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SWIFT HALF

A pint-sized challenge to climb half the Munros in Glencoe in half a day, finishing with a swift half at the inn!

Distance 22km approx.

Ascent 2500m approx.

The Route

Starting and finishing at the Clachaig Inn, the Swift Half round lies at the very heart of Glencoe. The route takes-in the dramatic Munro summits of the Aonach Eagach (Meall Dearg, 953m and Sgurr nam Fiannaidh, 967m) and Three Sisters of Glencoe (Bidean nam Bian, 1150m and Stob Coire Sgreamhach, 1072m). The route includes exposed scrambling (Grade 2), steep scree and tons of vert, so it packs quite the punch over just 22km! – supported by SILVA

Swift Half map sales will raise money for the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team’s 2024 Crowdfunder, raising funds for an extension to their base in Glencoe village (£5 per HARVEY map).

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Rules of the Round

  • All checkpoints to be visited in a closed loop from the Clachaig Inn.

  • Clockwise of anticlockwise

  • Route variations permitted

  • No wings or wheels

  • Time limit 12h

Complete the round within 12h to add your name to the completions table and receive your e-certificate (simply email your GPX, Strava link or equivalent to info@girlsonhills.com). Suitable for hill walkers and runners! Rounds completed before 01/10/24 will automatically be entered into our prizedraw*

 

History of the Round

The Clachaig Inn dates back to the 16th century and marks the start and finish of the Swift Half round. This award-winning outdoor pub has provided accommodation and hospitality for travellers, climbers and mountaineers over the centuries and is still the first port of call for those descending from the crags and summits of the glen, in need of a hot meal or well-earned pint!

The Clachaig Inn has been owned and run by the Daynes family since 1984 and is currently rests in the safe hands of brothers Guy & Ed Daynes. Ed is an accomplished mountaineer and die-hard Lochaber Athletic Club (LAC) member, who has been a valued member of the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team since 1986. My first rescue was in Fionn Glen and involved a search for a walker on Sgurr na h-ulaidh’

“When I was about 19 years old, I used to fill the gaps in my working day by heading up the hills. I came to know these hills like a shepherd would. Eventually I decided to try a link-up involving Clachaig Gully and along the Aonach Eagach ridge to Buachaille Etive Mor, then up Curved Ridge and over Bidean to finish down Coire nam Beith. I ran this line in 1986 with the aim of getting it done and making back to work for my 5pm shift at the inn!’ There were others who also saw the appeal of this loop around that time but I believe Cameron McNeish reported my round in Climber magazine at the time"  – Ed Daynes

In 2015, the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline came to the area, bringing elite runners, international athletes and big brands to the glen. The 52km/6000m skyrace was part of the ‘Extreme’ Skyrunning World Series in 2016 and for a while the rugged peaks and technical trails of Glencoe gained notoriety among mountain runners on a global scale. The final race took place in 2023 and at present is not set to continue.

In 2018, local runners Keri Wallace and Nancy Kennedy set up Girls on Hills in Glencoe - a guided running company aimed at empowering women with the skills and confidence necessary to become more independent in the mountains. The company soon became official recce providers of the Salomon Skyline Scotland races and created a number of local mountain rounds of their own during the Covid years. Amongst these was the Glencoe Corbetts Round, Six Ridges of Buachaille Etive Mor and the (Ken Wilson) Glencoe Classic Rock 24h Challenge. Keri also set a women’s first/fastest known time (FKT) of 12h 09mins for the ‘Round of Glencoe’, established in 1980 by Bobby Shields but extended by Peter Duggan in 2006. The male record is currently held by local legend Finlay Wild, who completed the 38km/4400m round in 6h 35mins!

Keri Wallace has long been fascinated with mountain rounds and has recently written a book ‘Running Challenges’ with Vertebrate Publishing that is available for pre-order (publication date July 18th).

Both Keri and Nancy are affiliated with the Glencoe Mountain Rescue team, with Keri a previous volunteer (2012-2015) and team secretary, while Nancy has been the voice on the line (‘callout girl’) since 1989. 

 

Fundraising

You can buy your Swift Half map, produced by HARVEY maps HERE. All 2024 profits will go to Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team to assist in fundraising for their centre extension in the village. Anyone completing the challenge before 01/10/24 will automatically be entered into our prizedraw to win a bundle of goodies from SILVA, Vertebrate Publishing, the Clachaig Inn and Girls on Hills.

You can also donate to Glencoe MRT via JustGiving at: Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team’s 2024 Crowdfunder

To improve access to the mountains for women facing additional barriers, please consider donating to the Girls on Hills not-for-profit Access Fund via Crowdfunder.

 

Ethos

‘The idea of the Swift Half is to make a loop of the most iconic part of the glen, blending running with scrambling in ‘skyrunning’ style, travelling over the notoriously technical terrain. Our aim is to recreate some of the Glen Coe Skyline magic but in a shorter and more accessible format that is attainable by walkers/fast-hikers and hill runners alike’ – Founder. Keri Wallace

Drawing inspiration from fell-running, the challenge does not stipulate a fixed route but encourages contenders to get creative and run, hike, climb or scramble to link the checkpoints. Run solo, supported or as a team. Race it, recce it or relish it, just make sure you have fun!

 

A Note on Safety

The Swift Half is not a fell running round. It requires technical mountain running and scrambling experience (and ideally a head for heights!) The Aonach Eagach ridge, is an exposed Grade 2 scramble and is a committing ridgeline, which is not easily escapable.

Please exercise caution on the hillside between the summit of Sgurr nam Fiannaidh and the A82. The top section is extremely loose/steep scree and the trail is intermittent. The safest line is to ascend/descend via the trail for the Pap of Glencoe (trail junction is NN124585). Also note that the loose trod on the W side of Clachaig Gully is a notorious accident hotspot and is not recommended.

Glencoe’s north-facing coires often hold snow late into spring, which can make them impassable. Please check conditions before starting out on the round. As a ‘challenge’ rather than an event, Girls on Hills and partners cannot be held responsible for any accidents, damages or injuries that occur during an attempt on this round. In case of emergency, please call 999 or 112 and ask for Police and Mountain Rescue.

If you are unsure whether this challenge is for you, consider hiring a mountain leader from Girls on Hills to undertake a guided recce first (email info@girlsonhills.com).

 

Visiting the area

Please park responsibly and leave no trace when enjoying the mountains in the Glencoe National Nature Reserve (which is owned and managed by National Trust for Scotland). There are no toilet facilities in the glen (the main village car park has a public toilet).

To learn about the history and management of the Glencoe area, visit the Glencoe Visitor Centre on the A82 just outside of the village. For information on local food and accommodation providers see Discover Glencoe.

The glen can be accessed on foot or by bike on the new Glencoe Orbital Track, known as the Greenway. This links the village to the Clachaig Inn and connects to the route of the Swift Half challenge. You can support the management and upkeep of Glencoe by donating towards the Lovetheglen campaign.

 

Sponsors

SILVA is the lead sponsor of the Swift Half challenge. SILVA Global are market-leading manufacturers of adventure-proof equipment. Trustworthy, durable and user-friendly equipment for the nature enthusiasts. SILVA produce an innovative range of trail running equipment including headtorches, vests, drybags, compasses, accessories and running poles.

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