Apply to take part in the UK’s finest backpacking event, taking place 12-26 May 2017

The Great Outdoors Challenge is a unique and very special Scottish hiking institution. Since 1980 thousands of people have taken up the opportunity to backpack from Scotland’s west coast to east as part of this annual event – each of them following their own carefully crafted route.

The event, which is now open for applications, is non-competitive; eight days should be the minimum allowed (and that for a straightforward low-level crossing) – most people take between 12 and 14 days.

Every Challenger’s experience is different. You can climb Munros or stick to the glens; walk solo or in company; wild camp every night or dip in and out of civilisation. Whatever option you choose you will be supported by a team of experienced volunteer route-vetters and by the Challenge Control team.

As a 2017 Challenger, you’ll begin your journey at one of our 13 sign-out points between Torridon in the north and Ardishaig in the south. Then, over the course of a fortnight you’ll make your way to the eastern seaboard, somewhere between Fraserburgh and Arbroath. You will need to carry all your equipment on your back and to navigate your way across the country. It’s going to be a fantastic adventure.

The Great Outdoors Challenge is supported by our sister publication The Great Outdoors magazine.

To apply for the Challenge or for more information, visit