Caledonian Challenge

We're keen to hear about the adventures which you are taking part in outdoors in Scotland this year.

One great adventure story is the RBS Caledonian Challenge, a team walking event during which 1350 walkers attempted an arduous trek along a 54 mile section of the West Highland Way.

Walkers in the Caledonian Challenge 2007 (courtesy of event organisers)

Starting from Fort William on Saturday 14 June, the teams of 3 to 6 competitors had 24 hours in which to reach the finish point on the banks of Loch Lomond.

The route passed through Glencoe via the 'Devil's staircase' to cross the remote Rannoch Moor, then on through Bridge of Orchy down to Auchtertyre and finally along Loch Lomond where the walkers were taken by boat to the finish village.

Some of this year's participants had competed in the race before, but many were new to the competition and came from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities to face a trek the length of two marathons.

Meet the teams

We met a few of the teams who had signed up for the challenge, and they kept us updated with tales of their training and preparations.

Caledonian Challenge team 'Cry me a Spartan' training in a Dundee park

The first team we met were a group called Cry me a Spartan who are based in Dundee. You can watch a short video of them in training, and read more about them here.

MDDC team at a press call at RAF Leuchars

A Fife-based team called MDDC offered to update us on their exploits as they prepared for the race. Part of their training was led by a physical trainer at RAF Leuchars. Read more about them here.

The Swiss Highlanders

A team of five Swiss mountaineers called the Swiss Highlanders got in touch to tell us about their trip to Scotland to take part in the Caledonian Challenge. Read their story and see photos of them training in Switzerland.

Talking about your challenge

BBC Radio Scotland Out of Doors asked Caledonian Challenge participants to ring them while they were on air, and Sports Weekly interviewed a team who travelled from India to take part in the event.

You can listen again to both programmes online for seven days after transmission on the BBC iPlayer.

History of the race

Angus MacDonald and Alex Blyth founded the Caledonian Challenge in 1996. Inspired by a walking event in Hong Kong, the two Scots wanted to bring a similar challenge to Scotland's rugged West Highland region.

The Caledonian Challenge has grown from just 17 walkers to a huge organisational feat with more than 1,600 walkers (375 teams) expected to take part in 2008. Each team is expected to raise sponsorship money for the Scottish Community Foundation (SCF), a Scottish charity which helps fund projects ranging from youth theatres to elderly support groups, drugs advice services to healthy eating initiatives. Almost 10,000 people have taken up the challenge in the past 11 years, raising over £9 million between them.

Your story

Are you involved in this or another outdoor adventure? Are you in training, or are you perhaps preparing to work on a support vehicle and would like to tell your story? Or have you any comments about this kind of outdoors event? Get in touch with the Outdoors team or post your comment in the form below.

Page first published on Tuesday 22nd April 2008
Page last updated on Thursday 16th October 2008

Your Views

Local Aberdeen subsea company, Canyon Offshore, last night (25th Sept 08) received the award for Top Fundraiser. Raising over £16,000, the team of 6 - known as ‘Grand Canyon’ - were among 345 named teams with around 1,500 walkers in total, who had endured Scotland’s foremost endurance fundraising event: the RBS Caledonian Challenge.The ceremony, held at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, welcomed over 100 delegates and saw Grand Canyon celebrate their success as they were presented with a trophy in recognition of their large donation towards charity organisation, The Scottish Community Foundation.

Pauline O'Donnell
I would like to echo Teresa's comment, why indeed does this event not have nationwide coverage. My daughter Maria competed and completed the challenge in 18 hours 29 minutes, as part of 'Plastic Fantastic', her very first attempt. She has never ached or hurt as badly and her poor bleeding feet will take a good long while to recover but the personal achievement she felt more than compensates. We, her parents, are so very proud of her and were with her every step of the way, if only in spirit!!

Pauline Valentine
My husand, Robert Valentine, completed the event in the fastest time of 9 hours and 44 minutes on Saturday - I don't know where the determination comes from to run a race like that but we are so pround of him - Congratulations to him and to all the other runners and walkers who finished the event!!!

Tanya Dyan
After training with 2 friends since December 2007, we finished the Caledonian Challenge yesterday un just under 25 hours. We had so many barriers in our way, not only a hip condition that meant I was told never to run again, but we had also managed to get some forn of food poisoning the morning of the challenge. Unfotunately one of out team had to retire at check point 4, but the 2 of us struggled on. It was mentally exhausting and I have never felt every inch of my body ache to such an extent. We could never have done it without training and without the amazing support team that kept our spirits up in the late hours. We did it though, and that is something that I will always be proud of!

As a participant that managed to complete the event (in body as the soul walked off in another direction around the thirty mile mark), I would like to thank all the people who made the event possible. The marshalls, physios and first aiders (especially the ex-army medic that attended to my eight blisters and former knee joints at checkpoint 4) were great. The superhuman effort by my team 'the Balmoral Blisters' and all other participants was phenomenal and the good luck offerings from people and groups walking the ‘West Highland Way’. Anyone that assisted the teams that took part in the event through sponsorship should know that their donations were well earned and that all the pain endured would not be possible without their generosity 'Thanks'.Honestly, many thanks to all for every penny donated.

Donald McKinnon
I completed the challenge yesterday in 20.26 achieving Gold for the second year but would like a special mention for our support crew who without them the challenge would not have been possible or as enjoyable. Thanks again Thelma and Louise you know who you are.

Jacqui Halliwell
I completed the Caledonona Challenge yesterday. It took me just over 25 hours and I contemplated quitting about 5 miles out from checkpoint 4, but I am delighted I stayed the course and reached the Finish line - what a feeling! Hats off to the organisers and people supporting us all along the way. The whole set up as very well organsied and every volunteer involved in the support services could not have been nicer. It really made all the differnece. I honestly can say I would not have completed it without their contributions - particuarly the blister repairs and physio massage at checkpoint 3!

Teresa Clark
Why doesn't this event have nationwide coverage. The blood sweat and tears that go into the preparation for many of these competitors deserves wider recognition. Also, a personal well done to the Stumbling Stones from RBS Maidstone Kent, one of whom was more worried about flying to Glasgow on Friday 13th than completing the Challenge!

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