June date for first Cairngorms Ultra Trail race
UTMB points as well as gorgeous scenery on offer at new Aberdeenshire ultra
A brand new ultra, based in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, is set to go ahead this summer. The Cairngorms Ultra Trail race will be held on Saturday, 5 June, starting and finishing at Mar Lodge, on the Mar Lodge Estate, near Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
Organisers High Terrain Events promise their new event will take runners on ‘journey through [a] wild and majestic landscape and into the heart of one of Britain’s real wilderness areas’.
And what a journey it will be. The 62km (38 mile) circular route of the wide-open spaces of the Ben Avon Plateau will follow old drove roads and pass between some of the highest peaks in Britain – giving runners the chance to experience ‘the wild heart of the National Park’ without trekking over major summits.
In total, the almost fully off-road route – saving a few minor roads at the start and finish – features 1146m (3760 feet) of ascent, with no major climbs or descents. The highest point of the route will be at Lairig an Laoigh (‘The Pass of the Calves’), at 745m (2444 feet).
The route – which will also take in Glen Derry, Glen Avon, Loch Builg, Invercauld Forest and the Linn of Quoich – broadly follows well defined paths and tracks, making it suitable for those more comfortable with non-technical terrain.
Participants should be prepared, though, to cross several burns, in particular the 'Fords of Avon', where they may encounter boggy terrain. An alternative route will be put in place if water levels are too high for a safe crossing.
Camping should be available at Mar Lodge on both the Friday and Saturday nights.
If the event is cancelled due to Covid-19 regulations, participants will be offered either a full refund minus 6% of the entry fee, a deferral to the 2022 event or a transfer to a selected 2021/22 High Terrain event of similar value.
Image courtesy: High Terrain Events