- Challenging running in world-class mountain scenery
- Cross the Torridon wilderness area
- Total height gain of 4160m over 5 running days
- Support vehicle for luggage transfers
- Stay at Hostelling Scotland accommodation en-route
- Some meals included
A dramatic and beautiful landscape for your running adventure
The highlands of Scotland have long attracted lovers of the outdoors with their magical combination of wildness, dramatic scenery and rich history.
The networks of paths make the highlands perfect for trail runners looking to combine a physical challenge with the joy of running through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. With the running tours taking place in the low season periods of spring and early autumn, you're able to enjoy the tranquility and remoteness of this stunning mountain landscape to the full.
Starting from Glen Clova in the east, five days of guided trail runs take you to Braemar, on to Aviemore and Kintail through glacial valleys and mountain passes, and end with a real "bucket-list" run - a crossing of the mighty Fisherfield wilderness area in Torridon.
Expect some rough terrain and challenging days, but with the reward of spectacular scenery. Photo: TRS.
Ideal for runners seeking a challenge
You will be covering a total distance of approx. 145km with a total height gain of 4160m over 5 running days.
If you are used to regular, steady runs of around 30km and are able to do 5 consecutive long hiking days in mountain terrain, this is a good indicator of suitability.
Luggage transfers and atmospheric hostel accommodation
You'll be led by an experienced mountain guide, and at night stay in Scottish Youth Hostel Association hostels along the route.
Luggage is transferred and the support vehicle also brings you from your accommodation to/from the start/end points of the runs as required.
Hostelling Scotland accommodation provides a comfortable and welcoming end to each day's run. This is the hostel at Torridon. Photo: TRS/Hostelling Scotland.
Tours are suitable for solo travellers or guests travelling with one or more companions, min. age 18. All sleeping accommodation is shared in 2-4 person rooms, so there is no single supplement for solo travellers.
Day 1: Arrival to Perth
The group will meet at Perth railway station at 17.00 in the evening for transfer (approx. 1 hour) to Kirriemuir, near the start point at Glen Clova.
Accommodation is in hotel in Kirriemuir.
We recommend travelling to Perth by train. If travelling by car to Perth, please contact us for details of parking options during the tour.
Day 2: Glen Clova to Braemar
You begin from the south-eastern end of Glen Clova, in the Cairngorms. You'll be running on Jock's Road, which is a traditional route for sheep drovers connecting the markets of Glen Clova to Braemar.
You begin with a gentle ascent through forest on wide tracks, before the landscape opens into Glen Doll. Reaching the end of the glen, the path narrows but is good, taking you across the hillside and up onto the plateau.
The group will alternate between running and walking, and the ascent is not steep.
Once on the plateau, you have a glorious couple of km under wide skies before dropping steeply on grassy terrain to Glen Callater, the track improving gradually towards the lodge there.
The day's run ends with an easy-going descent to reach the ski road to Glenshee, one of Scotland's ski areas in winter, just outside Braemar where you will spend the night.
Summary: Running distance: Approx. 21km. Height gain: 740m (highest point 914m). Accommodation: Hostel at Braemar.
Day 3: Lairig Ghru to Aviemore
Starting from Linn of Dee, you have the chance to warm up on a flat track before the trail becomes rougher as you run under the imposing slopes of Ben Macdui, the second highest mountain in the UK.
You cross the bridge at Luibeag to reach the glacial valley of Lairig Ghru, which offers dramatic views.
The ascent to the pass is not steep, and when you reach the highest point at 840m, the high mountains still tower around you.
Your route takes you across a short boulder field before descending on a sweeping single-track path out of the high mountain landscape and back into the forest towards Aviemore, where you spend the night.
Summary: Running distance: Approx. 31km. Height gain: 660m (highest point 840m). Accommodation: Hostel at Aviemore.
Day 4: Glen Affric to Kintail
You begin with a drive of approx. 1 hour 45 mins to reach Glen Affric, where your run today begins.
With its dramatic mountain skyline and forests of Caledonian pine, Glen Affric is one of Scotland's most scenic.
Today you'll be running the route of the Highland Cross duathlon in reverse, with a route that descends more than it rises during the course of the day.
You being along the undulating shore of Loch Affric, reaching the SYHA's most remote hostel at Altbeithe. From here you climb steadily for 100m to reach the col below Beinn Fhada. Following is a fast, rocky and technical run almost back down to sea level and then a nice gradient to relax the level muscles down to the sea.
From the end point it's 5 minutes by transfer vehicle to your hostel accommodation for the night.
Summary: Running distance: Approx. 30km. Height gain: 550m (highest point 360m). Accommodation: Hostel at Kintail.
Day 5: Fisherfield Crossing
Today you begin from Achnasheen, a transfer of about 40 mins from the hostel.
The route and distance today can be flexible, thanks to the network of interconnecting trails and passes in the Glen Torridon area. Depending on how the group is feeling, this day can be made more or less challenging.
A typical plan for today would be to begin with a steady climb from the station at Achnashellach station to Coulin pass, then head west to ascend to the head of Coire Lair. This is a dramatic spot with the geological history of the area evident in the waves of rock.
A well-worn path leads between the munros of Sgorr Ruadh and Maol Chean-dearg into a beautiful area as the trail takes you back to the sea in Glen Torridon.
Summary: Running distance: Approx. 26km (flexible options). Height gain: 1010m (highest point 652m). Accommodation: Hostel at Torridon.
Day 6: Fisherfield Crossing
Your last day of running, but the trip will end on a high note!
You begin with a transfer of approx. 1 hour to Poolewe.
Today you cross the great wilderness area of Fisherfield, bound to be one of the enduring memories of the tour.
The day starts and ends at sea level, using stalkers' tracks winding between the waters and mountains of this very special region.
You cross the causeway to Carnmore lodge and then the first of the mountain passes to cross the river at Shenevall bothy, nestling beneath An Teallach, 'The Forge'. The week's run ends with a last climb and gentle downhill to sea level.
You spend the last night at hostel in Inverness. You should be justly proud of your achievements during the week and ready for a celebratory dinner to end the adventure!
Summary: Running distance: Approx. 37km. Height gain: 1200m (highest point 540m). Accommodation: Hostel at Inverness.
Day 7: Departure from Inverness
Independent arrangements for departing from Inverness. Regular train (2h 15m) or coach services (2 h 45m) connect Inverness to Perth for onward travel by train or to collect your car if driving.
Fixed date tours
- TBC for 2021 - please contact us for details.
These tour dates are open to anyone fulfilling the running ability requirements (min. age 18).
Custom dates for groups
Private tours for groups are possible on other dates by arrangement. Please contact us to discuss your requirements. The best time for tours is May-early June or in September.
As accommodation on all nights is shared, there is no single supplement for this tour.
Prices below are for fixed-date tours. Prices for private tours can be given on request depending on group size and requirements.
What's Included »
Six nights' accommodation: Accommodation Day 1 is in hotel in Kirriemuir. Days 2-5 is in hostels along the route. Day 6 is in hostel in Inverness. Accommodation on all nights is shared in 2-4 person rooms. Solo travellers will share with other same-gender guests on the tour where possible or choose single-sex dorm room at the hostels. Bedding and towels are provided.
Example Hostelling Scotland accommodation during the tour. Photos: Hostelling Scotland/TRS.
Activities and guiding:
Guided runs led by experienced guide as per itinerary.
Breakfast from Day 2 to Day 7. Simple food for lunch Day 2 to Day 6. Lunches will be, for example, wraps with cheese/salad, fruit, nuts and small pies. Please mention in advance if you have any dietary requirements or allergies. You should bring with you any additional snacks or gels you would like.
Sleeping accommodation is normally in shared 2-4 person rooms with shared WC/shower facilities. Showers are available on all nights except Day 3. Sauna is included on all nights except Day 1. Bed linen and towels included. Sleeping bag and liner is provided for use in the cabin on Day 3.
Support vehicle for transfers of luggage between overnight accommodation and of participants between the start/end of each leg.
- Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
- Travel to Perth and from Inverness in connection with arrival/departure.
- Dinner: The group will choose a suitable restaurant for dinner each night.
- Snacks: Simple lunch is included, but you should bring own snacks, etc, for extra energy during the day.
Good To Know »
You should be comfortable regularly running distances of around 30km, have good stamina and experience of running on rough terrain.
Average pace incl. climbs and rougher terrain typically around 9-10 mins/km, but stamina and experience of running off-road is the most important requirement.
Terrain/distance: 21km-37km/day on tracks and rough, stony trails.
The tour is not a race and your guide will adjust the pace to one suitable for the group and which allows you to enjoy the beauty of the landscape.
What makes this "Hard"?
The tour takes place in challenging and at times very remote terrain. As with any mountain tour, weather conditions can change very quickly.
You'll need a good level of fitness and stamina to join the tour and experience of running off-road. Trails will be rough and can be stony/muddy.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".
A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.
NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
A total of minimum 5 persons are required for fixed-date tours to be guaranteed to run. You are of course welcome to book as a solo traveller.
Max. group size 7 persons.
This provider has a written ecotourism policy.
Getting There »
See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!
Detailed information on travel will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.
NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
From Within the UK:
Train/bus to Perth on arrival and from Inverness on departure.
Meet at 17.00 at the train station in Perth on arrival day. Departure time from Inverness is flexible.
From Outside the UK:
Fly to London or Edinburgh for onward travel by public transport as above.