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Highland Grand Tour – 5 day trail running holiday

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Highland Grand Tour – 5 day trail running holiday

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Date

16.06.2024

Distance

21 km

Location

Perth, Kirriemuir, United Kingdom

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Key Information

740 m

Inverness

21 km

Trail Running Scotland

1295 GBP

Perth

Trail, Gravel, Grass

Description

Want to discover the very best of the Scottish Highlands on foot? Join us for a running adventure exploring the finest trails as we take a journey of 145km over 5 days, taking in some of the most beautiful scenery Scotland has to offer.

This trail running holiday is a 5 day point-to-point trip that covers the very best trails, taking us from the southeastern corner of the Cairngorms in Glen Clova, all the way up to the remote and wild Fisherfields in the north west Highlands.

We’ll make our way north via the many glacial valleys that carve their way through the Highlands of Scotland, using historic drovers’ roads and stalker’s tracks to link mountain passes and great glens. Along the way, you’ll discover some of the best high mountain scenery to be found anywhere in Scotland.

Each day, you’ll run with an experienced guide who’ll navigate your team to success. Your luggage will be taken care of by our support driver, who’ll also transport our running team to and from the trails each day - so all you need to focus on is enjoying the run and making memories!

This is a small group running tour with a maximum of seven guests, so you can get to know your new running buddies as we traverse the Scottish Highlands.

Highland Grand Tour – 5 day trail running holiday

145km 4160m+

Run 1 - Jock's road, Glen Clova to Braemar

21k

740m ascent

Highest point 914 meters

Get ready for our first day of Highland trail running! We start in the very southeastern corner of the Cairngorms in Glen Clova, the most beautiful of the Angus Glens.

The run follows Jock’s Road, a historic drover’s route linking the Glen Clova sheep markets to Braemar in the heart of the Cairngorms range.

Staring from the visitors centre we’ll follow wide tracks that gently ascend through the forest and out into the expanse of Glen Doll. At the head of the glen, a well built but narrow path cuts across the hillside, passing an emergency shelter to lead us up onto the high plateau.

The climb is never steep and we’ll alternate between walking and running sections - so there will be plenty of opportunities to catch a breath, or take some photographs!

Once on the high ground we have a couple of kilometres of real wild running across open fells on a faint path, before a steep descent down grassy slopes into Glen Callater.

As we descend the glen the track improves as we pass the lodge before enjoying an easy downhill to the Glenshee ski road just outside Braemar to finish the day on a high.

Run 2 - Lin of Dee - Laraig Ghru to Aviemore

31k

660m ascent

Highest point 840 meters

On day two, we again follow an ancient trade route, travelling through the hills rather than over the top of them.

We’ll start by warming up the legs along a flat, wide track from the Linn of Dee, making our way up towards Derry Lodge.

After this, a well-worn footpath gives steady but rough running as we pass under the huge slopes of Ben Macdui, the UK’s second highest mountain.

We’ll cross the Luibeg Bridge, taking us over a small col, and into the massive glacial valley of the Lairig Ghru, where we’ll be rewarded with spectacular views. There’s some ascent here but it’s never steep and it’ll soon be forgotten when we reach the high point of the pass at 840 metres, dwarfed by the mountains surrounding us.

A short rocky boulder field marks the high point at the Pools of Dee and then it’s downhill all the way back to Aviemore on sweeping singletrack paths as we leave the mountains and return to the pine forests.

Run 3 - Glen Affric to Kintail

Drive to Glen Affric -1hr 45mins

30k

550m ascent

Highest point 360 meters

Today we travel through the majestic Glen Affric, often described as Scotland's most beautiful glen due to its large area of native ancient Caledonian pine forests and rugged skyline of high mountains.

A reverse of the legendary Highland Cross duathlon, today is the 'flat day' of the week with more down than up - a great opportunity to really stretch the legs and enjoy the scenery.

The route starts by following the undulating shore of Loch Affric before meeting the watershed at Alltbeithe, the most remote of the SYHA youth hostels. We have a steady 100 metre climb to the col below Beinn Fhada and then a technical, fast, rocky descent which drops us all the way down to almost sea level, before a perfect gradient to ease off the legs as we arrive at sea level. There’s just a five-minute transfer to our hostel from today’s finishing point, and a well-deserved dinner!

Run 4 - Achnasheen to Torridon

Drive to Achnasheen - 40mins

26km

1010m ascent

Highest point 652 meters

The mountains around Glen Torridon are laced with myriad trails, linking passes and winding routes between the giants of the Munro summits. This allows us to tailor this day in our week to our needs, with flexibility for tired legs to get an easier day, or fresh legs to keep lapping it up!

Our route suggestion for today starts with a low angle steady climb from Achnashellach station to the Coulin pass, before cutting back west to climb to the head of Coire Lair, a spectacular place, decorated with great waves of rock, contorted by the meeting of land masses.

From the high point here, a well-worn path snakes between the Munros of Sgorr Ruadh and Maol Chean-dearg, before the sandstone slabs and glorious trail will have you whooping all the way to the sea in Glen Torridon.

Run 5 - Fisherfield crossing

Drive to Poolewe - 1hr

37km

1200m ascent

Highest point 540 meters

And here it is, the grand finale! Just when you thought that it couldn't get any more spectacular or wild, the crossing of the great Fisherfield wilderness will trump it all.

Starting and finishing at sea level, this route follows tracks used by stalkers and 'sportsmen' for hundreds of years, winding between rock and water of the many lochans and high mountains of this unique area.

After crossing the causeway to the remote shooting lodge at Carnmore, we cross the first of our mountain passes to the river crossing at Shenavall Bothy, nestled under the bulk of An Teallach, 'The Forge'. One last climb and gentle descent finishes the week. It’s a trail running holiday like no other, and an adventure you’ll never forget!

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Highland Grand Tour – 5 day trail running holiday – Jock's road, Glen Clova to Braemar

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