a knee and can't go on, then they can climb into the sleeping bag and then into the survival bag 1m x 2.1m and wait till the race sweepers, or help arrive.
CONCERNED ABOUT RUNNING/WALKING THE LAST 36 MILES WITH YOUR SAFETY RUCKSACK? MIGHT BE ASKING WHY? TOO MUCH WEIGHT?
He is some reassurance from an experienced competitor who has taken part in the event for the last 4 years:
"Hello everyone, the Safety Rucksack essential requirement is nothing to worry about. It is a very smart rule the organisers of the WHW Challenge Race insist on. Please see the postives and the advantages it gives you (more on this later). When I first heard about it, I thought to myself 'mmmm that sounds a bit much, that could be heavy, could be bulky'. Then I discovered it is NONE of those things. When I arrive at Bridge Of Orchy I just switch from my (leading brand) Ultra Running Pack to my slightly larger capacity (leading brand) Multi-Sport pack. Everthing fits in no bother. Once on my back and I get running again, I hardly notice the extra weight. The switching of running packs also allows me to check on my all my essential gear, water, snacks, head torch, mobile phone etc. It gives me that extra confidence going into the final third of the challenge.
Also, and I can't stress this enough, it is a very smart ESSENTIAL requirement. If you became immobilised high in the mountains or on a remote/exposed part of the trail your lightweight sleeping bag and survival bag could save your life. At the very least these two items will keep you warm and dry until help arrives. Also having a lightweight sleeping bag is really useful if you wish to get some rest at Kinlochleven Check Point. Quite a few competitors have a 30min, or 45min, maybe even an hour quality rest at Kinlochleven (sleeping mats are provided for comfort). They then head back out onto the trail and finish the course in under 35 hours.
So in summary, please see the safety rucksack requirement as a great benefit. In the interests of SAFETY and FAIRNESS to all involved please ensure you follow this essential and important race rule"
AGAIN THE 'EMERGENCY RUCKSACK' MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE COMPETITOR'S NAME AND RACE NUMBER.
PRE-RACE TRAINING ADVICE:
Plan and train for success and glory on race day. We would encourage each competitor to do at least a couple of long training runs/walks whilst wearing your Safety Rucksack. Get used to it. Get comfortable with it. Then come race day you will be best prepared.
Trail follows the east side of Loch Lomond. If we get lucky with the weather, the early morning views are wonderful.
CHECK POINT (CP) LOCATIONS & WATER POINT (WP) LOCATIONS
THE RACE START
At the 'WHW Post' start post in Milngavie town pedestrian centre, Grid 554745,
This location is a 4 minute walk from the Registration site, at the Town Hall.
The Race must start promptly at one second after midnight to accommodate those targeting 'the race in a day'.
Check Point opening times will occur prior to the race leader arriving at that location.
Dist. Location Map Check Point
miles Grid Cut-off Time
WP1 7m WHW/A81 road crossing 523835
CP1 12m WHW/A811 road crossing (near Drymen) 482888 4:30am
WP2 19m Balmaha Car Park (Information Centre) 422910
CP2 27m Rowardennan Car Park (near Information Centre) 360986 10:00am Drop Bag
WP3 34m Inversnaid car park (in front of hotel) 337089
CP3 41m Beinglas Farm Campsite (Falloch cabin) 321186 3:00pm
CP4 50m Auchtertyre Camp Site (new C.P. location) 355290 6:30pm
CP5 60m Bridge of Orchy Hall, 50m before WHW crosses A82. 298396 10:00pm Drop Bag & Safety Rucksack (the hall has a shower)
The Safety Rucksac is issued for remainder of race.
CP6 72m Over old bridge, after Kingshouse Hotel 259547 2:30am
CP7 81m Kinlochleven astroturf pitch building. 183622 6:00am Drop Bag (short 'Sleep Point' if required)
The building is basic, but has toilets, lighting, heating.
WP4 88m Lundavra at the WHW track and road junction 101666
Finish 95m Claggan Football Park, Fort William. 120743 11:00am Finish Bag
A4 INFORMATION SHEET WILL BE ISSUED TO EACH COMPETITOR AT REGISTRATION - VERY IMPORTANT
The Information Sheet will provide the Check Point & Water Point information above. ALSO the name/s of those covering the various CPs & WPs including their mobile telephone numbers, in case they are needed to be contacted in an emergency. Also the names of the Race Director, searchers, sweepers, and other officials along with their mobile numbers will be provided. Emergency Services numbers will also be provided.
Also directions for the last 1.5 miles to the finish at Fort William Football Club on Achintee Road are detailed on your sheet. The directions explain the route to follow from the end of the forest road at Brave Heart Car Park to the Fort William football club and therefore the official finish line of the WHW Challenge race.
All competitors MUST keep this information sheet on their person at all times during the race. Please keep it in a safe place. A waterproof cover is also provided. It is every competitors responsibility to keep their information sheet dry, secure and on their person (or in their race pack) at all times.
We also strongly advise you photograph all the details listed on your Information Sheet and save the photographs on your mobile phone. Please complete this task at registration. By doing this you have an emergency back up file you can refer to during the race.
WHW Trail between Inveroran and Kingshouse. A tough long section with stunning views of mountains, rivers and moorland. You might get to see deer and birds of prey on this section. Take it all in. All part of the wonderful experience that is the West Highland Way Challenge Race.
Also please familiarise yourself with the route to the finish. Please use the link below which highlights map detail and final directions. You may wish to look up the route on Google Maps (or similar app) prior to the race. Good planning increases chances of success. Double check any last minute queries you may have with a race official whilst at registration.
The last thing you will be wanting after running/walking 96 miles is to get lost at the end of the race or head into Fort William town centre. Just imagine this, you are on course to achieve a sub 24 hour time, or a personal best, or finish just under 35 hours. You have chosen not to follow the instructions above and get lost or run/walk an extra 1 or 2 or 3 miles going right in to Fort William town centre and then back again to find the official WHW Challenge Race finish. As a result you miss out on that sub 24 hour time, or that personal best, or just miss finishing under 35 hours. It will really bust your (often sleep deprived) head after a very long time out on the trail. It is your responsibility to repare well. Follow our advice and you will find the finish with no problems or delays. You can then just concentrate on running/walking to glory!
Please follow the instructions given. Please note your finish time will only be recorded once you cross the line at the WHW Challenge Race finish at:
Fort William Football Club (also known locally as Claggan Park)
Click here for map detail and final directions to find the finish of the West Highland Way 'Challenge' Race
Will start at 10:30 hrs on the Sunday morning at the finish location.
Prize Giving 2018 Race - Jim Drummond congratulates Geraldine Muller on being the first lady to cross the finish line. Well done again Geraldine on a superb achievement.
Thanks again for taking part and sharing your positive feedback. Great job!
TRANSPORTATION BACK TO MILNGAVIE or GLASGOW AIRPORT
Due to the number of entrants, the race will lay on a coach from Fort William back to Milngavie Train Station and then the coach will proceed on to Glasgow Airport. The cost per traveller is £15, to cover the hire of the coach. The coach will leave Fort William at 12:00 hrs and arrive Milngavie Train Station car park at approximately 14:30 hrs and then proceed to Glasgow Airport at approx 15:00 hrs.
'CHECK POINT' & 'WATER POINT' RACE PROVISIONS
CHECK POINTS PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING FLUIDS:
- Coca- Cola
- Diluting orange juice
- Diluting berry juice
- Hot Chocolate,
- Milk - for tea, coffee and cereal.
- Cup- a- soup
- Hot water for competitors suppliments
CHECK POINTS PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING FOODS:
- A vaiety of biscuits.
- A variety of sweets.
- Assorted packets of crisps,
- Assorted fruit mainly, bananas
- Cheese savouries.
- Sandwiches eg ham, cheese, tomato, banana.
- Hot foods, fruit and cereals will be provided at several Check Points
ALL THE 'CHECK POINTS' HAVE: VEHICLES LOCATED AT THEM
The Check Points are marked by a 'Flashing Triangle' and have the following:
- Large first-aid kit
- Sleeping bag
- Stove & kettle for heating foods and drinks
- A pot for heating solid foods
- Spare torches
- Vaseline, tissues
'WATER POINTS' WILL PROVIDE:
- Diluting Juice
- Soft drinks
'Water Points' in the main are marshaled by the same people who cover the 'Check Points', so the above Check Point foods, drinks and items should be available in their vehicles if you reqiure them. Just ask. The race support team are there to support you as much as they can and increase the chances of you crossing the finish line.
IN ADDITION TO WHW CHALLENGE RACE SUPPORT FACILITIES
(please note all details listed below are for information purposes only and they operate independently of the Race Organisers)
There are various hotels, shops and restaurants along the WHW route. For example:
- Inversnaid Hotel
- Beinglas Farm has a cafe
- Auchtertyre Camp Site has a cafe
- 'Green Welly' cafe and 'Brodies' shop in Tyndrum
- Bridge of Orchy Hotel
- Inveroran Hotel
- Kinlochleven there are various shops, hotels and even a 'chip' shop (closes 9:00pm).
- Naturally, the competitor arrival time to these various locations will determine if the local hotel, shop etc. are open. The race organisations advice is always carry money in any ultra race.
BEN NEVIS CLIMB: ADDITIONAL WHW CHALLENGE RACE OPTION
The WHW Guide Book suggests the ascent of Ben Nevis is a fitting 'GRAND FINALE' to the completion of the West Highland Way. Colin Anderson in the 2018 race climbed the Ben as the Grand Finale to his race, completing 105 miles and 19,162 ft of ascent in 34 hours 10 minutes. A great endurance effort/achievement. Well done again Colin.
Quick summit photo before the descent back to the race finish line. Colin is the first competitor ever to complete a WHW Ultra and a summit/descent of the mighty Ben Nevis within 35 hours in an officially timed and recognised race. Great job! Confident you will inspire others.
John Vernon, one of the competitors, with 16 race completions of the WHW, has requested The WHW Challenge Race adds the ascending and descending of Ben Nevis into our event as an additional race option and FINALE, for those who wish to do so.
AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION IT WAS AGREEDTO ADD BEN NEVIS INTO THE RACE, FOR THOSE WISHING TO DO SO. Jim would like to add, If you take up the Ben Nevis option and suffer, please feel free to blame John Vernon who proposed it. Although in 16 completions of racing the WHW, John has never had the urge to climbed the Ben at the end.
If the competitor reaches the Finish in Fort William within approximatly 30 hours and at the Race Directors discretion, the competitor can continue in an extended race of ascending and descending Ben Nevis. Competitors can be solo, paired, or grouped for the climb depending on weather conditions. The competitor's time will stop at the Finish of the Race and start again when they leave to climb Ben Nevis. An additional Certificate will be awarded to those completing this climb with a total joint time. The Ben Nevis climb would add a further 9 miles and 1,324 metres of cimb to the race, but will not affect the 5 UTMB series points which are based on a Fort William finish.
BEN NEVIS EQUIPMENT TO BE CARRIED.
Competitors must carry the following on the Ben Nevis Climb:
- Waterproof trousers
- Waterproof jacket with hood (not Pertex, or other shower proof only garments)
- Warm running kit
- Thermal layers
A KIT CHECK WILL BE CARRIED OUT BY THE MARSHALS PRIOR TO THE START OF THE CLIMB.
- Emergency whistle
- Mobile phone
- Two torches with spare batteries for both (the torches and batteries are 'not' required if starting climb after dawn on the Sunday)
- A sleeping bag (at least weighing a minimum of 800 grams)
- A heavy duty 'Emergency Bag' (orange type)
- Yaktrax' style overshoes (as there is still snow and ice on Ben Nevis in May)
- Emergency rations (at least 250 grams); and a First Aid Kit.
THE RACE DIRECTORS DECISION IS 'FINAL' ON WHETHER THE CLIMB, OR COMPETITOR GOES AHEAD OR NOT, AS PART OF THE RACE. IT WILL BE DEPENDANT ON WEATHER CONDITIONS AND THE PHYSICAL & MENTAL STATE OF THE COMPETITOR.
NO ATTEMPS WILL BE STARTED LATER THAN 6:00am on the SUNDAY.
Competitor Steve Harding in the 2016 race. 63 miles of the West Highland Way achieved so far! Is it possible for a man to look this good in lycra? Steve has taken part in four WHW Challenge Races. 2 finishes, 1 withdrawal at Kingshouse due to a bad achilles injury and in 2019 he was a member of the race support team. Great effort all round!
THE WHW CHALLENGE RACE ROUTE
The WHW Challenge race route is the authorised West Highland Way route. The route is indicated on the official West Highland Way Website. We recommend all competitors to visit this website to further their knowledge and understanding of the route.
In addition maps of the route are made by Harveys WHW map or the Footprint WHW map. PLEASE REMEMBER the West Highland Way Challenge Race has a different finishing line/place to the actual end of the West Highland Way. Please see above for more detail on the race finish.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
1 AT THE ALTERNATE WHW ROUTE LOCATION AT 16 TO 20 MILES THE RACE ROUTE 'GOES OVER CONIC HILL'
2. AT THE ALTERNATE WHW ROUTE LOCATION AT 28.5 to 31 MILES (This is 1.5 miles after Rowardennan ) THE RACE ROUTE 'GOES THE EAST ROUTE (THE HIGH FOREST ROAD TRAIL) .
If you take the other path route, via Rowchoish Bothy it will bring you back onto the WHW trail 2.5 miles later, but you will add at least 15 to 20 minutes extra to your time.
Beautiful Loch Lomond at first light. Lovin' the 'challenge' of the West Highland Way. Lovin' the views! Midges are a bit bitey!