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Tracking the Scottish Islands Peak Race

A mountain in Scotland with a beach in the foreground

The Scottish Islands Peak Race has several objectives: one is to encourage sailors to appreciate fell running, for runners to appreciate sailing and for both to enjoy what must be some of the best sailing and hill running in the world. Another is to help to build the self confidence of the youngsters sailing in the Youth Teams, and yet another is to raise funds for various good causes. But the main objective is to provide a challenging experience to sailors and runners who may be too busy to devote weeks to sailing the Atlantic or trekking in Tibet but who still relish overcoming a challenge which is well beyond those normally encountered in our modern well insulated lives.

The race is for teams of hill runners and sailors over a long weekend around the beautiful West Coast of Scotland. The sailing course of 160 nautical miles includes the strong tides and overfalls of the Corryvreckan and the Mull of Kintyre while the runners cover 60 miles and 11,500 ft of climbing.

The race is intended to be challenging and competitors need to be well prepared, fit and experienced to complete this course successfully. Senior Runners must be experienced in the hills and all carry specified survival gear. Yachts must have comprehensive safety gear including flares, VHF radio and engines (for emergency use and when the runners are off the boat). Oars and other muscle powered devices are permitted for use in calms.

Many teams return year after year for their annual battle against the elements over one of the most beautiful running and sailing courses in the world. Perhaps part of its charm is that every year brings its own memorable scenes whether it's getting ahead of your nearest rival by means of a 'cunning plan', racing neck and neck with another team under spinnaker, gliding quietly through the water as dawn breaks or encountering whales and dolphins. The mountains offer a wide variety of challenging terrain and the sailing is equally varied so that coupled with unrivalled views of mountains and sea so that each year brings a totally unique team experience for everyone.

Although the race can be extremely competitive, for most people, it is not the thought of winning that brings them back year after year but simply the pleasure of sailing and running in the company of a great crowd of like minded people.

A Brief History of the Race

In 1983, half a dozen boats set off from Troon to cover a similar course to today but in the reverse direction, landing in Brodick Bay for Goat Fell and without the Oban run, but the organisers soon decided that it was better to start in Oban and end at Troon. Then one year there was a big Easterly blowing into Brodick Bay and they decided that Lamlash offered far better shelter and also added an interesting run.

This is a very friendly event where participants will meet some interesting people, see some of the world's best scenery, and enjoy one of life's more memorable experiences. But be warned, this race is addictive; some people set their annual calendars by it!

Each yacht will have a YB Tracker installed before the start, which will transmit data every half hour through out the contest. This data includes speed, direction and GPS co-ordinates so that friends, family and the race organisers can follow the fleet's progress.

For more information please visit the race website.


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