The Great Glen Challenge

The Great Glen has been one of the bucket list events for paddlers across the world. Showcasing Scotland in all her glory, paddlers cover the 92km length of the Great Glen with an option to cover the distance in one day, or two.

This really is a challenge for you, the paddler, against all the elements the Scottish Weather can throw at you. Conditions vary from flat calm where you have to work for every stroke, to ocean-going downwinders on the loch sections. Paddlers are required to have their own shore support as this is a point to point race.

The gathering point of Fort Augustus is in the middle of the course which allows race management to decide the night before whether to run it from South to North with the prevailing winds, or on occasion in reverse (North to South) to suit the weather forecast on the day. It also doubles as an excellent place for a party!

Julie Tea - FINISHED Great Glen

A paddlers’ pack will be emailed out prior to the event with a remote zoom briefing one month prior to allow you time to digest information. Attendance at the on-site registration is compulsory so you can be updated on the conditions and any last minute updates to the course.

For 2024 we will be including kit checks prior to the start and spot checks for mandatory equipment both during and after the race.

How Do I Enter the Great Glen Paddle Challenge?

Jamie Harmen from Red Paddle Co did the event in 2023 and the team made a wee film about his experience.

You can view it here:




The Call | A Red Paddle Co Film from Red Paddle Co on Vimeo.

Great glen prizegiving


When is it?

Dates for 2024 are Friday 20th and Saturday 21st September. Registration will be on Thursday 19th September in the evening.


The majority of people tend to stay in Fort Augustus where there are a variety of local chalet options, Air BnB and campsite facilities. For those of you with campervans, overnight parking is possible in the Banavie Car Park and also in the lane down the side of the Canal as it enters Loch Ness. Overnight parking is NOT allowed in the main Fort Augustus car park.

Cut off Times

We have cut off times at checkpoints across the course of 14hrs for the one day event and 8.5hrs each day for the 2 day challenge. If a paddler does not arrive by the cut off time they can opt to continue paddling the course, but it will be as an individual paddler and not under the safety of the race. Your race number, bib and tracker must be removed. Please remember we will be paddling downwind so this will ensure a faster paddle time. If you choose to continue paddling as an individual paddler and not as part of the event you must sign a disclaimer at the checkpoint.

Water Craft Choice

Please ensure you paddle the correct water craft for the water conditions. We would advise one that is suitable for ocean conditions. The large bodies of water can resemble the ocean if the wind picks up. We do not advise the use of flat water narrow boards / boats.

Personal bags at checkpoints

At each start venue we will have bag drop off points. These points will be split by individual checkpoints. Please ensure you leave your bag at the drop off point relevant to which checkpoint you wish your bag to be taken. Please ensure bags are small/medium sized, no large holdalls.
At every checkpoint there will be a ‘bag pick up’ and ‘bag drop off point’. It will be the paddlers responsibility to collect and drop off their own bags. Marshalls will only be responsible for transporting bags to/from the checkpoint.


Please ensure you do not leave any litter along the course. Take everything with you.

Shuttles to and from start/finish

Transport to and from start/finish positions will be arranged between paddlers and their support. We advise everyone has this lined up in advance – if you are struggling for onshore support, please give Kelty and the team at Highland Yak Adventures a call on 07704 987325, or [email protected] . Highland Yaks can provide assistance with shuttles to/from start and finish areas.

Prizegiving party

Prize giving will be at Fort Augustus Village Hall after everyone has completed the course.
The team at Highland Hog Roasts will be providing the Prizegiving dinner this year, a delicious main course with salads and pudding.
We do not have a licence to provide alcohol, please bring your own.
Dogs are welcome. Parking is available on site (there is a small car park up the back of the village hall).

Great Glen Challenge Information

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