For those who prefer their holidays to include lung-bursting outdoor pursuits and plenty of perspiration, there is no shortage of challenging sporting events around Loch Ness and Inverness during the summer and early autumn months this year.
Along the Great Glen in May, the annual Whole Way Walk is the longest ranger guided walk in the country. This 79 mile journey takes walkers to the heart of the Highlands by combining six days of guided hiking with other events showcasing the area’s history and heritage. From 6 -11 May, participants will trek the width of the country from Fort William on the west coast to Inverness on the east offering a unique opportunity to experience this environment up close and personal.
Alternatively, adrenaline seeking visitors might like to take part in the Drambuie Pursuit, which runs from 11-13 May. The nine-stage event takes in the Loch Ness area, with events at Invergarry, Fort Augustus and the River Ness and combines a wide range of outdoor activities including archery, buggy racing, white water rafting, rock climbing, abseiling, hill running and mountain biking. Not for the faint hearted, this high-energy Highland challenge offers an exciting and inspirational introduction to the area.
Heading into June, outdoors enthusiasts have the opportunity to join a range of events at the ‘Outta Affric’ Glen Affric Walking Festival. This four-day festival (1- 4 June) offers graded and guided walks taking in a selection of Munros and Corbetts alongside a packed programme of entertaining, interesting and informative extras.
For those who like to inject a little variety into their travels, June also brings a selection of exciting challenges taking in the Loch Ness area. The first is the Scotland Coast to Coast event. This two day challenge (15-16 June) allows entrants to select their own level, taking one or two days to tackle the route from the east coast at Nairn to the west coast at Ballachulish by running or walking, kayaking and cycling through its tough terrain either alone or as part of a two-person team.
June 16 will also see walkers gathering at Gairlochy on Scotland’s west coast for the 24 hour Caledonian Challenge, where participants attempt to complete a 54 mile route through some of the Highland’s most spectacular scenery in just one day all in aid of the Scottish Community Foundation. And just a week later the area will play host to the Highland Cross duathlon event (invitation only) The Highland Cross takes place on 23rd June with participants attempting to complete a 20 mile walk and 30 mile bike ride through the rugged terrain of Glen Affric and Strathglass to finish in the beautiful village of Beauly.
August sees the arrival of the Monster Swim at Loch Ness. This open water aquatic event offers the opportunity to tackle either the one mile Big Yin or the half mile Wee Nessie course – both of which offer the opportunity for participants to truly immerse themselves in the surroundings and see spectacular scenery from an entirely new angle. The season of exertion and exhilaration is rounded off on 30 September with the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon which offers a rare opportunity to race on the roads round this iconic loch location. This must-run route takes in 26 miles of spectacular surroundings, with the finishing line in the Highland capital of Inverness.
Further information on the area, accommodation and what’s on around Loch Ness and Inverness at www.visitlochness.com