Start Points

You have a choice of 14 sign-out points including our brand new start point Portavadie. The registers are mostly held by small family-run hotels or Youth Hostels. They have all been very supportive of the event over the years so, whilst there is no compulsion to do so, we would encourage Challengers to consider them when booking accommodation or choosing somewhere to eat. Several fine start points, Ardrishaig, Glenelg, Plockton and Torridon, have been lightly used in recent years and we would encourage regular Challengers to try them out or consider being one fo he first to use Portavadie.

Acharacle

A small village at the south end of Loch Shiel.  A mile or so from the coast where you can dip your toes in the Atlantic at Castle Tioram or the “Singing Sands”. It gives access to plenty of Corbetts in Ardgour. Loch Linnhe can be crossed by ferry at Corran or Camusnagaul.

Register: Loch Shiel Hotel, 01967 431224, info@lochshielhotel.com The hotel requests you do not camp on the lawn – just ask and they will point you to suitable spots.

Getting there: Bus or train to Fort William to connect with  Shiel Buses’  afternoon  service which also doubles as the school bus.  The bus does not run on Sundays.

Ardrishaig

A small town at the east end of the Crinan Canal, on Loch Fyne which actually faces east. Relatively lightly used but offers a great start with a chance to explore a mass of ancient artefacts and some lonely moorlands. Don’t be put off by the forestry – there are ways of avoiding it if you are willing to explore a little!

Register: The Grey Gull Hotel, 01546 606017, greygullhotel@gmail.com

Getting there: Citylink service from Glasgow Buchanan Street  or if you are feeling adventurous buses and ferries via Gourock, Portavadie and Tarbert.

 

Dornie

Dornie is a small village between Lochs Alsh and Duich. A beautiful setting with Eilean Donan Castle as a dramatic backdrop for your start photos and you are soon walking in remote country.

Register: Dornie Hotel, 01599 555205, dorniehotel@hotmail.co.uk

Getting there: Citylink bus from Glasgow Buchanan Street station. If coming from the south of England look at flying to Inverness  then train to Kyle of Lochalsh and bus to Dornie.

Glenelg

Glenelg is lovely village facing Skye offering the chance to explore some beautiful remote country. Not as easy to access as some but well worth the effort. It has an excellent community café and the Glenelg Inn is perfect for a pre Challenge meal.

Register:  Held in the porch of Mrs Davidsons house, Taobh na Mara NG 809 190 – 01599 522310 .  She also offers B&B to Challengers.

Getting there:  You can get to Shiel Bridge by Citylink bus  but then you need a little ingenuity! Taxis may be available from Shiel Bridge – Challengers often combine forces via the message board to reduce costs.  If you have a spare half day you can walk from Glenelg via the Mam Ratagan or around the coast.

Kilchoan

Kilchoan is a small remote community on the western tip of the Ardnamurchan peninsula.  It’s one for those who are not in a hurry as it adds a day or so to most routes but it offers a chance to start from the Scottish mainlands most westerly ground – Ardamurchan Point. You can follow the peninsula’s fabulous north coast including Sanna Bay or access Morvern via the east the ferries to Tobermory and from Fishnish to Lochaline.

RegisterKilchoan Hotel, 01972 510200, info@kilchoanhotel.co.uk

Getting there: One bus a day from Fort William Monday to Saturday operated by Shiel Buses. It might not look far on the map but it takes 3 hours!  Alternatively from Oban take the ferry to Mull then bus to Tobomory and ferry to Kilchoan.

 

Lochailort

The Lochailort Hotel sits at head of the sea loch and gives access to some truly wild country.  To the south the rough Ardgour Corbetts and to the north many will walk along Loch Beoraid or over to Oban bothy.  All routes are hard going, often pathless but rewarding.  It’s a great start point for those with previous Challenge experience but not ideal if this will be your first walk in Scotland.

Register: Lochailort Inn 01687 470208 enquires@lochailortinn.co.uk

Getting there: Lochailort has it’s own stop on the beautiful Fort William-Mallaig  rail line.

Mallaig

Mallaig is a bustling fishing port and is one of the most popular start points, especially with first timers. Many take the ferry to Knoydart which is a spectacular way to start a crossing, but with a little imagination there are routes you can fashion without crossing the water…

Register: West Highland Hotel 01687 460251 info@westhighlandhotel.co.uk

Getting there: From Fort William take the Scotrail service or the Jacobite Steam train along the West Highland line.

 

 

Morar

Morar is a small village with a superb beach and views to Rum. Another start point best used by regular  those with experience of trackless walking in Scotland as it offers challenging but rewarding routes over very rough ground in the Loch Morar area. It has been lightly used but the Morar Hotel is now very welcoming to Challengers so if you’ve a few crossings under your belt why not give it a go.

Register: Morar Hotel,01687 462346, bookings@morarhotel.co.uk

Getting there:  The train station on the Mallaig Line is opposite the hotel.

Oban

Oban is a major tourist town and ferry port.  It is another of our popular start points . Most routes involve a bit of road walking to start with but there are a myriad of possible routes including the option to take a ferry to Mull or Lismore.

Register: Oban Youth Hostel,  01631 562 025, oban@hostellingscotland.co.uk

Getting there: Regular services from Glasgow by Scotrail or Citylink buses

Plockton

Plockton is a very pretty village which actually faces east! Another lightly used start point as routes out are not initially obvious but a bit of invention and a sense of adventure will lead you to some remote and lonely places where very few day walkers venture.

Register: Plockton Hotel, 01599 544 274, info@plocktonhotel.co.uk

Getting there:  Most easily accessed from Inverness via the Kyle of Lochalsh rail line. Alternatively Citylink bus to Kyle and taxi or walk to Plockton.

Portavadie

New for 2019!  Portavadie is on the southern tip of the Cowal Peninsula giving access to the Cowal Way and a host of infrequently visited smaller hills.

Register: Portavadie Marina, 01700 811075, info@portavadie.com

Getting there:  Bus  Glasgow to Gourock, ferry to Dunnoon then bus to Portavadie via Dunoon or Citylink bus via Ardrishaig to connect with Tarbert ferry.

Shiel Bridge

Shiel Bridge is a small settlement at head of Loch Duich.  It is often our most popular start point as it gives quick access to remote country  on relatively good paths and a plethora of Munros for those seeking a high route.

Register:  Kintail Lodge Hotel,  01599 511275,  reception@kintaillodgehotel.co.uk. Bunkhouse accomodation also available.

Getting there: Citylink bus from Glasgow Buchan Street station.  From Inverness train to Kyle of Lochalsh and bus to Shiel Bridge.

Strathcarron is a straggly village just inland from the sea loch. It is another start that gives you quick access to remote, wild territory and a variety of challenging routes that will involve some pathless trekking which ever way you go.

Register: Strathcarron Hotel,  01520 722 227, strathcarronhotel@gmail.com.

Getting there:By train from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Inverness then change onto the Kyle of Lochalsh line.  The start hotel is next to the station.

Please note currently there is no lunchtime or evening food available at the hotel.  The proprietor assures us he will ferry people to the Loch Carron Hotel, 1 mile away, for an evening meal.

Torridon

A small village on its titular loch under spectacular mountains. It’s another start point that requires a bit of planning to get there.  However it is well worth the effort with several wonderful stalkers paths leading through spectacular scenery though the tough terrain makes it better suited to those with Scottish experience.

Register: Torridon Youth Hostel, 01445 791284, torridon@hostellingscotland.org.uk

Getting there:   Kyle of Lochalsh train from Inverness to Strathcarron. The afternoon train connects with the DKM motors(01520 722682) bus service to Torridon most days. In 2018 it did not run on Fridays. This is a 14 seater bus and cannot be pre-booked.   Challengers have often got together via the message board to organise taxis from Inverness.

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