Arriving in Glen Torridon for the first time is an unforgettable experience. As you round the bend at the head of the glen you are struck by the sight of Liathach rising over a kilometre in height above the sea with it’s steep rocky flanks and jagged summit ridges. These mountains look more like what you would expect to find in the Rockies or Alps than Scotland. At first the idea of running in this terrain seems foolish, but what you soon discover is the incredible network of trails that span the high mountains like a web, weaving around the high ground and linking together the cols and glens in a network that is crying out to be explored. The rocky nature of the ground means that for the most part, these narrow single track trails give a perfect running surface and in places include large areas of exposed sandstone slabs.
This range of trails mean that we can adapt our itinerary to suit the group and weather conditions, so no two Torridon Explorer courses will ever be the same. We have two options for course length, our 'Long route' or 'Short route'.
As a guide here is a sample weekend course;
Day 1 Coulin forest and Coire Lair to Annat
27km 900m ascent, highest point 650m
Leaving Glen Torridon we head south into the Coulin estate on a well made road for a couple of kilometres before taking the single track path along the side of Loch Coulin. Leaving the estate we head west, gently climbing on a delightful winding trail aiming for the heart of the mountains. We will stop in Core Lair to wonder at the forces of nature that have crated huge wave patterns in the rock walls before arriving at our high point for the day.
From here the fun really begins, with 7km of the best flowing trail you will find anywhere in the mountains. A gentle descent angle, never too steep, allows you to open up and play with the many twists turns, steps and rock slabs as we drop down to the sea.
Day 2 Beinn Damh circuit
23km 630m ascent, highest point 440 meters
A circular route that has a little bit of everything. This route starts in ancient pine forest with easy running on estate tracks along the loch shore. Once we are warmed up we head inland, joining the rough path that is squeezed between Loch Damh and the steep mountainside. This might mean wet feet in places but it is worth it as we rise gently on a grassy path to the head of Coire Roill. Another superb descent, this one is slightly more of a technical challenge. Not steep but with a bit more care needed to negotiate the rocky path and small drops. We will need to take a break here and enjoy the view around us, with high mountains on either side and the sea ahead. Saving the best for last we drop down a rollercoaster trail of perfect forest to pop out back at the start.
Day 1 Liathach circuit
12km 320m ascent, highest point 400 meters
This route starts with a steady climb from the road on the well made path heading into the heart of the Torridon munros, curving through the glen between the imposing walls of Liathach and Beinn Eighe. The high point of the day is quickly reached but don't be fooled, the undulating path through the glen crosses a large area of glacial moraine humps, keeping us on our toes, before easing to a lovely smooth path at a perfect gradient to cruise towards the sea.
Day 2 Ling hut to Annat
14km 560m ascent, highest point 550
A shorter option than our 'long route' course, but this trail still packs a punch. Leaving the glen behind we follow a snaking single track path that climbs up towards the high mountain passes to the south. Never steep for long this will be a mix of a walk and a run, with a few pauses to see the waterfalls and the changing mountain views. Once at our high point we link two mountain passes on a historic stalkers trail. This is rocky in places so we will share some tips for smooth descending that you can put into practice on the sweeping descent towards Loch Torridon at Annat.
This two day package does not include accommodation or meals, allowing you the flexibility to choose your own. All guiding is included. The nature of trails in Torridon means that we are likely to do point-to point runs so you may need you own transport.
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The terrain in Torridon is spectacular but rough so some experience of off-road running on rocky ground is essential.
On both routes this trip is all about the adventure and we will find a pace that keeps the team together and allows time to enjoy our surroundings. The weekend will be two journeys through the mountains, with some nice running mixed with short steeper walking sections.
A good level of mountain walking fitness along with a base of off road running experience will help you to get the most out of the weekend.
For the long route you should be comfortable running a steady 25km.
For the short route you should be comfortable running a steady 15km.
If you have any questions about your fitness please get in touch to discuss your options.
We will be aiming for 2 full days of trail running so 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.
2 tops - 1 thin thermal top and a long sleeved warmer layer, fleece or similar
Long trousers - Running tights to be carried if running in shorts
Adequate footwear - Fell shoes or trail shoes only
Waterproofs - Jacket with long sleeves and hood and waterproof or pertex overtrousers
Survival bag - lightweight survival bag, Blizzard blanket recommended
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.
If you have any questions or need advice about any of the equipment please just ask.
We will meet at the Torridon Inn on Saturday morning.
Torridon is not well served by public transport, so if you are struggling to arrange something please get in touch to discuss options.
We will meet on both mornings at 10am. Depending on the route we would expect the long route to finish around 2 or 3 pm, the short route by 1pm.
Torridon has a wide variety of accommodation options. This local website has all the information stevecarter.com
We recommend Hostelling Scotland where you can get a 10% discount by using the code TRAILRUN