Scottish Highlands Point-to-Point Crossing - 7 Days

A 145km Scottish trail running adventure east-to-west from the Cairngorms to Torridon through magnificent scenery.

Trip Facts

  • Guided or Self-guided: Guided.
  • Price: From £1,100/€1342 per person.
  • Dates/Duration: Fixed date public tours 31 May-6 June 2020 (running days 1-5 June) and 30 August-5 September (running days 31 August-4 September). Private tours are also possible on other dates (best time May or September) by arrangement. 7 days/6 nights (arrival + 5 days’ activities + departure).
  • Running ability required: You should be comfortable regularly running distances of around 30km, have good stamina and experience of running on rough terrain. You will be covering a total distance of approx. 145km with a total height gain of 4160m over 5 running days. Average pace incl. climbs and rougher terrain typically around 9-10 mins/km, but stamina and experience of running off-road is the most important requirement.
  • Terrain/distance: 21km-37km/day on tracks and rough, stony trails.
  • Location: Scottish Highlands, from the Cairngorms to the West Coast.
  • Travel to: Arrive to Perth, depart from Inverness.
  • Accommodation: One night in hotel, six nights in hostel accommodation along the route.
  • Group size: 5-7 persons. A minimum of total 5 participants is required for fixed-date tours to be confirmed to run.

See below for details.

Why choose this tour for a trail running holiday in Scotland?

  • A varied programme of challenging running in world-class mountain scenery.
  • Includes a crossing of the Torridon wilderness area.
  • Support vehicle for transfer between daily runs and for luggage transfer.

The highlands of Scotland have long attracted lovers of the outdoors with their magical combination of wildness, dramatic scenery and rich history.

The networks of paths make the highlands perfect for trail runners looking to combine a physical challenge with the joy of running through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. With the running tours taking place in the low season periods of spring and early autumn, you’re able to enjoy the tranquility and remoteness of this stunning mountain landscape to the full.

Scottish Highlands Point to Point Crossing. Photo: TRS.
Expect some rough terrain and challenging days, but with the reward of spectacular scenery. Photo: TRS.

Starting from Glen Clova in the east, five days of guided trail runs take you to Braemar, on to Aviemore and Kintail through glacial valleys and mountain passes, and end with a real “bucket-list” run – a crossing of the mighty Fisherfield wilderness area in Torridon.

You’ll be led by an experienced mountain guide, and at night stay in Scottish Youth Hostel Association hostels along the route. Luggage is transferred and the support vehicle also brings you from your accommodation to/from the start/end points of the runs as required.

Example Acccommodation for Scottish Highlands Point to Point Crossing. Photo: TRS/Hostelling Scotland
You will be staying in Hostelling Scotland accommodation along the route. This is the hostel at Torridon. Photo: TRS/Hostelling Scotland.

Is it for me?

  • Tours are suitable for solo travellers or guests travelling with one or more companions, min. age 18. All sleeping accommodation is shared in 2-4 person rooms, so there is no single supplement for solo travellers.
  • You’ll need a good level of fitness and stamina to join the tour and experience of running off-road. Trails will be rough and can be stony/muddy. If you are used to regular, steady runs of around 30km and are able to do 5 consecutive long hiking days in mountain terrain, this is a good indicator of suitability.
  • The tour is not a race and your guide will adjust the pace to one suitable for the group and which allows you to enjoy the beauty of the landscape.

Trip code: TRS7RS1

Day 1
Day 1: Arrival to Perth

The group will meet at Perth railway station at 17.00 in the evening for transfer (approx. 1 hour) to Kirriemuir, near the start point at Glen Clova.

Accommodation is in hotel in Kirriemuir.

We recommend travelling to Perth by train. If travelling by car to Perth, please contact us for details of parking options during the tour.

Day 2
Day 2: Glen Clova to Braemar

Summary: Running distance: Approx. 21km. Height gain: 740m (highest point 914m). Accommodation: Hostel at Braemar.

You begin from the south-eastern end of Glen Clova, in the Cairngorms. You’ll be running on Jock’s Road, which is a traditional route for sheep drovers connecting the markets of Glen Clova to Braemar.

You begin with a gentle ascent through forest on wide tracks, before the landscape opens into Glen Doll. Reaching the end of the glen, the path narrows but is good, taking you across the hillside and up onto the plateau.

The group will alternate between running and walking, and the ascent is not steep.

Once on the plateau, you have a glorious couple of km under wide skies before dropping steeply on grassy terrain to Glen Callater, the track improving gradually towards the lodge there.

The day’s run ends with an easy-going descent to reach the ski road to Glenshee, one of Scotland’s ski areas in winter, just outside Braemar where you will spend the night.

Day 3
Day 3: Lairig Ghru to Aviemore

Summary: Running distance: Approx. 31km. Height gain: 660m (highest point 840m). Accommodation: Hostel at Aviemore.

Starting from Linn of Dee, you have the chance to warm up on a flat track before the trail becomes rougher as you run under the imposing slopes of Ben Macdui, the second highest mountain in the UK.

You cross the bridge at Luibeag to reach the glacial valley of Lairig Ghru, which offers dramatic views.

The ascent to the pass is not steep, and when you reach the highest point at 840m, the high mountains still tower around you.

Your route takes you across a short boulder field before descending on a sweeping single-track path out of the high mountain landscape and back into the forest towards Aviemore, where you spend the night.

Day 4
Day 4: Glen Affric to Kintail

Summary: Running distance: Approx. 30km. Height gain: 550m (highest point 360m). Accommodation: Hostel at Kintail.

You begin with a drive of approx. 1 hour 45 mins to reach Glen Affric, where your run today begins.

With its dramatic mountain skyline and forests of Caledonian pine, Glen Affric is one of Scotland’s most scenic.

Today you’ll be running the route of the Highland Cross duathlon in reverse, with a route that descends more than it rises during the course of the day.

You being along the undulating shore of Loch Affric, reaching the SYHA’s most remote hostel at Altbeithe. From here you climb steadily for 100m to reach the col below Beinn Fhada. Following is a fast, rocky and technical run almost back down to sea level and then a nice gradient to relax the level muscles down to the sea.

From the end point it’s 5 minutes by transfer vehicle to your hostel accommodation for the night.

Day 5
Day 5: Achnasheen to Torridon

Summary: Running distance: Approx. 26km (flexible options). Height gain: 1010m (highest point 652m). Accommodation: Hostel at Torridon.

Today you begin from Achnasheen, a transfer of about 40 mins from the hostel.

The route and distance today can be flexible, thanks to the network of interconnecting trails and passes in the Glen Torridon area. Depending on how the group is feeling, this day can be made more or less challenging.

A typical plan for today would be to begin with a steady climb from the station at Achnashellach station to Coulin pass, then head west to ascend to the head of Coire Lair. This is a dramatic spot with the geological history of the area evident in the waves of rock.

A well-worn path leads between the munros of Sgorr Ruadh and Maol Chean-dearg into a beautiful area as the trail takes you back to the sea in Glen Torridon.

Day 6
Day 6: Fisherfield Crossing

Summary: Running distance: Approx. 37km. Height gain: 1200m (highest point 540m). Accommodation: Hostel at Inverness.

Your last day of running, but the trip will end on a high note!

You begin with a transfer of approx. 1 hour to Poolewe.

Today you cross the great wilderness area of Fisherfield, bound to be one of the enduring memories of the tour.

The day starts and ends at sea level, using stalkers’ tracks winding between the waters and mountains of this very special region.

You cross the causeway to Carnmore lodge and then the first of the mountain passes to cross the river at Shenevall bothy, nestling beneath An Teallach, ‘The Forge’. The week’s run ends with a last climb and gentle downhill to sea level.

You spend the last night at hostel in Inverness. You should be justly proud of your achievements during the week and ready for a celebratory dinner to end the adventure!

Day 7
Day 7: Departure from Inverness

Independent arrangements for departing from Inverness. Regular train (2 h 15m) or coach services (2 h 45m) connect Inverness to Perth for onward travel by train or to collect your car if driving.

Dates 2020:

Fixed date tours:

  • 31st May-6th June 2020 (arrival in Perth 31st May, running 1st-5th June, departure from Inverness 6th June).
  • 30th August-5th September (arrival in Perth 30th August, running 31st August-4th September, departure from Inverness 5th September).

These tour dates are open to anyone fulfilling the running ability requirements (min. age 18).

Custom dates for groups: Private tours for groups are possible on other dates by arrangement. Please contact us to discuss your requirements. The best time for tours is May-early June or in September.

Prices 2020:

Fixed-date tours GBP 1,100/EUR 1342 per person

As accommodation on all nights is shared, there is no single supplement for this tour.

Prices for private tours can be given on request depending on group size and requirements.

Price includes:

  • 6 nights' accommodation: Accommodation Day 1 is in hotel in Kirriemuir. Days 2-5 is in hostels along the route. Day 6 is in hostel in Inverness. Accommodation on all nights is shared in 2-4 person rooms. Solo travellers will share with other same-gender guests on the tour where possible or choose single-sex dorm room at the hostels. Bedding and towels are provided.
  • Guided runs as per itinerary including support vehicle for transfers of luggage between overnight accommodation and of participants between the start/end of each leg.
  • Breakfast from Day 2 to Day 7.
  • Simple food for lunch Day 2 to Day 6. Lunches will be, for example, wraps with cheese/salad, fruit, nuts and small pies. Please mention in advance if you have any dietary requirements or allergies. You should bring with you any additional snacks or gels you would like.

Price does not include:

  • Travel to Perth and from Inverness in connection with arrival/departure.
  • Dinner: The group will choose a suitable restaurant for dinner each night.
  • Snacks: Simple lunch is included, but you should bring own snacks, etc, for extra energy during the day.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What training should I do to prepare for the tour?

You will need a high level of stamina for the tour, so should practise regular steady runs of around 30km on rough trails. The route has a total height gain of 4160m over 5 days, so your training should also include hill work.

What kind of running shoes do I need?

Trail shoes or fell shoes. In general, trails are firm with some parts which will be wetter, but in general descents will not be particularly slippy. It is important that your shoes have generally good grip, but comfort is the most important factor.

What will I need to carry with me during the runs?

A detailed packing list will be included in your booking documentation, but in general you will need to bring a running backpack containing the following with you (depending on weather conditions, it may of course not be necessary to bring all items every day): hat, gloves, extra layers, waterproofs, headtorch, lightweight survival bag, blizzard blanket, whistle, compass, lunch and snacks/gels, water, small personal first aid kit, midge net.

How can I refill drinking water during the runs?

You may pass a number of wild water sources during the runs. The water in the area is very clean and your guide normally drinks water untreated from these sources. However, this is a personal choice and you may prefer to treat or filter the water before drinking. You will of course bring some water for the day’s run with you from the start.

Do I need to bring hiking poles?

Hiking poles are generally not recommended unless you particularly wish to bring them. You may find hiking poles helpful for some of the steeper days if you are used to using poles.

Where will we stay?

Accommodation is in Scottish Youth Hostel Associated hostels along the route except for Day 1 when accommodation is in hotel in Kirriemuir. Accommodation on all nights is shared in 2-4 person rooms. Solo travellers will share with other same-gender guests on the tour where possible or choose single-sex dorm at the hostels.