Tel: 07901 684 579 | Email: ian@trailrunningscotland.com

Highland Grand Tour

 

 

Want to discover the very best of the 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.

“If you want a Scottish adventure, the Highland Grand Tour is a must! It will take you through the most epic landscape and with Ian and Laura as guides, it will only leave you wanting more! The pace was adapted so that everyone in the group could enjoy the experience. We could not ask for a better week, truly.” - Christian

Booking

Date Running days Spaces Total price Your guides
16-22 June
Monday - Friday
1 space available
£1350

To register your interest please complete this enquiry form.

If you have any questions, please get in touch by emailing ian@trailrunningscotland.com

Itinerary

Pick up - Perth, 1800 on the night before your first run. Stay in Kirriemuir. 

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. 

View the route

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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.

View the route

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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!

View the route

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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.

View the route

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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!

View the route

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Transfer to Inverness (1hr) and a well earned celebration dinner. Your accommodation is included on this night, allowing you to arrange your onwards transport the following day.

 

Day Distance Ascent
1 21km 740m
2 31km 660m
3 30km 550m
4 26km 1010m
5 37km 1200m
Total 145km 4160m 

 

Experience and fitness

This is our premier trip and involves 5 days of trail running, a total of 145km and 4160m ascent. We will not be racing, and will find a pace that keeps the team together and allows time to enjoy our surroundings.

The main requirement for this trip is a good level of stamina. Being able to do 5 days of mountain walking in a row is a good indicator, along with a good base of steady longer runs up to 30km. All of the running is off-road and some will include rougher trails and muddy sections. Some off-road running technique is essential.

Get in touch with us if you want to find out whether your experience and level of fitness is suitable for this running holiday - or to find out how to build up a good base level of stamina ahead of the Grand Tour!

Whats included?

What’s included?

When you sign up for the Highland Grand Tour, you get all of the following included in the cost

Transport: All in course transport, from a pick-up in Perth on the evening before the first run, to a drop off in Inverness on completion. Baggage transfer each day and a support driver on hand to transfer to start and end of each days trails.

Baggage transfer: We take your bags to and from the trails every day, so all you need to carry is the kit and snacks for your day’s running. 

Accommodation: Six nights accommodation. First and second nights in a hotel then four nights in Hostelling Scotland hostels, in a private room for 2 or 4 people. This includes accommodation on the Friday night in Inverness, allowing you to make your onwards travel plans from Saturday morning. 

Meals: All Breakfasts are included. Simple food for during the day is included.

Guiding: The group will be lead by a highly qualified local guide throughout.

What’s not included?

Evening Meals: Evening meals are not included in the price, but we will arrange to eat together in a local restaurant. 

 

View and download the full information here:

 HIGHLAND GRAND TOUR INFO SHEET JUNE 2024

Kit you will need

Please refer to our guidance on Essential kit for trail running safely.

The Highland Grand Tour week takes us through some of the most remote and wild terrain in Europe and we will have to be prepared to deal with everything that the mountains and the Scottish weather can throw us. Whilst we don’t want to be over burdened it is essential that every member of the team is carrying the correct equipment to deal with the unexpected. To ensure your safety the following kit list is therefore compulsory for each individual. Additional safety equipment will be carried by the guides.

We will be running for 5 days, laundry facilities will be available at times through the week but several changes of kit will be necessary.

On the trail everyone must have: 

Waterproof jacket (with taped or welded seams and a hood)

We recommend:

Montane Spine Waterproof Jacket (for men)
Montane Spine Waterproof Jacket (for women)


Waterproof trousers (with taped or welded seams)

We recommend:

Montane Minimus Waterproof Pants (for men)
Montane Minimus Waterproof Pants (for women)

Running vest

We recommend:

Montane Gecko VP 12+ (unisex)

Spare* synthetic insulated upper layer

*We recommend carrying approximately 300g of synthetically insulated upper layers.

We recommend:
Montane Men's Fireball Lite 360g
Montane Women's Fireball Lite 320g

Hat and gloves suitable for the weather conditions
For cold conditions, we recommend:

Montane Prism Mitt
Montane Via Stretch Beanie

For mild/warm conditions, we recommend: 

Montane VIA Trail Gloves

Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Waterproof Cap (unisex)

Headlamp

We recommend:

Black Diamond SPOT 400-R  

Survival bag 

We recommend:

Lifesystems Light And Dry Thermal Bivi Bag

Whistle

Adequate footwear - Get in touch if you want more advice before the course.

We recommend: 

Inov8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2

Inov8 Roclite G 275   

Food - Enough lunch and snacks to fuel a full day in the mountains

First aid kit 

The guides will be carrying emergency first aid supplies but if you can have a small personal kit with blister pack/compeed and any personal medication.

Midge net.


If you have any questions or need advice about any of the equipment please just ask.

Testimonials

 "If you want a Scottish adventure, the Highland grand tour is a must! It will take you through the most epic landscape and with Ian and Laura as guides it will only leave you wanting more! The pace was adapted so that everyone in the group could enjoy the experience. For the more eager runner you could go on ahead for a bit as the trails are (for the most part) easily navigable. Ian and Laura took care of everything in between the runs, breakfast, transport and dinner. For lunch we had amazing wraps! We even managed to go on a whiskey tasting, see a castle and even the worlds largest hedge!


We could not ask for a better week, truly."

Christian


"I joined Trail Running Scotland for the Classic Scottish Trails trip. The 5 days of running were all superb and it was a great, stress free way of seeing some of Scotlands best bits. Definitely in safe hands with Ian and Laura - full of knowledge, very organised and fun to spend a week with. Couldn't recommend them enough!" Katie


"I was recently on the Highland Grand Tour and can honestly say it was one of the best (active) holidays I have had. Although I’m a fairly experienced trail runner, organising a trip like this demands a huge amount of logistical planning – but all that was taken care of by Ian & co. which meant we could just focus on having fun. Moreover, Ian’s knowledge of the area meant we ran through some outstanding places. Regardless of whether you are an experienced trail runner or a road runner looking to go off road, without having to worry about navigation or safety, I would very highly recommend this trip." Kirsten


"In April I took part in the Highland Grand Tour. The trip took me to some fantastic places in the Highlands, that I would never have thought to go to without the expert knowledge of Ian and Laura. I hadn't previously run these kind of distances for 5 consecutive days, but the great organisation meant there was plenty of time to recover and relax. This meant that I could really enjoy running in some awesome places with a nice bunch of people. I finished the week feeling inspired by the landscape and future trail and mountain running adventures to come. Thank you Trail running Scotland, highly recommended!" Simon


Photo gallery 

Watch the full video

Payment & Cancellation

To secure your place on the tour all we are asking for is a 20% deposit, payable by bank transfer. 
The remaining balance will be due 6 weeks before your course start date.

Cancellation

If you cancel your booking more than 6 weeks before your course start date there is no refund of your deposit. If you cancel within 6 and 2 weeks of your course start date we will refund 50% of the remaining course balance once the deposit is taken.
If you cancel less than 2 weeks from the start of your course we are unable to offer any refund.

Transfers

At any point you may transfer the booking to another suitable person if you cannot attend yourself.
We recommend that you arrange your own travel and cancellation insurance.
Cancellation by Trail Running Scotland
We will endeavour to ensure that your course runs as planned. However, we reserve the right to modify the content of a course due to prevailing weather or other conditions and will always try to offer a suitable alternative itinerary or location.

In the unlikely event of cancellation by Trail Running Scotland a full refund will be offered.

 

Full booking terms can be found on our booking form.

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