Skyline Scotland 2017 – Glen Coe Skyline Extreme plus VK, SKY and ULTRA

The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline series of races are upon us – a stunning weekend of Skyrunning! From the short, sharp and brutal VK in the VK World Circuit, to the long, demanding and challenging ultra – this weekend will be the pinnacle event of racing in the UK in 2017 and sees three events in the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series

With the exception of World Championship events or the Olympics, the Glen Coe Skyline events will without doubt have the greatest elite field ever assembled on UK soil of sky, trail and mountain runners. It’s a who’s who of the Skyrunning world with the best all assembled in one place in what will be an absolutely incredible weekend of racing.

Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg, Max King, Caroline Chaverot, Laura Orgue, Jan Margarit, Maite Maiora, Ragna Debats, Alexis Sevennec, Andy Wacker, Pascal Egli, Bhim Gurung, Mira Rai and so many more will head to Scotland.

The highlight event is without doubt the brutal, demanding, challenging and yes, dangerous, Glen Coe Skyline Extreme Race™ which will see 264 vetted runners take on what has become one of the most challenging events in the world. It’s up there with Tromso SkyRace and the iconic Trofeo Kima. Following in the finest tradition of the most prestigious Skyrunning races the race fuses mountain running and alpinism, the extreme race is a pure test of speed, endurance and skill on an uncompromising, world-class course. At 55km with 4,750m of vertical gain, this race personifies Skyrunning, it includes the most challenging Scottish mountain terrain with a traverse of the Aonach Eagach ridge.

Ok, take a breath! Kilian Jornet will race on UK soil and on a course that it is fair to say, exactly his thing! It’s technical, pure Skyrunning, offers an incredible technical challenge – all things the Catalan loves. KJ needs no introduction to anyone, he just placed 2nd at UTMB, he won Sierre-Zinal and he summited Everest twice in one week and he won Hardrock 100 single-handedly, and that is just 2017. To see Jornet race this course in the UK is a dream come true.

But Jornet will have his hands full with Tromso SkyRace winner and GlenCoe Skyline 2016 champion, Jon Albon. Importantly, Albon is tied on SWS points with Nepalese runner Bhim Gurung. These two will have a race within a race, the first past the line will be the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series champion for 2017.

Let’s not also forget that Tom Owens is running! Add to the mix USA legend Max King and world class competition – Hector Haines, Andre Jonsson, Cody Lind, Martin Gaffuri, Pere Aurell, Rolf Einar Jensen, Roger Vinas, Konrad Rawlik and the UK’s Oli Johnson – we have the most exciting race ever on UK soil!

For the ladies, Emelie Forsberg is back to a race that she loves! This race has figured highly on Forsberg’s calendar and she has meticulously prepared in 2017 by slowly coming back to racing after knee surgery in 2016.

Ragna Debats will push Forsberg every step of the way. The lady from the flatlands of the Netherlands is having a stunning year and recently won at the RUT in the USA and placed 2nd at Tromso SkyRace. Caroline Chaverot was unstoppable in 2016, won Hardrock 100 earlier this year but recently withdrew from UTMB after winning in 2016. If she is recovered and fit, she will be a contender for sure, however, the technical terrain will be a challenge.

Other top contenders will be Megan Kimmel from the USA who was unstoppable early season. Malene Bikken Haukoy, Ekaterina Mityaeva, Katie Schide, Kimberly Storm, Natalia Tomasiak, Martina Valmassoi, Zuzana Urbancova, Kelly Wolf, Ann-Marie Madden and the UK’s Beth Pascall.

The weekend kicks off with the Salomon Mamores VK™, an incredible leg burning and lung-busting ascent from sea level to a Munro summit. It is also iconic as it is the UK’s only Vertical Kilometer®. Following the well-established ISF (International Skyrunning Federation( ‘VK’ format, 298 participants will follow a marked course climbing 1000m of vertical gain in less than 5km’s. Departing at timed intervals, it’s like an epic stage of the Tour de France as runners push their limits – the fastest overall time to the summit is the winner!

Stian Angermund-Vik heads up a world-class field for the men and Laura Orgue heads up the ladies’ race. Also watch out for Jan Margarit, Alexis Sevennec, Andy Wacker and Ondrej Fejfar in the men’s race.

Saturday brings us the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace™ which is a pure ‘classic’ following in the tradition of Zegama-Aizkorri and the Dolomites SkyRace. It consists of uncompromising mountain running with scrambling along mountain ridges. Traversing ridges are followed by technical ascents and descents, it’s a challenging race to push the most experienced Skyrunner to the limit. The Devil’s Ridge provides a thrilling and airy traverse with Glen Nevis visible ahead, and in total four peaks will be summited.

Last year, in its inaugural event, the race was won by Stian Angermund-Vik and he returns to do battle again! He is going to have a battle on his hands with Skyrunning legend Marco De Gasperi coming to race on UK soil along with Pascal Egli, Jan Margarit, Kiril Nikolov, the Casal Mir brothers of Oscar and Marc, Rok Bratina, Andy Wacker and the UK’s Jayson Cavill and Ben Hukins. It is set to be an epic battle. Egli, Angermund-Vik, De Gasperi and Margarit have all been on fire in 2017 and to see them go head-to-head on Scottish soil will be amazing.

 Laura Orgue heads up the ladies’ race but she also will have a fight on her hands. Laura recently won the RUT VK and SkyRace so comes to Scotland with great form. Maite Maiora though has been unstoppable in 2017 with victories across the Skyrunning calendar, just recently she placed 2nd at CCC. Sheila Aviles is a likely podium contender and yes, maybe even winner after a strong performance at Comapedrossa. Also watch Oihana Azkorbebeitia, Katrine Vilumsen and Laura Sola.

The Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ uses remote runnable tracks, technical single track, and airy trackless ridges, the highlight and highpoint coming with a climb and traverse via the Carn Mor Dearg Arete, leading to the summit of Ben Nevis. This is one seriously tough race, especially when one considers the demanding 120km course and 4000m + of vertical gain! Starting from the southern shore of the world-famous Loch Ness, the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra™ follows a route through remote Scottish Highland Glens, before finishing at the Skyline Scotland™ Event Centre in Kinlochleven.

Dmitry Mityaev heads up the men’s race and he will have a fight on his hand with local runner, Donnie Campbell. Lakeland 100 winner and 8th place at the 2017 CCC, Michael Jones, will also be one to watch. Csaba Nemeth and Nuno Silva add to an incredibly stacked male field.

For the ladies, Nepalese sensation Mira Rai will be a strong favourite, however, the ever-present and indestructible Andrea Huser will toe the line after recently placing 2nd at UTMB. This is going to be an epic battle! Also keep an eye on the USA’s Kristina Pattison and local lady, Rachel Campbell.

Skyrunning UK was created four years ago with the dream of bringing the best-of-the-best to UK soil, this weekend, that dream becomes a reality. I for one cannot wait!

The Cape Wrath Ultra™ 2016 – Day 5

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A chilly wind and cloud greeted the runners for the first couple of hours of day 5, don’t worry, it didn’t last long and what followed was blue skies and white fluffy clouds… why do people say the weather is ‘always’ bad in Scotland?

In all honesty, the 2016 Cape Wrath Ultra really has hit a purple patch of weather, not only providing the runners with stunning clear views (easier navigation), but wonderful sunshine tempered by just a subtle breeze. This race would be very different with inclement weather and clag – very different!

27 miles faced the runners today and a moderate 1400m of climbing. Departing from Kinlochewe between 0700-0900 double-track roads and relatively little elevation took the runners to the Fisherfield mountains and one of the most impressive views on Scotland (apparently). From the Fisherfield Mountain, and  corner of Lochn Fada, the views off to the distance are impressive. An early incentive to tick off the miles.

From here it was long trek to CP1 through Bealach Nan Croise and the mountains of Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Coire Mhic Fearchair and Sgurr Bann made for a stunning backdrop. On the final stretch of the day while heading to Inverdael, Loch Broom loomed the left and Ullapool could be seen in the distance. It was an impressive day, once again!

Overall standings did not change and in all honesty, the finishing format (at least at the front) has little variation – I wonder, will someone blow up? Have a bad day? Go of course?

The level of consistency (for all runners) is quite impressive, it really takes some tenacity, grit and determination to bang out these distances day-after-day.

Marcus Scotney and Ita Emanuela Marzotto, once again were the male and female 1st placed runners on the day, that is 5 out of 5 for Scotney, and their times were equally impressive, 4:08:45 and 6:24:09. I have to say, Scotney looks like he has another gear spare should he need it – I don’t think he will!

Thomas Adams again played bridesmaid in 4:36:01 and Stuart Macdonald today pipped Pavel Paloncy to 3rd place on the stage, 5:02:33 to 5:07:43.

Louise Staples and Laura Watson finished 2nd and 3rd in the lades race, 6:42:21and 6:48:37 respectively.

The multiple days, accumulative distance, fatigue and tired, sore bodies are now looking to the end in Cape Wrath. With 3-days to go it is in sight BUT tomorrow is a big day and unfortunately some won’t make it! The ice cream at the end of day 5 will have helped though.

Overall standings after day-5

  1. Marcus Scotney 25:12:43
  2. Thomas Adams 26:34:51
  3. Pavel Paloncy 30:15:06
  1. Ita Manuela Mariotto 38:08:00
  2. Laura Watson 39:25:09
  3. Louise Staples 39:47:05

Follow the race via the Cape Wrath Ultra website http://www.capewrathultra.com

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The Cape Wrath Ultra™ 2016 – Day 3

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A ‘runnable’ day played into Marcus Scotney’s hands and pulling of a three-in-three stage win he once again consolidated his overall lead by another 20+ minutes for convincing lead overall. For the ladies, Laura Watson today took a stage victory by just over 1-minute from overall ladies race leader, Ita Manuela Mariotto.

At 68km long, it was a long and tough day, considerably coming on the back of a tough day 2. Although considered a course that would allow more running, the 2400m of ascent added to the difficulty. Unfortunately, the day didn’t start well for a couple of runners, Darren Grigas and Peter Fairhurst who made a huge navigational error and went completely off course and causing a minor concern from the safety team – a message was sent to the runners informing them that they were off course and to take evasive action. Unfortunately they missed the cut-off time at CP1 and therefore were withdrawn from the race in a competitive nature. It was a huge blow for both runners, particularly Peter who was in a top-position.

At the time of writing (21:30) just 49 runners had completed the day 3 course with 13 confirmed additional confirmed dnf and the remaining 32 fighting the cut-off times for a finish.

Departing Kinloch Hourn between 0700-0900, most runners maximised the additional time and left as close to 0700 as possible in an attempt to make Acanshellach before 2300 hours.

The sun was out, the skies were blue and white fluffy clouds occasionally offered some cover from the heat of the day but it was a tough day and only Scotney (7:49:09) and Mariotto (11:56:24) made the day look easy. For the remaining runners it was a day of struggle and survival. Thomas Adams (8:11:29) remained consistent running 2nd (once again) but Pavel Paloncy (10:00:58) seemed to struggle today and looked to be fighting the terrain, he finished the stage 5th over 1hr and 10min behind Scotney. Ian White (9:31:22) ran another good stage and today finished 3rd.

Ita Manuela Mariotto and Louise Staples ran a consistent day 3 and consolidated their respective overall top-3 places with11:56:24 and 12:18:38.

Stage 4 is a arguably a recovery day at 22-miles finishing in the town of Kinlochewe.

Overall standings after day-3 

  1. Marcus Scotney 16:58:06
  2. Thomas Adams 17:36:28
  3. Pavel Paloncy 20:24:51
  1. Ita Manuela Mariotto 25:29:00
  2. Laura Watson 25:54:06
  3. Louise Staples 26:30:40

Follow Cape Wrath Ultra LIVE http://www.capewrathultra.com

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Cape Wrath Ultra™ 2016 Preview

CapeWrathUltralogoThe Cape Wrath Ultra™ brought to you by Ourea Events, the team who revived the Dragon’s Back Race are in the countdown days to a once in a lifetime multi-day journey that will test mind and body over 8-days weaving a 400km journey through the Highlands of Scotland.

Starting at Fort William on May 22nd, the race will take runners on an incredible journey in a magnificent and remote part of the world that will culminate in the most northwesterly point of the British Isles, Cape Wrath on May 29th.

Cape Wrath Ultra website HERE

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Stunning scenery, remote wilderness, beautiful lochs, glens, towering mountains and the crashing ocean, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ is arguably one of the most stunning multi-day journeys in the world.

A supported expedition, equipment for the competitor’s will be transported day-by-day, tented accommodation and meals will be provided.

In a nutshell, 400km (250-miles) over and through the Scottish Highlands will be the ultimate test for the runners as they navigate via map and compass (GPS are allowed with GPX routes provided by Ourea Events) over 8-days over multiple distances with a variety of terrain and elevation gain. Shane Ohly, race director for the race says:

“The route is not marked in any way and participants must use the event map and/or GPS device to follow the prescribed route. As organisers, we (and friends, family, members of the public and landowners) will be tracking participants in real time using the satellite trackers. We expect participants to stay within 200m of our advised route at all times. In practical terms, for the majority of the time this is very easy as our route generally follows the only path or track on the ground: it is the only logical way. At other times, where there is no visible path on the ground, you will have flexibility to range within 200m of the route so that you should feel little pressure to follow our route precisely at all times and can enjoy the incredible wilderness experience to the full.”

   

Image © Ben Winston

Image © Ben Winston

Day 1: 23 miles 500m ascent

Day 1 starts with a short ferry trip across Loch Linnhe sea loch onto the shore opposite Fort William. The running opens with a straight-forward warm up on a lovely road, headed South! But this is the key to accessing the remote western sea-board of Scotland, and on this day-end, the famous sights of Glenfinnan.

Day 2: 35 miles 1,800m ascent

From the very start of Day 2 the route ascends into remote territory, and clips the end of Scotland’s two longest dead-ends roads, both at remote sea loch heads. Even when you reach the overnight, you will be far, far away from civilization.

Day 3: 42 miles 2,400m ascent

This day is likely to be the hardest – though it is not the longest. It departs from the edge of Knoydart, passes through the large mountain and glen groups of Kintail, and reaches the wide strath’s (flat glens with big rivers) characteristic of Wester Ross. The Falls of Glomach are the most voluminous waterfalls in the Highlands.

Day 4: 22 miles 1,400m ascent

On this Day 4 you will experience the mountains at their loftiest – all around you, with high rocky passes, and rough underfoot in the latter third. It is one of the only days where you will not be close to the sea.

Day 5: 27 miles 1,400m ascent

Despite the previous days of remote territory, climbing up out of Kinlochewe on Day 5 will not prepare you for the qualities of what lies ahead. Fisherfield’s mountains will steadily reveal themselves to you! And then you will work through great isolated mountain glens, eventually overnighting just short of the port of Ullapool.

Day 6: 45 miles 1,400m ascent

This day escalates into some very remote and rough high ground, but is preceded by significant distances on double-tracks in the glens, and through prime Salmon-fishing country. Day 6 is the longest day, but for all those that have made it this far, this day will unlikely defeat you. (Inchnadamph is the highest overnight camp, at 80m, and one of the few that are noticeably not near sea level).

Day 7: 38 miles 1,600m ascent

One of the longer days, Day 7 gives a great contrast of moor, mountain, and deep inaccessible sea lochs. Eas a Chual Aluinn is the highest waterfall in the UK. At the end of this day is a rare section of road for this journey – but you will remember it as a road that is taking you somewhere amazing, due to the achingly beautiful seaward views.

Day 8: 16 miles 700m ascent

This is the day that takes you along the glorious beach of Sandwood Bay, to The Atlantic Sea proper and on to Cape Wrath and the Lighthouse, the most north-westerly point in the UK: A day to savor. It’s a deliberately shorter day. After finishing here, there will be a gradual minibus and ferry evacuation back to civilization in the village of Durness, 15 miles away, and a fitting sea loch coastal symmetry with the start, 8 days earlier. Once based in Durness, we hope that you have time to visit the beautiful beach just below the campsite, and nearby Smoo cave. In the evening, it’s time to celebrate, and in the morning, time to climb onto coaches and wave goodbye to the far north of Scotland.

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©shaneohly

Like the Dragon’s Back Race, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ is designed to provide a challenge for experienced runners. The Dragon’s Back Race has gained a reputation for its severity and drop out rate, although the Cape Wrath Ultra™ is a first edition, participants can expect an event of equal difficulty, especially when one considers the additional days and additional length of 100km.

Cape Wrath Ultra™ has gained worldwide interest with runners travelling to the UK from as far as Australia, Netherlands, South Africa, America, Sweden, Italy, Germany and more. An entry list is available to view HERE

Runners will travel to Scotland this coming Friday and arrive at Fort William in readiness to register on Saturday morning.

Racing starts on Sunday May 22nd and it will be possible to follow via live tracking HERE.

Daily images and reports will be posted on this website and all relevant social media channels as and when communications allow – we are in a remote part of the world!

Social Media Logos

Instagram @iancorlessphotography HERE

Twitter @talkultra HERE

Facebook.com/iancorlessphotography HERE

Many thanks to Ourea Events for the support

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CAPE WRATH ULTRA™ – SCOTLAND’S EXPEDITION RACE – MAJOR NEW ULTRA-RUNNING EVENT ANNOUNCED

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From the team that revived the inspirational Dragon’s Back Race™, an extraordinary new adventure has just been announced for June 2016 called the Cape Wrath Ultra™.
Billed as a once in a lifetime ultra-running expedition race, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ will weave 400km through the Highlands of Scotland. Starting in Fort William, the race promises to take competitors on an incredible journey linking ancient footpaths and remote tracks to the furthest northwesterly point of the British Isles, Cape Wrath.
©BenWinston

©BenWinston 

Race organiser, Shane Ohly from Ourea Events, describes the route. “Winding through the beautiful lochs, glens and mountains of the Scottish Highlands, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ is an ultra-running expedition through some of the World’s most inspirational landscapes, including Morar, Knoydart, Kintail, Torridon, Assynt and Sutherland”.
The new race is based on the Cape Wrath Trail, which is considered to be the toughest long distance backpacking trail in the UK. It crosses rugged landscapes, genuine wilderness and has great distances between support points. Hikers usually take at least 20 days to complete the trail and a new Cicerone guidebook published in 2013 has sparked renewed interested in this unofficial long distance footpath.
©DaveCuthbertson

©DaveCuthbertson

Shane Ohly continued. “Our Cape Wrath Ultra™ route will be similar to the Cape Wrath Trail but with some important variations as we mold the journey for an ultra-running perspective. Detailed planning has begun and Gary Tompsett has been appointed as the Race Director and Planner”.
Gary Tompsett is the logical choice for the role, having planned the 2007 Adventure Race World Championships in the same area and having previously worked with Shane Ohly at Rat Race Adventure. Shane Ohly explained, “Living near the Highlands of Scotland, Gary has a deep knowledge of various route options, the terrain, the weather, and the endless possibilities for a rich experience”.
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©GaryTompsett
Two previous winter Charlie Ramsay Round record holders together: Gary Tompsett (left) and Shane Ohly (right). The photo is taken moments before Shane Ohly sets off on his epic 2012 record attempt.

 The race is described as a supported ultra-running expedition, in which competitors’ equipment will be transported each day and tented accommodation and all meals provided. This is the same successful formula that Ohly employed when he revived the Dragon’s Back Race™ in 2012.
Ourea Events claim that the Cape Wrath Ultra™ will be the supreme ultra-running trail race. With a 400km canvas through the Scottish Highlands and Ohly and Tompsett’s pedigree – they are both former winter Ramsay Round record holders – in delivering iconic, adventurous and challenging events, who would want to argue!
Entries open in January 2015.
Date: June 2016