The Coast to Coast, Scotland

The Rat Race Coast to Coast is a classic British adventure race, a crossing of Scotland between the North Sea in the east and Glencoe on the Atlantic side. As many as 1500 competitors take part, covering the distance in a single day or over two. The course runs from Nairn, east of Inverness, to Cawdor Castle (7 miles of running) and then south of Loch Ness (49 miles by bike) to Fort Augustus, where the two-day event pauses for the night after a mile-long kayak leg. The course continues with off-road and on-road cycling (35 miles), a mountain run south from Fort William (about 14 miles), which includes a section of the West Highland Way, and then a final mile of kayaking across Loch Leven to the finish at the delightfully-named Ballachulish. There is around 10,000 feet of elevation gain in total and competitors generally take between nine and 14 hours. Beware the stringent cut-off times (if you enter the one-day event) and if you’re unlucky, watch out for appalling weather (this is Scotland, after all).

James Henderson of A Life of Adventure competed in the Coast to Coast 2017 in a team with his son. You can read a more personal take on the race in his eccentric 'Training Journal' here.


The Coast to Coast is organised by Rat Races, who run a series of more than a dozen events around the UK, ranging from kid-friendly obstacle races to ultra-runs and long distance adventure races. See their website at