Rat Race – Coast to Coast

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Rat Race – Coast to Coast
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An absolutely epic challenge that is not for the faint hearted. Traverse your way across some of the most gruelling, breath-taking and mysterious highlands in Scotland. You will run, trek, cycle and kayak your way over 105 miles from coast to coast.
105 Miles
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Sat, 11 Sept 2021
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Cawdor, United Kingdom
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Where and when
Cawdor Castle and Gardens, B9090, Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD, UK
Start times
Saturday, 11 Sept 2021
105 Miles: TBC
Event summary
Here are the distances available for Rat Race – Coast to Coast
105 Miles
Route information
Traversing forest, trails and lakes, competitors should underestimate that physical test this event represents. This is an extremely hilly route, often entirely at the mercy of weather conditions - especially what can be relatively high winds.
This event takes place on ‘Live’ public roads, private roads, and shared access trails. There are no closed roads. Always exercise caution.
Average finishing times is 12 hours on the one day Expert, and 14 on the Challenge, split over the 2 days. A good level of fitness is absolutely necessary for this, as is a decent nutrition strategy to keep you going throughout. The route will be clearly signed, with professional safety teams operating throughout. With the the right planning, the route is more than achievable.
Do not receive support from friends & family spectating en route. You may use the public facilities immediately en route but do not deviate from the route to seek these. Come prepared.
Bike Transition Areas will be fenced, and you will be able to get your bike out ONLY if you have your security wristband attached to your wrist.
We will provide you with a safety procedure to follow in case of emergency.
Dogs are not allowed at Challenger Fort Augustus Campsite unless they are on a lead, cleaned up after, and do not disturb participants sleep.
We recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury and non-attendance. Rat Race accepts no responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance.
  • Trek/Run – 7 miles
  • Road Cycle – 48 miles
  • Optional Mini Run and Kayak (Challengers only) – 1/2 mile
  • Off Road Cycle – 21 miles
  • Road Cycle – 13.5 miles
  • Trek/Run – 14 miles
  • Flat Water Kayak – 1 mile
Organiser route images
What's included
  • Finishers Medal
  • Rat Race T-shirt upon completion.
  • Free Finisher's Photo
  • Satellite Tracking
  • Free Bike Transfer From Last Transition to Finish
  • Provision of Kayaks, Buoyancy Aids and Paddles
  • Pitstop Bar and Water at the finish
  • Fully waymarked route
  • Free hot soup at the finish
  • Bike compounds throughout
  • Option to book half-way challenger camping
  • Free bag transfers
  • Paramedic, mountain and water safety support
How to get there
Cawdor Castle and Gardens, B9090, Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD, UK
Get full directionsExternalLink
Getting There
To the Registration location: Cawdor Castle, IV12 5RD
From Nairn A96: From Academy Street, at the west end of Nairn, turn left on to Waverley Road then right on to Cawdor Road. After 2 miles turn right onto the B9090 to Cawdor Village (3 miles), then follow the signs to the castle.
There will be a shuttle bus in operation on FRIDAY ONLY that will travel between Cawdor Castle and Nairn Links from 14:00 – 22:00. This is for people only, bikes will not be transported. You should ride your bike to Cawdor from Nairn if you are not travelling direct to Cawdor.
To the Start – Nairn Links, Nairn
Start location: Nairn Links, IV12 4NQ
By Car – Nairn is on the A96 Inverness to Aberdeen road, 16 miles east of Inverness. The journey between Inverness & Nairn takes approx. 30minutes.
By Bus – There is a regular bus service linking Nairn to Inverness, Aberdeen and Inverness Airport. Full Timetable at www.moray.gov.ukExternalLink
By Plane – The nearest airport is Inverness just 9 miles west of Nairn
By Rail – Nairn is well serviced with regular trains from Inverness. For full details including connections, costs and timetables visit www.scotrail.co.ukExternalLink
To the Finish – Isles of Glencoe Hotel, Ballachulish PH49 4HL
By Car – Ballachulish is just off the A82 Glasgow to Fort William road, approx. 15miles south of Fort William.
By Bus – Ballachulish is served by Citylink bus routes; Glasgow – Skye and Inverness – Oban. Full info at www.citylink.co.ukExternalLink. There is also a local bus service linking Ballachulish with Fort William, more info at www.stagecoach.co.ukExternalLink. Check full terms and conditions of bike carriage with your chosen operator.
By Plane – The nearest major airport is in Glasgow some 92 miles away or Inverness 80 miles away.
By Rail – The nearest train station is Fort William. For timetable information www.scotrail.co.ukExternalLink
Car Parking (start and finish)
The Start, Nairn –You can park your car on the streets of Nairn for free and there are plenty of pay and display car parks in the town. Please avoid Cumming Street, as we need access for large vehicles that will transport participant baggage.
Fort Augustus Challenger Campsite and Kayaking venues – Due to our recent change of venue we can now offer overnight supporter parking in a neighbouring field that we have hired next to our campsite venue – charges will apply. Vehicle access to the camping area is strictly restricted except for those who have bought specific “Park and Pitch” and campervan overnight packages and will be issued with a Camping Vehicle Pass. You can view these packages here. Camping Vehicle Passes must be collected from Event Registration at Cawdor Castle on Friday and will be available in the bill-payers name. This Camping Vehicle Pass will need to be shown at the camping vehicle entrance to the camping venue. Once vehicles have entered the campsite they will be unable to leave until the participants have left on Sunday morning. All parking at this venue will be on grass. The camping venue is also the venue for the optional kayaking stage.
The Finish, Isles of Glencoe Hotel – There is limited parking space immediately at the finish area with marshals parking cars on a first-come-first-served basis. Please be patient. Alternatively, you can park within Ballachulish village which is a short walk from the Isles of Glencoe Hotel and nearer to the bike and bag collection area.
Note: For those of you who are arriving at Isles of Glencoe Hotel to use the pre-booked Friday bus transfer from Isles of Glencoe to Nairn (via Cawdor), you will be parked in a car park close to the hotel. Please note this parking is on a grass field. On arrival please follow the signage. You should ensure that no valuables are visible in your car, and parking here is at your own risk, as it will not be guarded.
Event day logistics
Registration for all participants is at Cawdor Castle, IV12 5RD and is adjacent the bike drop compound. This will be confirmed for 2020 at a later date. Participants will only be able to register on the FRIDAY before the event. You will NOT be able to register ‘on-the-day’ of the event.
At registration you will be required to show us a minimum of the following to receive your race pack:
  • Waterproof jacket with TAPED seams
  • A working Headtorch
  • Survival bag (NOT blanket)
  • A First Aid Kit including a triangular or conformable roller bandage and a separate sterile absorbent material (e.g. gauze or gauze bandage)
1200 – Bus leaves Isles of Glencoe Hotel to Nairn via Cawdor Event Registration and Transition*
1400 – Nairn to Cawdor Shuttle bus starts
1400 – Registration and bike drop at Cawdor Castle OPEN
2200 – Registration closes
2230 – Bike drop at Cawdor Castle closes
2230 – Cawdor Castle Transition CLOSED
2230 – Cawdor to Nairn Shuttle bus finishes
0600 – Bag drop opens at the start line
0630 – Entry to the start corral
0645 – EXPERT START from Nairn Links
0930 – 1st Expert expected in Fort Augustus
1430 – 1st Expert finisher expected at Finish, Isles of Glencoe Hotel
1600 – Expert CUT OFF at Fort William – No departure after 1600
1930 – Expert CUT OFF at Final Kayak Stage – No departure after 1930
2000 – Expert category Course CLOSED
2100 – Buses leave From Isles of Glencoe to Nairn*
1000 – Buses leave From Isles of Glencoe to Nairn*
*Buses are only for those who pre-booked before the event weekend
1200 – Bus leaves Isles of Glencoe Hotel to Nairn via Cawdor Event Registration and Transition*
1400 – Nairn Links to Cawdor Shuttle bus starts
1400 – Registration for all categories and bike drop at Cawdor Castle all OPEN
2200 – Registration for all categories closes
2230 – Bike drop at Cawdor Castle closes
2230 – Cawdor Castle Transition CLOSED
2230 – Cawdor to Nairn Shuttle bus finishes
0730 – Bag drop opens at start line at NAIRN LINKS
0830 – CHALLENGER Wave 1 start from Nairn Links
0900 – CHALLENGER Wave 2 start from Nairn Links
0915 – Bag drop at the start line closes
0930 – CHALLENGER Wave 3 start from Nairn Links
1200 – 1st Challenger Finisher expected at Day 1 Finish, Fort Augustus Transition
1800 – Fort Augustus Challenger Kayak CLOSED
2100 – Food concessions CLOSED
0600 – Breakfast service opens
0600 – Fort Augustus Bike Compound opens
0600 – Fort Augustus Transition Bag Drop opens
0730 – 1st Challenger leaves from Fort Augustus Transition (slower participants from Day 1 must start early to have chance to complete the course)
0815 – Fort Augustus Transition Bag Drop closes
0830– Breakfast service closes
0900 – Last Challenger Leaves from Fort Augustus Transition (If you were slow on Day 1, do not start this late)
1200 – 1st Challenger expected at Finish, Isles of Glencoe Hotel
1200 – Bag collection available at Finish, Isles of Glencoe Hotel
1430 – Challenger CUT OFF at Fort William. – No departure after 1430
1600 – Fort William Bike Transition CLOSES
1800 – Challenger CUT OFF at Final Kayak Stage – No departure after 1800
1830 – Last Challenger expected at Finish, Isles of Glencoe Hotel
1900 – Challenger Course CLOSED
2000 – Bag and bike collection at Finish, Isles of Glencoe Hotel, CLOSED
2000 – Buses leave from Isles of Glencoe to Nairn.*
1000 – Buses leave From Isles of Glencoe to Nairn*
*Buses are only for those who pre-booked before the event weekend. Bus passenger bikes are moved directly from Fort William to Nairn. No bikes will be transported on the buses.
Not for the faint hearted. The one-day challenge is a mammoth undertaking. Especially if the prevailing wind tries to blow you back to the start line. Bike selection and your nutrition plan are very important to give you the best chance of completion. Our cut offs are fixed and mandatory kit is key. You will be taking on a very challenging mountain run after a draining cycle ride, not to mention the kayaking. Successful finishing times on the one Day Expert class range from 8 hours 19 minutes in calm conditions to 13 hours 32 minutes in heavy weather.
Most participants take on the Coast to Coast challenge over two days and join us overnight to camp at Fort Augustus. Breaking up the challenge makes this more achievable and allows you to enjoy a cracking weekend out with some mates. Don’t forget to get your camping passes in advance of the event, which you can buy here.
THE FINISH - The Isles of Glencoe Hotel
The finish for the event is on the lawn of the hotel so grabbing a room here is the perfect way to finish the event for many of you coast to coasters. Booking of rooms is directly with the hotel. This allows the hotel to concentrate on your accommodation needs while Rat Race focus on helping you get there by foot, bike and kayak. Please contact the hotel directly on 01764 651843 to secure your room. You will need to know the username you created when entering the event. This is to ensure the hotel is kept just for event entrants.
Spectator Info
Family and friends can spectate. There is no reason for the spectating family and friends to rush or speed when driving.
Do I need to provide my own kayak?
No, kayaks are provided for you.
Do I need to provide my own bike?
Yes, you must provide your bike. Bikes can be hired British Bike Hire if you do not have your own.
Is there a minimum age requirement to take part?
Yes, participants must be at least 18 years old to take part.
What is the difference between entering as a solo or as a pair?
The event is the same for solos and pairs but we feel that Scotland Coast to Coast is such a cracking weekend away with a mate that we encourage you to buddy up and earn a discount for making the 2 entries.
Do I need to provide a bike for the event?
Yes, you do need to provide your own bike. You can bring your own, hire one locally to you and bring it along, or arrange hire from our hire provider; British Bike Hire. Give them a call or drop them an email, mention ‘Coast To Coast’ and make your booking: Tel. 0800 689 3527 – email info@britishbikehire.co.
ukDo I need to provide a kayak for the event?
No. We will provide the kayaks which are sit on tops and stable. We also provide water safety from local professionals. Please note that kayaking is done in pairs, though those at the front of the field can go solo if they arrive alone.
What happens to my bike at the end of the event?
You will drop your bike for the final time at the Fort William transition area during the event. From here, we will transport bikes to the finish line at the Isles of Glencoe Hotel, using trucks or trailers. The bikes will then be available for you to pick up at the Isles of Glencoe Hotel after you have finished. Exact times for arrival of the bikes at Glencoe cannot be given. You can also give your bike to a supporter at the Fort William transition area. If you choose to book a bus back to the start in Nairn, we will move your bike directly there from the Fort William transition area.
What kind of bike should I choose?
Whether you are entering the Challenger or the Expert category, you will use the same bike throughout the event. The perfect bike for this event is a cyclocross bike or a gravel bike. You can complete it on a mountain bike and for Challengers this is a viable option, but Experts will struggle to get through the road riding miles within the cut offs. Road bikes are not recommended although they would be possible to use if you add appropriate tyres, good pressures and a dose of skill. The bike choice is a talking point of this event; that’s for sure. We do not allow you to switch types of bike along the route as we want both categories to be as pure as possible; this also helps not to encourage support from others en route, outside of the designed transition areas. It is possible for Challengers to swap tyres at leisure at the Fort Augustus overnight location as you could pack these into your luggage allowance. It is also possible for Experts to swap tyres at Fort Augustus but you would need to carry these tyres in your own pack, and of course the time to swap them would be in your ‘running’ time. Therefore this latter option will have hardly any takers!
How hard is it really?
Coast to Coast is a tough event. You’ll be taking on a hilly journey that is heavily impacted by weather conditions. You’ll be running, kayaking and more importantly riding into the prevailing wind, so the chances are you’ll find the riding sections tougher than your usual ride out. That being said, when the sun shines you will see the most fantastic views imaginable!The average finishing time for Experts is 12 hours and it’s 14 (over two days) for the Challengers. You need to be fit and you need to be able to keep your energy levels up with a solid nutrition plan to be able to make this journey. If you put in some training time and arrive kitted out and prepared then this challenge is achievable, but it should not be underestimated.
Can I change who is running?
Solo entries are not transferable – you can’t give or sell your entry to anyone else. If you no longer wish to take part you can obtain an event credit to the value of your entry fee paid (terms and a fee apply) which you or another person can use towards next year’s event (or any other Rat Race event). If you have purchased a pairs entry, you can add or change team members up to 10 days before the event.If I am entered into the Challenger class,
do I HAVE TO camp at Fort Augustus?
You don’t have to camp. We have provided a camping service which will have a great atmosphere with loads of Coast to Coast Challengers bedding down for the night, but should you wish to bag something a bit cosier in Fort Augustus or close by, that is fine. Any arrangement/ booking you make with a local hotel are at your own responsibility.
Can I get a refund if I'm not able to race?
No, regrettably we are unable to provide refunds once you are registered in the race. We do however offer transfer vouchers to put your credit to a different event if this is of interest. Visit the Rat Race website for more information.
What age must I to be to take part?
As this is an extremely challenging race,
participants must be at least 18 years old on the day to competeWhat type of bike is best?
You'll be using the same bike for the whole event. We recommend using a cyclocross or gravel bike to suit the terrain. You can use a mountain bike, but those participating in the Experts category will find it very difficult to make the cutoffs in time, as you will definitely be slower.
Are the kayaks provided?
Yes, we'll provide kayaks for you to use.
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