DETAILED RACE INFOMATION
THE FOLLOWING OUTLINES FURTHER DETAILS REGARDING:
Aims of the WHW Challenge Race
Registration + Start + Check Point + Water Point + Finish Information
WHW Race Route Information
AIMS OF THE WHW CHALLENGE RACE
The organisers are attempting to provide a CHALLENGE to the competitor that is uncomplicated, cheap, easy and simple, in traversing 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 many come into Check Points and the Finish together, in pairs, or groups.
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 resistance. 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 a year, or maybe even a lifetime.
The WHW Challenge Race does not set, or require superhuman entry requirements, NOR DO WE REQUIRE a C.V. of other races, as many of our competitors come from a hill walking/running back-round. 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 period, basically you don't know until you try. Many of our competitors have 2 or 3 races, before they achieve a finish. The main point is that the competitor is fit and healthy enough to undertake the 95-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.
The WHW Challenge Race is designed to require no outside assistance other than that provided by the race. Although support teams and vehicles are allowed. Accordingly the race moves drop bags, emergency rucksack and a finish bag to their locations in the route and retired competitors from the race are also transported to the finish in Milngavie, so no support vehicle is required.
THE RACE REQUIRES THAT NO SUPPORT CREWS, SPECTATORS, OR FRIENDS MEET THE COMPETITOR AT BEINGLAS FARM CAMPSITE (CP5), or at AUCHTERTYRE CAMP SITE (CP4), AS ACCESS TO THESE TWO AREA'S IS VERY RESTRICTED. PLUS WE DO NOT WISH TO UPSET THE LAND AND BUSINESS OWNERS AT BEINGLAS or OCTERTYRE as they have been very helpful to the race.
No Support vehicles, or support vehicle people have to come within 500 metres of the Check Points at Ochtertyre, or Beinglas. 'Support runners' accompanying a competitor may run through these two locations. FALURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS WILL RESULT IN THE COMPETITOR BEING 'DISQUALIFIED' FROM THE RACE.
REGISTRATION + CHECK POINTS (CP's) + RACE FINISH INFORMATION
Please read and digest information carefully.
WHW CHALLENGE RACE REGISTRATION AND START TIMES and LOCATION:
The 'REGISTRATION' will be at 'Inverlochy Village Hall' (also known as the Braxi Hall), in Nevis Road, Fort William, PH33 6YL. The two Drop Bags, Emergency Bag and Finish Bag, will be deposited in the marked vehicles and trailers at the Hall car park.
Race numbers, the Information Sheet and Disclaimer Form will be handed out at Registration. Please fill in the information on the back of the 'race number,' especially medical conditions, allergies and medication that you are on or may affect you. This is indispensable for on the scene medical assistance.
For the 'WALKERS ONLY' WHW Challenge Race, Registration will be open from 07:00am to 07:45am on Saturday 25 May 2024.
For the WHW Challenge Race, Registration will be open from 08:30am to 09:45am Sat 25 May 2024
Please remember and leave enough time to walk the 600m from the Registration to the Start location (timed at 6 minutes) and we require the competitors to be at the Start at least 10 minutes before the start time.
Toilets, drinking water for bottles, will be available at the Registration area.
The 'START' will be at 10:00am at the 'WHW Sign' at the mini roundabout at the junction of Glen Nevis Road and the A82(T) road in Fort William (grid 113743).
IF THE COACH IS HELD UP WITH TRAFFIC, THEN NATURALLY WE WILL DELAY THE START ACCORDINGLY.
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 07746 866554. Take a copy of this number in case your held up in traffic. A late start may be able to be accommodated in an emergency, as the Fort William, Ben Nevis Centre Check Point will be open until the last Ben runner comes off the mountain, we will try and accommodate a late start if we can.
RETIRALS and FINISHERS MUST HAND IN THEIR RACE NUMBERS.
RACE NUMBERS 'MUST' BE HANDED IN TO THE MARSHALS, WHEN COMPETITORS WITHDRAW DURING THE RACE AND AT THE FINISH - FAILURE TO HAND IN THEIR RACE NUMBER WILL RESULT IN THE COMPETITOR BEING 'DISQUALIFIED' FROM THE RACE AND POSSIBLY BARRED FROM FUTURE RACES. The race numbers are required for safety reasons and to ensure everyone is accounted for.
THE 2 DROP BAGS:
At REGISTRATION competitors can deposit 'drop bags' for use at the 2 CHECK POINTS: At Bridge of Orchy CP3 (35 miles) and Rowardennan CP6 (68 miles).
The 'drop bags' may contain personal drinks, food, clothing, shoes, sun block, midge repellant, tissues, first aid kit, torches, batteries, vaseline, paracetamol, etc.
The Drop Bags, or contents should be of a type that can be closed again securely after use to retain the contents for transfer to Milngavie. The bags may have to lie out in the rain, so the Drop Bag, or its contents should be waterproof e.g. Roll top, or zip holdalls with the contents inside in a bin liner, will do the job just as well. Remember they must be able to be closed again after use.
If the weather forecast is for heavy rain then it is recommended a FULL SET OF DRY CLOTHES are deposited in the two drop bags. Remember the Fort William area has the highest rainfall in the U.K. and even in the later stages of the race at Loch Lomond your body is not supplying as much heat.
The race is supplying 'hot water' therefore Pot Noodles, pasta Mug Shots, powder soup, etc. can be put in the bags as well as your cold food (sandwich boxes, etc). Even put a mug in the drop bag for hot foods if you use them.
Remember the 'Drop Bags' will be returned to Milngavie as the Check Point closes, they will NOT BE MOVED ON TO THE NEXT CHECK POINT, so you may have to wait for the bag to arrive at Milngavie. Sometimes the bags arrive back early, if retrials are being taken back to Milngavie.
REMEMBER THE 'DROP BAGS' MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE 'CHECK POINT LOCATION' AND 'COMPETITOR'S RACE NUMBER' and NAME. Every year we get many bags without names, or numbers, where they either haven't been put on, or have come off, so please make sure they are on and won't come off.
THE FINISH BAG:
For example, the finish bag should contain a towel, a full change of clothing and shoes. The clothing ;IN THE BAG; requires to be in a waterproof e.g. inside a bin liner, incase the bag get's wet.
AGAIN YOUR 'FINISH BAG' MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE 'FINISH', 'COMPETITOR'S NAME' AND 'RACE NUMBER'. Unfortunately, there are no showers at the Scout Hall.
THE SAFETY RUCKSACK:
Is required to be handed in at Registration at Fort William. This will be returned to the competitor at Check Point 5, Beinglas Camp site (54 miles) and is required for safety reasons to be carried the 14miles by competitors to Check Point 6, ROWARDENNAN (68 miles) in case of immobility. At CP 5 when the rucksack is issued, then any bum bags, etc. can be left and these will be transported to the Finish in Milngavie.
RUNNERS ARRIVING AT BEINGLAS BEFORE 21:00hr DO NOT REQUIRE TO CARRY THE SAFETY RUCKSACK, OR ITS ITEMS, AS THEY SHOULD BE IN ROWARDENNAN BEFORE DARK.
The 'Safety Rucksack' requires to have three items of equipment in it, plus room for the other mandatory kit which is required to be carried throughout the race: e.g. waterproof hooded jacket and trousers, hat, gloves, map, compass, whistle, and phone. The THREE Safety Rucksack items are:-
ITEM 1: A minimum 800gram sleeping bag.
ITEM 2: A heavy duty orange type: 'Emergency Survival Bag'.
ITEM 3: A spare torch.
The sleeping bag 'filling' can be hollow fibre, or down and does not need to be waterproof, but should be in a waterproof bag. The only proviso is the sleeping bag MUST WEIGH A MINIMUM 800 gram (total bag weight) e.g. a £10 sleeping bag from Sports Direct, is sufficient as it has 85% heat efficiency due to it being 'hollow fibre,' whereas expensive 'down bags' are only 10% heat efficient when wet, but these can be used if the competitor wishes. Sport's Direct also sell Survival Bags for £4.99. These survival bags weigh 270 grams. A lightweight rucksack weighs in at 350 gms.
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, or if you pull out at night to keep you warm through the night with temperatures down to 2 degrees centigrade. 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 2m and wait until help arrives. ALSO IF YOU PULL OUT DURING THE NIGHT, IN THE COLD AND RAIN, THEN THE SLEEPING BAG IS ESSENTIAL, ask any of the 22 competitors who pulled out during the night in the 2021 race.
AGAIN THE 'SAFETY BAG' MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE 'SAFETY BAG', 'COMPETITOR'S NAME' AND 'RACE NUMBER'.
CHECK POINTS (CP) & WATER POINTS ( WP) TIMINGS and LOCATIONS
CP's Distance (Toilets). Location Grid reference Cut Of Time
START 10:00am The WHW sign at the junction of Glen Nevis Road and the A82(T) road (Grid113742)
WP1 7m At WHW and road junction (Grid 101665)
CP1 14m (T) Kinlochleven on opposite side of road from where WHW joins the B863 road. (Grid183622)
The CP has toilets, IN THE FOOTBALL FIELD BUILDING [ Cut off 15:00hrs ]
CP2 25m (T) Glen Coe Chairlift, at the bottom of the car park (Grid 267527) [ Cut off 20:00hrs ]
CP3 35m (T) Bridge of Orchy Hall, 50m after WHW crosses A82(T) road. (Drop Bag 1) (Grid 298396)
[Cut off 23:00hrs ]
CP4 44m (T) Auchtertyre Camp Site, at hay barn, 50m before bridge (Grid 353290) [Cut off 02:30hrs]
CP5 54m (T) Beinglas Camp Site where WHW enters camp site (Grid 322186) [Cut off 06:00hrs]
WP2 61m Inversnaid Car Park - toilets may be available, if hotel open (Grid 335089) [Cut off 09:30hrs]
CP6 68m (T) Rowardennan Car Park ( at the pier ) Drop Bag 2 (Grid 359986) [Cut off 12:00hrs]
THE 'SAFETY RUCKSACK' CAN BE LEFT AT THIS Check Point.
74m (T) Toilets in Milorrochy car park one mile before Balmaha (Grid 411922)
75m (T) Toilets in main car park at Balmaha at Information Centre (Grid 421910)
75m Drinking water blue fountain pipe, 30 metres from telephone box (Grid 420909)
CP7 83m Drymen at WHW/ A 811, 30metres before road crossing (Grid 482888) [Cut off 17:00hrs]
FINISH 95m MILNGAVIE Scout Hall adjacent to road junction of Main street and Park Road (B8050)
(FINISH BAG) (Grid 554742) [Cut off 21:00hrs plus extended in bad weather]
A waterproof INFORMATION SHEET will be issued to each competitor at Registation with the above information on it, this sheet, it MUST BE RETAINED DURING RACE.
The Information Sheet provide at Registration will show the Check Points information above. ALSO the name/s of those covering the various CPs 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.
All competitors MUST keep this information sheet on their person and waterproofed 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.
The WHW Trail between Kings-house and Bridge of Orchy . 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 and any diversions that may be in place. YOU SHOULD LOOK UP THE ROUTE ON 'Google Maps' or Google Earth (or similar app) prior to the race and make a note of the junctions. Every year numerous people end up going off route and loose time. Good planning increases chances of success. Double check any last minute queries you may have with a race official whilst at Registration.
At the Finish the last thing you will be want after running/walking 95 miles is to get lost at the end of the race in Milngavie trying to find the at the SCOUT HALL, which is at the junction of the A8050 and A8030
Please note your finish time will only be recorded once you cross the line at the WHW Challenge Race finish at the Scout Hall.
REMEMBER and collect your 'FINISH GLASS' and if applicable your 'NAMED KEYRING' and TROPHY at the finish.
COACH TRANSPORTATION FROM MILNGAVIE to FORT WILLIAM
Due to the number of entrants, the race will lay on 49 seat coaches from MILNGAVIE TRAIN STATION to FORT WILLIAM, on Saturday 25th May 2024. A seat must be reserved for £25 prior to race day if seats still available.
EMBARKATION OF THE COACHES WILL BE FROM 06:30am to 06:45am The coach will leave Milngavie Train Station car park SHARP at 06:45am on the Saturday morning so DON'T BE LATE, OR YOU WILL HAVE TO GET A TAXI TO FORT WILLIAM.
The coach will travel to the REGISTRATION, at Inverlochy Village Hall, in Nevis Road, Fort William, the hall is approximately 600m from the Start, the START is at the WHW SIGN at the mini roundabout at the junction of the A82(T) and Glen Nevis Road, in Fort William. The coach will arrive barring road hold-ups, at approximately 09:00am on SATURDAY 25th MAY 2024. The coach should have an available toilet.
'CHECK POINT' RACE PROVISIONS'
CHECK POINTS WILL PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING FOOD and DRINKS of various types at the CP's dependent on the weather.
Water (cold) Sandwiches
Water (hot) Crisps
Diluting juice Sweets
Milk - for tea, coffee. Hot dogs
(other foods and drinks will also be available at selected Check Points)
ALL THE 'CHECK POINTS' HAVE: VEHICLES LOCATED AT THEM
Item at Check Points:
Large first-aid kit
Stove & kettle for heating drinks
A pot for heating solid foods
IN ADDITION TO WHW CHALLENGE RACE SUPPORT FACILITIES - TAKE PLENTY OF MONEY
(please note all details listed below are for information purposes only and they operate independently of the Race Organisers)
IT IS VERY ADVISABLE TO TAKE ALONG A COPY OF THE INFORMATION BELOW FOR USE DURING THE RACE
There are various hotels, shops and restaurants along the WHW route. For example:
KINLOCHLEVEN: CP 1 (14 miles) Toilets available at the C.P. also there is a shop in the village
Kings-house Hotel (23miles): Public toilets are available at the end of the 'bunkhouse' 100m after crossing the bridge. Bar food is available in the hotel. Also a drinking water tap.
GLEN COE CHAIRLIFT car park: CP 2 (25 miles) There are toilets and a cafe.
Inveroran Hotel 33 miles next to WHW trail. Toilets are available if buying a drink.
BRIDGE of ORCHY: CP 3 (35 miles) is at the Village Hall beside the Fire Station. The CP is 50 metres after the WHW trail crosses the busy main trunk road. There is a large hotel at the crossing, which serves food and drinks and is open until 22:00hrs. BE CAREFUL CROSSING THE MAIN TRUNK ROAD AS THE CARS ARE DOING 60 MPH AND THE MOTOR BIKES A GREAT DEAL FASTER AND BY THAT STAGE YOUR LEGS ARE SLOWER. ENSURE NO SUPPORT VEHICLES PARK IN THE CAR PARK IN FRONT OF THE FIRE STATION, THIS PARKING AREA IS FOR THE PART TIME FIRE STAFF ATTENDING THE FIRE STATION IN AN EMERGENCY TO LEAVE THEIR CARS. IF THIS OCCURS THE COMPETITOR WILL BE DISQUALIFIED FOR THIS HAPPENS EVERY YEAR AND HAS TO STOP.
Tyndrum (42 miles) public toilets open 24/7 at South side of main road next to the chipper/take-away (open 07:30hr to 21:00hr), also Green Welly restaurant/cafe and 'Brodies' food shop are in the village.
OCHTERTYRE Camp Site CP 4 (44 miles) Camp Site toilets open on left next to WHW trail at tented area NO SUPPORT PERSONS, OR VEHICLES ARE PERMITTED WITHIN A MILE OF THIS LOCATION, OR THE COMPETITOR WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.
BEINGLAS Camp Site CP 5 (54 miles) Camp Site toilets open, also shop and bar until 22:00hr. NO SUPPORT PERSONS OR VEHICLES ARE PERMITTED PERMITTED WITHIN A MILE OF THIS LOCATION OR THE COMPETITOR WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.
INVERSNAID ( 62 miles) The race will have marshals there with some food and drinks. There is a DRINKING WATER TAP on the wall next to the 'walkers entrance' at the end of the hotel, before going up the steps.
ROWARDENNAN car park CP6 (68 miles) the CP at the pier. Toilets are available. There is a hotel 500m after the Check Point next to the WHW trail.
Milorrochy Car Park [at the 20.5 mile mark on the Harvey's map] is one mile before Balmaha.(76miles) There are very good toilets at the far end of the car park, as you are about to leave the car park. They are in the stone building which is 10 metres to the left of the WHW trail.
Balmaha (77 miles) there are toilets in the Visitors Centre if it is open. Balmaha also has a restaurant, a cafe and a SHOP.
Beech Tree Inn at Drumgoyne at (87.5 miles) bar /restaurant toilets for use of customers.
FINISH is at the Scout Hall in Milngavie. TURN RIGHT at the WHW OBELISK in Milngavie pedestrian precinct, proceed 50 m to the clock, TURN LEFT and precede down Main Street for 150m to the start of the pedestrian underpass, DO NOT go down the underpass, but go to the pavement on the right, past the ice cream shop. Follow the pavement round to the dual carriageway and proceed along the pavement for 150m to the junction traffic lights and cross the busy dual carriageway using the pedestrian crossing, and the Scout Hall is in front of you, a red brick building.
Naturally, the competitor arrival time to these locations will determine if the local hotel, shop etc is still open. The race organisation advice is always carry cash in any ultra race and remember some places don't take cards.
WITHDRAWALS DURING RACE – CONSIDER A 'CONTINGENCY PLAN'
It may mean you may have to wait at a Check Point for a while before being picked up. SO MAKE SURE YOU CARRY SPARE CLOTHING or HAVE IT IN YOUR DROP BAG TO STAY WARM, AS THERE ARE NO 'HALLS' WE CAN TAKE YOU TO. This is where hotels and cafes come in handy, so carry cash during the race.
Will be returned to Milngavie and that is okay if you have a car there, or are going to be picked up, but if you travelling by train, plane or can't be picked up and it is the middle of the night then you should consider whether you either sleep on a park bench, bus shelter, or get a taxi to a hotel that is open 24 hours e.g. the two nearby Premier Inns , Glasgow Airport hotels, or hotels in Glasgow and the taxi's telephone number and cash to get you there. This was one of the main reasons we had to change the direction of the race, as there was no facilities in Fort William during the night, for withdrawing competitors to go to.
The WHW Guide Book suggests the ascent of Ben Nevis should be climbed as part of the West Highland Way. Colin Anderson was the first to do it in the 2018 race, Colin 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 (see picture below of Colin at Trig Point)
Quick summit photo before the descent back to the race finish line. Colin is the first competitor ever to complete a WHW & BEN NEVIS RACE 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.
BEN NEVIS EQUIPMENT TO BE CARRIED.
Competitors must carry the following on the Ben Nevis Climb:
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT:
Waterproof jacket with hood (not Pertex, or other shower proof only garments)
Warm running kit
Yaktrax' style overshoes ( there will still be snow and ice on Ben Nevis in May)
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.
THE WHW CHALLENGE RACE ROUTE and MAP
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.
Competitors are traversing the WHW and Ben Nevis under their own volition, as they have a right to do in Scottish Law. The race officials do not go on the WHW route, but will provide food and drinks in public areas and repatriation if required.
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.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
THERE IS ONE DIVERSION in race: At TYNDRUM where the WHW CROSSES THE A82(T) at BRODIES SHOP, TURN LEFT along to the filling station cross the A82(T) and keep going left down past the 'chipper' and PUBLIC TOILETS, open 24/7. Just past the toilet TURN RIGHT, down the tarred road to the lower station and after 150 metres, TURN LEFT back onto the WHW. (it is also signed). This diversion is to avoid crossing a major river that could be in flood and dangerous.
AT THE ALTERNATE WHW ROUTE LOCATION AT 75 to 79 MILES THE RACE ROUTE The race 'GOES OVER just below the summit of CONIC HILL'
AT THE ALTERNATE WHW ROUTE LOCATION AT 64 to 67 MILES (This is 5 miles before Rowardennan ) THE RACE ROUTE 'GOES THE EAST ROUTE (THE HIGH FOREST ROAD TRAIL) This is an alternative WHW route. Study it on the map as there is a sign pointing the West route at the junction. If you go the Westerly WHW signed route via the loch side you will take an extra 20 minutes. Every year several competitors take the Westerly loch route and are overtaken by those behind, who took the forest road route. There are also WHW signs on the Easterly road route, but they are after the track/road junction for the route divergence. The two routes converge back together 2.5 miles later.