Are you looking to experience the West Highland Way in a different and exciting way? The West Highland Way Race takes place along the beautiful route of the West Highland Way, allowing competitors to take in some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery.
History of West Highland Way Race
The West Highland Way, a long distance trail in Scotland, was first officially opened on 6 October 1980. The route, starting in Milngavie and ending in Fort William gained the interest of athlete Duncan Watson, who decided to challenge another athlete, Bobby Shields, to a race along the infamous route of the West Highland Way.
On the 22nd of June 1985, a small group of select people set off on their race from Milngavie to Fort William. The original route of the West Highland Way was shorter in terms of mileage than the current route of the West Highland Way due to some sections following the road. However, many stretches required the competitors to wade through mud and bogs, making the route both easier and harder than the current route of the West Highland Way.
After 60 miles of the West Highland Way Race, Watson and Shields remained neck and neck, and the outcome was apparent. So, the two competitors decided to complete the remainder of the race together, finishing in an impressive 17hours and 48 minutes. The West Highland Way Race was born!
The following year, the West Highland Way Race was opened up to a few more competitors, this time completing the route from North to South with Duncan Watson as the race director. In 1987, the race returned to the original south to north route, with 7 of the 11 runners completing the race.
As the route has evolved over the years, to become the route that it is today, it has become much more “up and down” with less of the route following the roads, making the West Highland Way Race slightly longer than it once was. The West Highland Way Race has also developed to become more official than the earlier days of “show up at Milngavie and see who can get to Fort William first”. Today, the race involves first aiders, check points, mountain rescue teams, support crew and much, much more.
From its humble beginnings, to the West Highland Way Race in 2016, a whopping 1,085 people have completed the West Highland Way Race. The fastest competitor completed the race in an incredibly impressive 15 hours and 26 minutes. People of all ages complete the West Highland Way Race, with the oldest competitors aged 70 years young, and the youngest competitor of 21 years old.
Competing in the West Highland Way Race
In order to protect the route of the West Highland Way and the landscapes surrounding it, just 200 competitors are allowed to compete, with entry accepted through the month of November prior to the year of the race. There are a number of criteria which must be met in order to take part in the West Highland Way Race due to the difficulty of the race. This criteria can be seen here. This year’s (2017) race takes place on June 24th.
Walk the West Highland Way
While the West Highland Way Race may seem like too much of a challenge to many people, it is possible to walk the West Highland Way and experience all that the route has on offer. EasyWays offers West Highland Way walking holidays, get in touch to find out more.