The Great Glen Challenge – Rules & Safety

All paddlers must attend registration and race briefing. There will be a mandatory kit list check at the briefing in Fort Augustus Village Hall. If you have not received a briefing, you will not be allowed to partake in the event.

Paddlers must adhere to event rules and instructions at race briefing.

All paddlers must wear hi-vis shirt/bib and race number at all times.


  • The SUP Hard Shell board class’ is defined as any board 14’ and under of a solid construction.
  • The SUP Inflatable board class is any inflatable board 14’ and under
  • The surfski class has no restrictions
  • The kayak class has no restrictions
  • The Prone class has no restrictions
  • The Canoe class has no restrictions
  • All tandem craft must have 2 paddlers at all times

A ‘Paddle’ is defined as a single bladed propulsion device with a handle on one end and blade on the other.  A paddle that has more than one blade is not legal for SUP or canoe. Ski and kayak will use twin bladed paddle.

Paddlers can carry a spare paddle, but this must be fixed to their craft.

If you have damage to equipment, you may switch craft through the race.  The broken equipment must be inspected by Race Director at end of race.  The replacement craft must be of the same specifications defined by your class.


All competitors in Great Glen Paddle Challenge must wear a leash and PFD regardless of local marine laws. Great Glen Paddle Challenge reserves the right to add to the racing requirement as if it feels necessary. PFD can be a waist device. Know how they work.

All paddlers must carry a working and charged mobile phone in a waterproof case on their person and the number of the Race Director.

In the case of an emergency please call Emergency services on 999 prior to calling the Race Director.  The Great Glen Paddle Challenge advises you to place phone in waterproof bag prior to placing in waterproof container or pouch.  Please ensure your mobile phone is secured on your person.

It is advisable to carry a phone charger and power unit with your mobile phone in the Great Glen Paddle Challenge.  Please try using your mobile phone inside the waterproof container prior to entering the water, to ensure ease of use.

Paddlers must carry phone, waterproof torch, whistle, and bivvy bag ON THEIR PERSON and not on their craft.  The torch and whistle is to attract attention in case of an emergency.

During an event, a paddler who is distressed should wave their hands or paddle in a back-and-forth motion above their heads and blow their whistle.  In the hours of darkness, the paddler must flash their torch and blow their whistle to attract attention.

Competitors who see another paddler in distress MUST assist the paddler and help to gain the attention of the closest safety personnel.  If you stop to assist a paddler in distress, please highlight to Race Director to readdress your final time.  A witness must confirm you have stopped to assist.

Each paddler will be issued with a race tracker.  These must be attached to the paddler AT ALL TIMES.  Not on your board, not in your bag, but ON THE PADDLER.  The tracker must be handed back to the race organizer at the end of the event.  Failure to return the tracker will result in a fee (£250).

Mandatory Kit List Summary:

  1. On your person: phone with race director’s phone number, tracker, PFD, hydration/snacks, waterproof torch, bivvy bag, whistle, waist leash (there is flow on a couple of different points of the course)
  2. In your kit bag/on your board: change of clothes including a woolly hat, food/snacks/hydration.
  3. Neoprene (minimum longjohn style to cover legs and core) or drysuit.

The Great Glen Challenge finish line

Race Start

The race start shall be a single audible sound such as a single horn blast or starter gun. The exact starting sequence and method of starting will be described in the Pre-race briefing.

The race start shall start within 10 minutes of the published race start time.

Prior to the race start the Starter shall bring the competitors to the start line no greater than 10 minutes and no less than 3 minutes before the first start.

Any competitor who does not follow the instructions of the Starter or who is ahead of the start line once the starting sequence has begun shall be given a false start and a 2-minute penalty.

Race start sequences shall be as follows:


Inflatable SUP

Hardboard SUP

OC1 and Surfski


Mass Start

There shall be 15 minutes between each start to allow the next class to assemble for their start. Every class will get a one-minute warning. In the instance of an early start at the Great Glen Challenge we may change the start procedure, you will be informed in the pre-race briefing.  The nonstop race will have a mass start.

Water Start: 

Competitors with their body in front of the race flags before the start horn sounds will be given a false start and a 2-minute time penalty.

All Starts

If the Starter is not satisfied with the line once the competitors are called up, the command will be ‘STOP’ and competitors will begin the starting sequence again.

Competitors will receive a false start if they are not present on the start line once the start sequence has begun for their heat and a 2-minute time penalty.

Starters shall not wait for any tardy paddlers. No start will be delayed waiting for a paddler.

Alternative race starts may be made in the case of unique geography, race formats or conditions. All alternative starts must be approved by the race committee and covered in the pre-race briefing.

False Starts:

A competitors first false start will receive a 2-minute time penalty. The start procedure will recommence and the 2-minute time penalty will be added to the paddler’s final timing once the start has been successful.

On a competitor’s second false start infraction, the competitor will be disqualified, unless it is due to wind direction pushing over the line.

Competitors must only react to the starting signal and must not try to anticipate the sound.

Competitors must not make any forward racing strokes once called to the line and before the start.


A competitor has finished a race when their bow has crossed the finish line.

Competitors must be on their craft for at least three seconds with paddle in hand to receive a complete Water Finish.

Competitors without a paddle or not in control must re-cross the finish correctly before receiving an official placing and time. If a paddler finishes incorrectly and does not re-cross, they will receive a 2-minute time penalty.

The timekeepers will notify any competitors of infractions as soon as possible after they occur.

Competitors must clear the finish line area as soon as they cross the line. If a competitor paddles back onto the racecourse they must remove their race bib and race number before doing so.  If a paddler does not remove race number and race bib before re-entering the racecourse after finishing, they will receive a 2 minute time penalty.

Please ensure you call out your number at every checkpoint and at the finish.


Drafting is not allowed.

A paddler will be deemed drafting when within 3 metres length directly behind, or sides of another competitor or any watercraft on the racecourse.

A competitor must try to exit the drafting zone immediately when boundaries allow. Examples of natural boundaries include rocks, canals, submerged objects, bridges, and vessels.

Competitors will be disqualified for drafting on the racecourse. No drafting of boats at any time.  Drafting of boats will be instant disqualification and removal from the race.

Paddling on the Course

Competitors must not deviate from the course.

All craft shall be propelled only by means of human-power, only paddles or arms.


There will be checkpoints along the way and each paddler must inform the volunteers at the checkpoint of their race number and any issues they may have.

All checkpoints will have snacks and water available as listed in the paddlers’ information packs.

After The Race

Competitors must leave the course immediately after they complete their race and must not impede any competitors still to finish. If you are paddling in the course area after you have completed the challenge, you must remove your bib and your race number.  Failure to remove your bib and race number will result in a 2-minute time penalty.


Any competitor who attempts to win a race by any other than appropriate means, or who does not follow racing regulations, may be disqualified from the event.

Any competitor who behaves in an excessively aggressive way through their conduct or speech towards the competition officials, other competitors, or spectators, may be disqualified from the event.

A competitor shall not receive external racing assistance during a race from another competitor or non-competitor other than passing liquid, food, and boards at portages. Any paddler taking outside racing assistance will be disqualified.  A competitor providing the external racing assistance may also be disqualified from the race. The only time external assistance is allowed is when a paddler is in danger or distress.

Any competitor that displays unsportsmanlike conduct before, during or after an event may be disqualified.

Unsportsmanlike conduct includes and is not limited to:

(a) excessive physical harm using any part of the body, paddle, or board.

(b) using the board, paddle, or body to block a competitor from

forward progress, turning, drafting, starting, or finishing.

(c) yelling at the start in order to create a false start.

(d) purposely impeding the ability of a competitor to paddle, turn, dismount, start, finish, or run.

The Race Director shall immediately notify a disqualified competitor at the earliest possibility.

The Great Glen Paddle Challenge has ZERO tolerance to unsporting behavior on or off the water.  If a paddler is found to be unsporting to a fellow paddler, organiser, or spectator they risk disqualification from the race.


A protest may be made only by a competitor in the event in question.

A protest must be filed with a member of the Competition Committee no later than 30 minutes after the competitor has finished a race or received a notice of disqualification or racing decision.

When a protest is made against a competitor or Race Official, all parties in question shall be informed of the protest.

Protests will be decided upon by the Competition Committee through first-hand accounts as well as any photographic and video evidence.


How do I enter?

We will be opening registration through this website on 1st January 2023 for the 2023 event.

When is it?​

Dates for 2023: Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September.

A competitors’ booklet will be emailed out prior to the event containing information such as checkpoint details, emergency procedures, etc.

The competitors’ briefing will take place in Fort Augustus on the Thursday evening (21st September).

Great Glen Challenge Information

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