Competitors at the first Cape Wrath Ultra, pictured in 2016 (Photo: Ian Corless)
Competitors at the first Cape Wrath Ultra, pictured in 2016 (Photo: Ian Corless)

Cape Wrath Ultra is all set to get underway

Almost 200 runners will set off on Sunday (May 20) in the Scottish Highlands for the extreme Cape Wrath Ultra Race 2018.

The 190 participants are from 23 countries worldwide and include 21 from Scotland.

They face an eight-day expedition race over 400km with a total ascent of 11,200m into some of the wildest areas of the Scottish Highlands.

It is only the second time the Cape Wrath Ultra has been staged and this time there will be double the number of runners.

Last time, participants hailed the ultra as a bucket list race. The Cape Wrath Ultra also was said to be Scotland’s answer to the Marathon Des Sables.

The route of the Cape Wrath Ultra is based on the long-distance Cape Wrath Trail.

The average time to walk the Cape Wrath Trail is three weeks, yet the ultra runners will have just eight days to finish. There will be strict cut-off times.

The race starts in Fort William at 10am on May 20 and finishes at the lighthouse on the cliffs of Cape Wrath, the UK’s most north-westerly mainland point, on May 27.

Competitors at the first Cape Wrath Ultra, pictured in 2016 (Photo: Ian Corless)

They will need to make more than 100 river crossings and many could be in spate.

It is a biennial event – and has been created by the same organisers as the legendary Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race.

Two runners to watch out for in the Cape Wrath Ultra include Jim Mann and Carol Morgan, both winners of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back.

Race director, Shane Ohly, of Ourea Events, said: ‘The Cape Wrath Ultra is an extreme challenge with runners crossing some of the wildest and remotest terrain in the UK.

‘It’s not a route designed to cross or climb mountains but to take the natural line through the mountains. We have created a logical route dating back to ancient times.’

Completion of the race requires dedication to training, endurance, self-reliance, navigational skills, confidence and self-belief. Yet even then it will test the toughest of competitors.

Last year, in almost perfect weather, more than a third of participants did not finish.

The 2016 female race winner, Ita Emanuela Marzotto, of Italy, said it was: ‘the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was tougher than the Marathon Des Sables.’

Shane added: ‘I can’t wait to welcome the 2018 runners to Fort William this weekend.’