Go off road with the Craggy Island Triathlon

Author: 
Wild About Argyll

The Craggy Island Triathlon will have you diving into the open sea and swimming to the Inner Hebridean island of Kerrera where you’ll run and ride a spectacular off-road route. This must be one of the most beautiful – and wild – triathlons on the world. The west coast scenery is simply stunning, and there’s even a ruined castle at the finish line thrown in for good measure! If you love to get active in the great Scottish outdoors and get off the beaten track, then you need to go on an off-road island adventure with the Craggy Island Triathlon.

You start this unique Scottish triathlon by diving into the sea at Gallanach on the mainland in Oban and swimming 550m across the open water to Kerrera. Then you peel off your wetsuit, pull on your bike gear and it’s time to do an off-road 14km (ish) lap of the island on a mountain bike. The terrain is hilly and rugged, and the route follows a combination of quad bike tracks and paths. It’s not massively extreme, but it will test your mountain biking skills in some places. Just make sure you check out some of the scenery as you ride along. It’s simply breathtaking, with views across the Firth of Lorne and Sound of Mull.

The triathlon finishes with a 8km (ish) off-road run. The organisers describe it as ‘more like a hill-race than the cross country you might remember from school’. The route takes you across rough trackless boggy and wild hillsides. You’ll scale the highest point on Kerrera – 189m above sea level -  before you charge headlong back down to finish at the ruined (and achingly romantic) Gylen Castle at the southern end of the island. If that doesn’t capture your imagination, then we’re not sure what will!

There are two chances to compete in the Craggy Island Triathlon, on the Saturday and the Sunday. There’s also Craggy Island Kids on Sunday which gives youngsters a chance to join in the fun with a 150m swim, a 4.5km ride and a 2km run. If you don’t fancy doing the entire race, you can enter as a team of three, with one person doing the swim, one the ride and one the run. The entry fee for the Craggy Island Triathlon includes the race, your t-shirt and the ferry to the island to take your bike, run and post-race gear across and set-up for transition. The ferry journey from Oban to Kerrera takes just a few minutes.  

This is a beautiful part of the west coast of Scotland, so why not make a weekend of it (or more) and explore Oban and Lorn? Kerrera itself is a walkers’ and cyclists’ paradise. Lismore is another nearby island that’s well worth the short ferry journey, with wildlife, fascinating historical sites and glorious views. It’s only ten miles long, so easily explored by bike. Oban is a buzzing place with lots of shops, cafés and seafood restaurants. The town is known as ‘The Gateway to the Isles’, with ferry company CalMac providing an extensive service to the Inner and Outer Hebrides including Mull, Iona, Tiree and Coll, Lots of other companies offer boat trips from the town.

This year’s Craggy Island Triathlon takes place 7th and 8th October 2017. It’s full, but why not come along to spectate? You can cheer on the athletes, enjoy the scenery and get inspired for next year! The Craggy Island Triathlon is organised by Durty Events and is a fundraiser for the Oban Mountain Rescue Team.

Find out more about things to see and do in Oban & Lorn and other tri-events in Argyll.

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