Race day starts at 5.30-6am and finishes by 9pm, accommodation is anywhere flat and/or dry enough to pitch your tent, food is oatcakes, bananas, pot noodle and nuts, weather is grim and the point is???
Rising over a bealach in the wide glen determined to keep out the grannie ring and spread before you is island wilderness in all its unassuming beauty , a single track descent seemingly carved by the Gods themselves allowing speed but control, cornering bordered by soft but compact verges and a run out that sweeps to a stop by a lochan inviting a sip or a dip.
Road cyclists were pushed to their limit on huge sections, 50km of snaking single track, gruelling ascents and supersonic descents worrying only about straying sheep or loose gravel.

The challenge is to take a team of five from the southern tip of the Hebridean archipelago and end 6 days later at the Butt of Lewis by human power only, either running, cycling, swimming or kayaking. A huge orienteering game with points and times and routes and rules and marshals and logistics and team work and determination and a little bit of lunacy.

It was the second time our 3 family team had completed the challenge and were joined by a gringo from Glasgow and a rookie from Kent but both were troopers.

As the only female in the team I survived five days of farting, stinky cycle shorts, crispy socks, one teaspoon for everything, snoring in very close proximity – and that was just me!!
It was a fab week, loads of rain but it made the azure blue of the seas spread round the skirt of hills we were standing atop feel all the more special in its rarity.

Anyone who fancies a challenge that will push them physically and mentally, loves the rugged outdoors, is proficient at navigation and gets on with people should give it a go, the evenings spent en masse in village halls seated at solid tables groaning with homecooked delights of island fare and sharing stories of the days exploits is worth every knee aching, foot blistering, midge bitten second

Have a dander at YouTube search Hebridean Challenge to get a flavour of our version at least!

Eilid Ormiston