All eyes to the Skyline

The start of a Salomon Skyline Scotland race at the Event Village - copyright No Limits Photography.

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Exploring Lochaber via a Salomon Skyline Scotland Trail Race – copyright No Limits Photography.

This weekend’s Salomon Skyline Scotland 2021 schedule offers two days of mountain running that includes races for all ages and abilities, ranging in distance from 5k to 52k, plus trail runs for children.

From Kinlochleven, Salomon Skyline Scotland will give runners the opportunity to race in the heart of the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands on September 18 and 19.

Presented by Salomon, Skyline Scotland 2021 is also sponsored by EventScotland and the event village will be open throughout the weekend, outside the Ice Factor in the centre of Kinlochleven.

The Village will feature catering, inspirational speakers such as leading Scottish runners Finlay Wild and Donnie Campbell, live music, big screen entertainment, and exhibitor stands. Event partners such as Harvey Maps, Petzl and the John Muir Trust will also be in attendance.

Governed by the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), the growing sport of skyrunning is the most extreme form of competitive outdoor running, as defined by altitude, terrain and technicality.

The simple logic of the sport is to reach the highest peak in the shortest time from a town or village and participants are likely to encounter technical running terrain, including scrambling sections.

A skyrunner in action during the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra 2019 – copyright No Limits Photography.
Skyrunning schedule

The Salomon Skyline Scotland programme includes four skyrunning events.

First out of the blocks on Saturday, September 18 will be the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace. Launched in 2016, the race has already established itself as a classic skyrunning event, attracting some of the best mountain runners in the world to Scotland.

The route of 29k and 2,500m of ascent incorporates two lofty ridges within the Mamores (an east-west series of mountains), including the Devil’s Ridge, with Glen Nevis visible ahead, a yawning drop far below, and Ben Nevis towering beyond and above.

Also on the Saturday the Salomon Mamores VK will follow the well-established ISF
Vertical Kilometer format, in which participants follow a marked course, gaining 1,000m of height in less than 5k.

Participants are set off at timed intervals with the winner having the fastest overall
time to the summit. Although physically arduous, the Salomon Mamores VK does not require scrambling or rock climbing experience and is therefore suitable for any runner who is up for the challenge.

The most demanding race of the weekend starts early on Sunday, September 19. The Salomon Glen Coe Skyline follows in the finest tradition of the most prestigious skyrunning races, fusing mountain running and alpinism in a pure test of speed, endurance and skill on an uncompromising, world-class course.

The route features long and sustained sections of scrambling (roughly equivalent to
‘Moderate’ standard rock climbing), traversing high and remote mountainous terrain.

The event is only suitable for highly experienced competitors, with all entrants strictly vetted for experience. Starting at 7:30am, the race will cover 52k, with 4,750m of ascent.

The Sunday schedule will also include a second 52k race, the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra. Featuring remote Scottish glens, technical single track, airy ridges, and high mountain passes, the very challenging course is designed for the boldest all-round ultra-runners.

With almost 4,000m of climbing and great variability in the terrain, the race includes a traverse of one of Scotland’s most famous ridges, the Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête, leading to the summit of Ben Nevis.

A runner in action during a Salomon Skyline Scotland trail race – copyright No Limits Photography.
Trail races

Salomon Skyline Scotland 2021 will present a variety of trail races that will give even seasoned trail runners a genuinely tough challenge amidst the spectacular Lochaber scenery. After strong demand in 2019, a line-up of 5k, 10k and 18k events will return this year, all on terrain that is trickier, and involves more height gain, than the average trail race.

Billed as Britain’s toughest 5k, the Grey Mare’s Trail Race will start at 10:30am on Saturday, September 18. The route shares some of the same terrain as the Salomon Mamores VK, which is an indication of the short but very sharp challenge for participants.

Starting at 10:30am on Sunday, September 19, the Loch Eilde Mòr Trail Race is 10k and will take runners into beautiful remote terrain near the River Leven. Held on the same day and sharing some of the route, the Three Mealls Trail Race is a challenging 18k event that will take participants to stunning locations and breath-taking views.

Organisers hope to attract junior trail runners to the 5k and 10k races, offering places at half price for participants aged under 18. Runners from the age of 12 can take part in the 5k and the 10k event accepts entries from those aged 14 and over. In addition, on both Saturday 18 (10:05am) and Sunday 19 (12:45pm), young athletes will be able to tackle a ‘Fun Trail’ run, starting and finishing at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven. The runs are aimed at youngsters aged 6-12, but adults who wish to run with their children will be welcome to join in.

Relaxing in the Salomon Skyline Scotland Event Village – copyright No Limits Photography.
Event Village

Open throughout the weekend, the Skyline Scotland Event Village will be located next to the Ice Factor in the centre of Kinlochleven, designed to be the perfect place to enjoy the atmosphere and relax. The village will host food and drink options, exhibiting outdoor brands like Salomon, Petzl and La Sportiva, free talks and Q and As in the form of the Skyline Sessions, live music, race prize giving ceremonies, and the chance to spectate by the start/finish line of all of the Skyline Scotland races, with live commentary and race updates via the big screen TV.

Among the speakers at the Skyline Sessions will be local runner Finlay Wild (1:00pm on Sunday), who recently set a Ramsay Round record.

New for this year, the Top Out brewery will be offering a special Skyline Scotland beer, Scottish Orienteering will be hosting a free orienteering course all weekend, and there will also be a Scottish Urban Orienteering League race on the Saturday. Other activities will include guided spectator walks, yoga sessions, and running workshops from Girls on Hills and Trail Running Scotland.

Event partners for Salomon Skyline Scotland 2021 include the Highland Council, Ortlieb, Petzl, the Ice Factor, Harvey Maps, National Trust for Scotland, Lochaber: Outdoor Capital of the UK, John Muir Trust, 1% for the Planet, Jahama, Girls on Hills Trail Running, and the National Outdoor Events Association.

In the build-up to the event, Salomon Skyline Scotland 2021 participants have donated £6,000 to the Glen Coe and Lochaber Mountain Rescue Teams. Cheques for these donations will be handed over to the teams at around 4pm on Saturday, September 18, during the Ring of Steall prize giving, outside the Ice Factor in the centre of Kinlochleven.

Keep an eye on www.skylinescotland.com and follow @skylinescotland on Twitter for the latest news from Salomon Skyline Scotland.