Thursday, May 23, 2019

Scottish Islands Peaks Race Preview

Scottish Peaks Race
(Oban, Scotland)- This adventure race is for teams of sailors and “fell” runners (both youth and adult) and is held annually around the most beautiful parts of the west coast of Scotland.

Scottish Peaks Race courseThe race starts in Oban (northwest of Glasgow) with a short hill run, and then the teams sail to Salen on the Isle of Mull, about 20.0nm south. After a run over Ben More on Mull, back to the boats and a sail to Craighouse on the Isle of Jura, about 45.0nm further south. After running the Paps, back aboard for the longest sail to the Isle of Arran, about 82.0nm to the south, then east. The last run is around the Goat Fell, then a short sail east over to Troon, about 17.0nm. The race takes 3 to 4 days in total. The sailing part is about 165.0nm, the running part covers about 60.0 miles and 11,500 feet of climbing.

Each team consists of five (usually 2 runners and 3 sailors), and there is also an All-Rounders class for sailors that can run or runners that can sail, and a class for Youth (with the assistance of a few adults).

The race has several objectives:

  • one is to encourage sailors to appreciate fell running, for runners to appreciate sailing, and for both to enjoy what must be some of the best sailing and hill running in the world.
  • another is to help to build the self-confidence of the youngsters sailing in the Youth Teams.
  • Yet another is to raise funds for various good causes; but
  • the main objective is to provide a challenging experience to sailors and runners who may be too busy to devote weeks to sailing the Atlantic or trekking in Tibet, but who still relish overcoming a challenge which is well beyond those normally encountered in our modern well-insulated lives.
The race is intended to be challenging and competitors need to be well prepared, fit and experienced to complete this course successfully. Senior Runners must be experienced in the hills and all carry specified survival gear. Yachts must have comprehensive safety gear including flares, VHF radio and engines (for emergency use and when the runners are off the boat). Oars and other muscle-powered devices are permitted for use in calms (e.g. think of the American version called the “Race to Alaska”).

Many teams return year after year for their annual battle against the elements over one of the most beautiful running and sailing courses in the world. Perhaps, part of its charm is that every year brings its own memorable scenes, whether it is getting ahead of your nearest rival by means of a ‘cunning plan’, racing neck and neck with another team under spinnaker, gliding quietly through the water as dawn breaks, or encountering numerous whales and dolphins. The mountains offer a wide variety of challenging terrain and the sailing is equally varied so that, coupled with un-rivaled views of mountains and sea, so that each year brings a totally unique team experience for everyone.

Although the race can be extremely competitive, for most people, it is not the thought of winning that brings them, but simply the pleasure of sailing and running in the company of a great crowd of like-minded people. We all love the hills and seas of the Scottish West Coast and the race is just an excuse for the annual jamboree when we can celebrate our good fortune at being able to experience this great adventure in these wonderful surroundings and in such good company.

The sole J/crew this year will be a Youth Team on the J/110 BLUE BIRD owned by Iain Loudon. The FETTES CHOCOLATES Company is their sponsor. The crew consists of Laurie Mill, Ben Rushton, Maggie Rait, Duncan Harrison, Ellie Marks, Fiona Rees, Louisa Letts, James Mackman, Hector Tomlyn, and Murray Wilson. They will collectively be taking on thirty-nine other teams in the event!  For more Scottish Islands Peaks Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.