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If you are the sort of person who looks at far-flung islands ‘at the edge of the map’ and wonders what is there, then the Outer Hebrides are for you.

*Timings on the day are subject to change pending confirmation of the ferry timetable.



*price per month, depending on start date, click here for more info on pricing

14 – 18 SEPT / 2023
19 - 23 SEPT / 2024
26 - 30 SEPT / 2025


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5 DAYS /



This adventure is for anyone with a general level of fitness.



4 nights accommodation (hotel, bunkhouse, hostel).


All meals included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew


Transfers to and from Tyndrum and ferry tickets.


Flexible transfer policy.


Professional 4x4 support vehicles, safety staff, medical, mechanical and welfare


Includes kayak and associated equipment rental.


High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.


Professional local and UK safety  staff, bike mechanic, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.


Your leader for this trip is James
 and he's the newest member of the Rat Race team and a multi-lingual running machine! Click below to find out more...




A wondrous archipelago forming a barrier from the wild Atlantic and Scotland’s West Coast, some of these islands are interconnected with causeways and some are separated by sea. In all, the island chain stretches some 150 miles and we intend to hoover up all of that distance from the Butt of Lewis in the north, to tiny Vatersay in the south, using a multisport selection of bike, foot and sea kayak.

A highly supported affair, you will enjoy a fully inclusive package including meals, accommodation, Pit Stop support en route, plus mechanical assistance on the bike legs. We have made getting there easy too, featuring a full package of logistics commencing on the Scottish mainland at Tyndrum, (1.5 hrs north of Glasgow) and including all road and ferry travel required to get you and your kit to and from the Isles.


14 SEPT 2023 / 19 SEPT 2024 / 26 SEPT 2024

We will meet and greet, park cars and then take the 4 hour drive north to Ullapool, where we board the ferry for the 2.5 hour crossing to Stornoway. Whilst on board we will have some initial briefings. There is also the opportunity to have something to eat on the boat. Then we will dock in Stornoway. We will make for the accommodation and try and get our heads down for an early night, after sorting kit.


15 SEPT 2023 / 20 SEPT 2024 / 27 SEPT 2024

We will start early from the accommodation and drive north from Stornoway to the Butt of Lewis – the very northern tip of the Outer Hebridean Island Chain and home to an exceptionally impressive lighthouse. It’s wheels up from there for a stunning cycle ride through Lewis, stopping at some superb tourist sights on route, such as the famous Callanish Standing Stones. We will dovetail these stops with Pit stop service so you are never far from some snacks and drinks from the vehicles. The riding is on smooth tarmac and the roads are extremely quiet.  

As we progress, we will switch from the west coast of Lewis, head over the ‘hump’ of the island and end up on the east coast, heading to Harris (which is attached to Lewis – it is all one landmass). We will then end up dropping the bikes for a lovely little run, with stunning views out to sea. Once complete, it’s back on the bikes for some fairly chunky hills, coming up and through a couple of fairly decent mountain passes on Harris before descending back to the coast and reaching out terminus at the southern tip of Harris at Leverburgh.

TOTAL DISTANCE: Bike: 88 miles / Foot: 6 miles


16 SEPT 2023 / 21 SEPT 2024 / 28 SEPT 2024

If conditions permit, we will saddle up our kayaks for the exhilarating crossing of the Sound of Harris. These shallow waters harbour much marine life and a cornucopia of islands, islets and exposed rock formations. It is simply World-class paddling. The ‘Plan B’ route would be to use the ferry and to travel over with the vehicles.

One ashore at Berneray, we will get back on the bikes to continue the journey south, passing today from Bernerary and through the whole of North Uist, Benbecula and onto South Uist. Towards the bottom of South Uist, we find a brilliant sandy (but firm) beach crossing, which if you are riding a cross-bike will be a unique and fairly surreal encounter. Road bikes can have a go (!) or you can stick to the road which runs adjacent. We will terminate the day at Eriskay and then head to our accommodation.

TOTAL DISTANCE: Kayak: 7 miles (approx) / Bike: 62 miles


17 SEPT 2023 / 22 SEPT 2024 / 29 SEPT 2024

Another aquatic start to the day will see us cross the Sound of Barra (weather permitting) and come ashore to then head off on the bikes again for a short ride section. We will climb up and over the island to reach the southern-western portion, where we will don footwear again to reach the high point of the island at the summit of Heaval. If we weather is kind to us, the views from the top are simply sensational. It’s a quick descent from the hill to grab our bikes for one more ride, this time to the very south of the island chain. We will finish our journey at the magnificent beach on Vatersay, amongst the feral cattle!

TOTAL DISTANCE: Kayak: 8 miles (approx) / Bike: 15 miles / Foot: 3 miles / Bike: 6 miles


18 SEPT 2023 / 23 SEPT 2024 / 30 SEPT 2024

An early start will see us arriving at the port for an 0615 check in for the ferry back to the mainland, sailing into Oban and then heading back over to Tyndrum in the transports. We expect to arrive back where we left some 4 days previously at around 1400. At this point you may connect with onward train travel or pick up your car. Phew! What a trip…



We will use a HOSTEL, plus a very nice BUNKHOUSE and a HOTEL. We will finish off in Barra in a lovely hostel overlooking the Bay. In all locations, your accommodation is inclusive within your entry fee. Hotel and B and B accommodation is always offered on a double or twin room basis. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with another participants of the same sex in a twin room. At the bunkhouse and hostel, the rooms are mixed dorm-style affairs. Very comfortable and equipped with kitchens also, although we will cook meals for you.



Brekky will vary with our location day-to-day. When we are stating early (which comes part and parcel of such an epic journey!) then we will provide ‘grab n’ go’ materials – pastries, fruit, porridge pots, yoghurts and other simple items that you can either eat before the off, or take with you on the initial portion of the route that day.


We will typically eat at the accommodation we are staying in, or a close-by local restaurant. When in the hostel and the bunkhouse, our crew will prepare a hearty meal, and tea, coffee and cold drinks will be available throughout. At all times in restaurants or hotel, Rat Race will provide a hearty main course and dessert; if you wish to augment with other selections in the restaurants, you may do so. You will settle the bar bill for your own drinks. On the final night in Barra, the first round is on us!


During the challenge we will endeavour to set-up our famously well-stocked Pit Stops multiple times throughout the journey: A minimum of twice per day when you are on the bikes stages. You will also be able to carry your own snacks (and stock up from ours) on the bikes also – meaning you always have snacks aplenty onboard.

On all stages, the Pit Stops will typically be set-up from our vehicle support team at set spots on the route.. At all times we will ensure that participants have access to adequate sustenance and supplies to keep them energised throughout all stages.

Pit stops will typically have a minimum of the following available:

Water – Ensure you leave with water bottles and bladders filled so you have enough to get you to the next Pit Stop.
Sports Food Bars – oat-type bars for maximum energy.
Salty snacks – such as chips and peanuts.
Savoury treats – We will feature some fresh local foods and other goodies at selected pit stops, around lunchtime.
A fruit option – such as oranges, bananas, melon and watermelon.
Sweets – including local speciality sweet treats.

Our Pit Stops are there to help supplement any personal sports nutrition plan you may have – if you use gels and other such products – you should plan to bring these with you. If you have any special dietary requirements, then please also plan for this and pack your kit accordingly. Rat Race aim to offer Pit Stop snacks that are tasty and functional, catering to as broad a mix of needs and diets as possible. We have options available that are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets and availability of this will depend on demand. If peanuts are served these will be in individual portioned bags to reduce the chance of contamination but Rat Race cannot guarantee that the food does not contain contamination from allergens such as nuts or gluten in its preparation or serving.

Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire. 

The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather, injury or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, it is very unlikely that the bike sections will change. It is possible, but unlikely, that the foot sections will change (aside from extreme weather). It is entirely possible that the kayak sections will change based on local conditions and weather at the time. The contingency in the case of the kayak stages at all times is, if we need to pull the kayak stage, we will take the ferry across the sound instead. Still an equalling rewarding and exhilarating journey!

We are mindful that people will inevitably have varying distances to travel to get to Scotland. Our plan allows an easy logistic to get to the starting point on the Scottish mainland at Tyndrum, with us then providing all onward travel to and back from Tip to Toe. Tyndrum is therefore the start and finish point of our set itinerary.

We have designed this challenge so that you may travel at your own pace. See below for our notes on route-finding and guidance. There will also be some cut-offs, but in the true Rat Race tradition these will be generous and we will always look to help you to achive your goals in finishing this challenge, vs having to pull out. Of course, we are giving you some early starts to allow the very best possible window for route completion. But, if you need us and if you need to abandon the route for whatever reason, we are there for you. The absolute key is that you enjoy this amazing journey from the northern tip of the island chain to the south; at your own pace and within your own limits.

We want you to concentrate on the views and the hard work of putting one foot in front of the other. So we don’t want you to be staring at maps or navigational aids any more than you have to. There is no formal waymarking (i.e. signs) used on this event. Instead, we will provide and then be asking you to download a route file that you will be able to download onto your smartphone or GPS device. You will follow this ‘line’ when on foot and can use this as a back-up at all times. You may use your own device or rent one from us.

We will then augment this with some marshalled junctions or key turning points.


Don’t worry – you won’t get lost. But if you do – support is never far away.

We will use a mixture of safety staff, pit stops and support vehicles to support you at intervals by our mobile ‘pit stop’ team. We will have multiple vehicles at our disposal, plus multiple staff members, snacks and drinks to distribute. So, if it does get too much, if you overheat, get too cold, need sustenance, motivational support or otherwise, we should be able to assist. You are in good hands.

You will be transferred from Tyndrum to the isles and back again. Indeed all transfers throughout the challenge are fully inclusive within the format.

As an alternative, you may wish to fly to the Isles from Glasgow International airport. See our advice on that here.

Click Buy Event Voucher Now and go through the sign up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.

Yes. See our specification on food and accommodation in the section above.

Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration.

This is a big challenge set over multiple disciplines. BUT the Rat Race ethos is to extraordinary challenges for ordinary people. You do not need super-technical skills or to be a seasoned endurance athlete. It is a wonderfully varied route. You need a good base fitness and train for a big mountain ascent over several hours. It’s a very big undertaking, but it is definitely designed to be ‘doable;’ and not a sufferfest. You have it in you. We will ensure we support you the very best way we possible can. There is enough time to trek the whole thing and unless you really are off the pace, we will try not to cut you off.

A road bike or a cyclocross bike.

Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.

This is a big challenge set over multiple disciplines. BUT the Rat Race ethos is to extraordinary challenges for ordinary people. You do not need super-technical skills or to be a seasoned endurance athlete. It is a wonderfully varied route. You need a good base fitness and train for a big mountain ascent over several hours. It’s a very big undertaking, but it is definitely designed to be ‘doable;’ and not a sufferfest. You have it in you. We will ensure we support you the very best way we possible can. There is enough time to trek the whole thing and unless you really are off the pace, we will try not to cut you off.

We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.

Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately three months ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.


If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also contact you if any of your payments have been missed. Please ensure you regularly check your spam folders and have and added to your ‘approved / safe’ email senders.

Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.

Race entry includes a brilliant finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tech tee. We will request your t-shirt size in  the event details form 3 months ahead of the event and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.

The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.

If you need to bail, we will collect you via the Sweeper vehicles and move you forwards on the course (subject to medical advice if it is a medical issue that has forced you to pull out). We are unable to transport you backwards (i.e. we cannot take you back to the start). If you need to pull out where we cannot access the route with vehicles as easily, in all cases we will ask you to move to a location where we can acces by vehicle, or we will evacuate with medical personnel if required.

Mixed. See the itinerary for more details.

This kit list is from our 2022 event - you will be notified of any changes to this list ahead of the event you have signed up for. Subject to small changes depending on weather conditions.

What’s the weather like?
September in the Isles can be chilly, mild, can be wet, can be dry, can be windy, might be sunny. Anything goes. But even if the air is dry, the ground is likely to be wet.

Sun protection
Protection from the Sun is important even if it’s not the sunniest of places or times of year. Being outside for this long will take its toll. So sunglasses with good UV protection are a must, as is sun cream. We would always recommend factor 50 as you simply need to apply it less often. You are outside for a good long time after all. Try and get a sweat-resistant brand.

Wet weather gear

Water from the Heavens could be a solid (er, liquid) feature of this trip. Waterproof everything (except run footwear*) will be required. Aim to waterproof your whole body; tops, bottoms, head, feet, hands. For bike and run stages. *Draining, fast drying footwear is better than Gore-Tex footwear for the run stages – as water is retained in these and does not drain. Of course, the foot stages are short on this trip.

Night time gear

For the accommodation, we are indoors. Bedding should be provided. But either way, carrying your own sleeping bag is good practice on such trips and we would therefore insist you bring a sleeping bag. Bring a sleeping bag liner too as sometimes bunkhouses insist on these to be used in conjunction with their bedding.

Bring also a decent change of comfy casual clothes for night-time meals and a sleeping set, so you have a nice dry set of sleeping clothes to retire into at the end of each day. Dry clothes to change into will likely be a godsend on this trip.

Some electrolyte tablets for water and other sports nutrition is recommended just to have in your packs, so that you are self-sufficient with items that work for you. We will have some food and beverages from the vehicle support, but would ask that you provide your own sports nutrition as it’s a fairly personal thing.


Here’s a rundown. We may revise this nearer the time but this should give you a good idea at this stage.

Note: All items are mandatory, unless it says recommended, where they are, well, recommended!

Trekking or trail running

  • Trail running/walking footwear or lightweight boots

  • Daypack (Ultra running vest or a small backpack – between 10 and 20 litres) is fine – BUY HERE

  • Water carrying capacity minimum 1.5l (Bottles, soft flasks or bladder system are all fine – or a combo)Spare evening footwear, such as Crocs.

  • Trail running/walking apparel – shorts, technical wicking tee/ base layer, long-sleeved wicking layer, mid-layer (e.g. microfleece)

  • Waterproof upper body and leg cover – BUY HERE

  • Buff or similar neck gaiter, and sun hat/cap – BUY HERE

  • Spare base and mid layers

  • Socks; consider neoprene and GoreTex, as well as warmer sport socks. Also consider a 2-sock system with a toed liner sock (e.g. ininji) and an outer, cooler trekking sock. We are told our own Rat Race Merino socks are pretty good, too!

  • Blister care kit

  • Personal bivvy bag – BUY ONE HERE

  • First Aid kit – BUY HERE

  • Water bottle, and/or cup or Hydration system for rucksack – BUY HERE

  • Trekking poles (optional but recommended – the run stages are short but there are some steep sections)

  • Headtorch, waterproof to IPX7 standard, minimum 150 lumens + spare batteries or second headtorch. 

  • GPS device or smartphone


Bike Stages

  • Road bike or cyclocross bike (your own or hired)

  • Bike shoes and cleats (optional – hire bikes will be provided with flats but you may substitute with cleats as required)

  • Cycling jersey

  • Cycling shorts

  • Cycling gloves

  • Cycling waterproofs inc (recommended) booties

  • Water carrying capacity minimum 1.5l (as with foot sections – bottles, soft flasks or bladder systems are all fine – or a combo)

  • Bike handpump

  • Bike multitool

  • Bike puncture repair kit – to include spare inner tubes, slime (if you use it) or spare CO2 canisters

  • Handlebar Mount for a smartphone or GPS device (so you can view the route when sat on your bike)

  • We will carry a track-pump with us on each support vehicle.

  • Front and rear bike lights

  • Some form of hi-vis top/patches for road cycling

  • Basic bike spares and tools to include:

    • spare chain

    • brake pads

    • inner tubes

    • spare tyre

    • Puncture repair kit (or tyre repair kit if tubeless)

    • Pump/CO2 canisters

    • Small toolkit, inc multi-tool

    • Chain tool

    • Tyre levers

Bikes must be fully serviced prior to the event and any work parts replaced as access to specific spares is very limited on the islands.

Water stages - kayak

  • Buoyancy aid, paddle and kayak will be provided

  • You should dress in waterproofs and technical wicking undergarments. These can be the same ones you have used on the run or ride stages. Please remember you will be sitting stationary and WILL get wet. Avoid cotton and use technical wicking fabrics