The Scottish Highlands are one of Europe’s great wilderness areas and a natural location for a full scale expedition adventure race, an event which covers long distances, includes multiple disciplines and where teams of 4 race unsupported and non-stop over 4 or 5 days.
Now Open Adventure, the UK’s longest established adventure race organisers, are bringing Expedition Racing back to Scotland with the ITERA race, which takes place in August.
The race is the 5th in a series of expedition races going back to 2010, which have previously taken place in England (2010), Scotland (2012), Wales (2014) and Ireland (2016).
The previous visit to Scotland was for the ‘Sting in Stirling’ in 2012 and there has not been an expedition race in the country since. So this year’s race is a rare chance to experience world class adventure racing in Scotland!
ITERA is part of the Adventure Racing World Series, with the winners receiving a place in the AR World Championship in Sri Lanka in December, and this has attracted a strong international entry. Teams from France, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, USA, Canada and Belgium are already entered.
The course will cover a maximum distance of 600km and will include short course options to bring this down to 300km, allowing teams to compete to their own ability level, but always be challenged to their limits.
It will include trekking across the mountains, 3 kayaking stages (one possibly at sea), mountain biking on trails and sometimes off them, and some ‘surprise’ challenges.
These are a feature of Open Adventure events and in the past have included the fastest zip line in the world, underground orienteering, and coasteering with jumps into the sea which required a very deep breath before summoning up the courage to leap.
The race will test some of the world’s best adventure racers, but is still accessible to teams wanting to have-a-go. Even a novice team could complete the race route, with the right amount of determination of course!
James Thurlow, Director of Open Adventure explains; “We have designed a race format and course that will allow all the teams to finish. The race will be achievable yet challenging to all levels. We are not planning to design the hardest adventure race ever, in fact quite the opposite; we want it to be fun, interesting and an accessible event. Every night we will provide access to warm and dry shelter.”
The course planner this year will be former World Champion Tom Gibbs, who was on the winning team at the 2010 & 2012 races, and was the planner of the 2014 race in Wales. Open Adventure have also teamed up with Paul McGreal, one of the most prolific organisers of adventure events in Scotland and also a former ITERA competitor.
The race will be based out of Inverness, which is where it will finish … but the organisers are not saying where it will start! (The route of an expedition race is kept secret until just before the start.)
ITERA will run from August 10th to 17th, and up until March 31st the entry fee is £2900 for a team of 4 (rising to £3400 afterwards until entries close on July 1st).
The race provides full logistical support, including all the kayaks and a satellite tracking service so friends, relatives and supporters can follow the progress of the teams
You can find out more about the race at https://www.itera.co.uk/
The AR World Series features 9 expedition adventure races across 4 continents. More information is available at https://arworldseries.com
Picture: Rob Howard/SleepMonsters.com