5 Scottish Extreme Endurance Challenges

Which Scottish Endurance Challenge Is For You?

Although there are plenty of negative stereotypes that have dogged Scottish culture for decades – battered Mars bars, excessive drinking, drug use – there is a new international arena that the country has become a big player in recently.


The endurance challenge has grown exponentially in popularity over the past few years, with Social Media, and changing lifestyles, proving to be the catalyst in convincing more and more people to throw themselves into physically challenging situations.

With the the expansive reaches of Scotland’s four National Parks, as well as the daunting, rugged terrain of the Highlands, providing a stunning backdrop for any Ultrarun – the country has become the unofficial home of the endurance race. Conditions can be unpredictable at best, but the rewards are almost always worth the effort.

Here are the 5 most extreme races you can have a go at in Scotland:


During January, the temperatures in the Highlands are at their lowest, getting as low as freezing up in the mountains. What then, could be a better idea than a 24 hours mountain bike endurance event? Laps of 11km are undertaken throughout the day and night, with riders finishing the time trial by 11am the next day.


If you were hoping for the course to be illuminated during the night, then you’ll be in luck…kind of. Riders are kitted out with ultra-bright torches – one for the bike and for the helmet – so hundreds of lights can be seen winding their way through the forest during the course of the night.

The Mighty Deerstalker

Another all-night event that, this time with a real madcap sense of fun. The Mighty Deerstalker is a ’10k and a bit’ that combines the endurance challenge of a fell run with the exhilarating hilarity of a night-time obstacle course.


Although the event’s distance isn’t much of a challenge in itself, the sheer variety of challenges and environments here is enough to make any seasoned runner’s head spin. Once more the forests of the Highlands are lit by intrepid adventurers, all urged on by the promise of a Finish Line party, with music and beer.

The Great Glen Ultra

Never has the term ‘ultramarathon’ ever been more fitting. The 71 miles that cross the distance from the feet of Ben Nevis to Inverness are known for being as beautiful as they are challenging.


Not for the faint-hearted, each challenger has 22 hours to cover the mammoth distance in one piece. On the way they’ll run by gorgeous lochs and climb through sunning forests to reach dramatic vistas – but with the clock always ticking, there’s not any time to stop and look!

Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon

What could be harder than an open water swim, followed by a 15 mile run over 7 peaks finished off with a 35 mile bike ride? How about throwing in a 7-mile kayak? The total ascent of the hike alone is over 8,000ft – which is the equivalent of hiking up Ben Nevis twice.


To round it all off, the race isn’t even clearly sign posted. An extra challenge for competitors is navigating the route. With conditions varying greatly throughout July, it’s important keep your wits about you when attempting one of the toughest multi-discipline events around.

Charlie Ramsay’s Round

One of the oldest of it’s kind in the World, this endurance challenge takes place across the massive peaks that surround Ben Nevis. Undoubtedly one of the toughest physical challenges in existence, runners must ascend all 23 ‘munros’ around Ben Nevis, in the space of 24 hours.


Named after the original challenge setter, only 95 competitors have completed the event since its incarnation in 1978. Be warned, this is not Tough Mudder or any other similarly jocular event. Although many compete each year, usually only a handful finish in the allotted time.

Welcome to Scotland Colin Kazim Richards!


Celtic have signed striker Colin Kazim-Richards from Dutch side Feyenoord on a two-and-a-half year deal.

The 29-year-old Turkey international is a replacement for Nadir Ciftci, who has been loaned out to Eskisehirspor until the end of the season…


And so it is that one of modern footballs most interesting stories winds its way into Celtic, into Glasgow and into Scotland. From Coca-Cola kid, to Champions League giant tamer, to European journey man, to Celtic. Welcome to Scotland, Colin Kazim-Richards.

Kazim-Richards has scored over 50 goals in more than 350 club appearances across spells in England, Turkey, France, Greece and the Netherlands.

The London-born forward, who played for Bury, Brighton and Sheffield United early in his career before heading abroad, said he felt “privileged, thankful and ecstatic” after accepting Celtic’s offer.


Colin was born in London and started playing football at his Primary School in Walthamstow. The sun of Turkish Cypriot and Antiguan parents he qualified to play for Turkey though his mothers side and with that connection ended up playing over there as well.

 Kazim started his professional career by joining Bury at the age of 15, breaking into the first team in the 2004-2005 season at the age of 17.  At the end of that season Coca-Cola ran a competition where one lucky fan could win £250000 in transfer funds for their club. The winner was Aaron Berry, a fan of Brighton & Hove Albion, and the player they signed with the money was Kazim who became known, because of this, as the ‘Coca-Cola Kid’.

Continuing his strange career Kazim scored six goals for Brighton that season, not astonishing, but one of them included the clubs 5,000th leage goal. At the end of the season he submitted a transfer request after it seemed that bigger clubs where paying some sort of attention to him. The summer past without a deal being made and Kazim was pushed to the very edge of the squad by an angry manager. The new season began with Kazim very much out of the first team but, on transfer deadline day in unlikely circumstances, a club once again saw something in Kazim and plucked him from obscurity.


The move was to Sheffield United and he enjoyed a patchy season there, scoring one audacious goal against Bolton in the league. At the end of the season Kazim packed his bags and headed for Turkey. From there he enjoyed a fascinatingly contentious time in Turkey with intermittent loan spells at Toulouse and Blackburn (where he was charged by Sussex police for a homophobic gesture).

Never one to be pinned down, Kazim headed for Bursaspor back in Turkey where he would be earning a reported €1million a year. A little over a season later though he was headed to Feyenoord, where he enjoyed a good year and a half before joining us here in Scotland.

“To tell you the truth, I never wanted to come back to Britain,” he said. “But once this opportunity came, it was an obvious decision.

“I have played at big clubs but this is one of the biggest. The fans can expect someone who will give 125% every day, not just on match-day. I’m really honoured to have this opportunity to come and show my abilities.”


So! Welcome to Scotland Colin Kazim Richards!

Why Perthshire? A great land of great tails.

“Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.”


Dunsinane Hill a short walk from the village of Collace in Perthshire, was made famous by William Shakespeare in Macbeth, it also has parking for 4 or 5 cars is available near by. So double amazing. 

The landscapes of Perthshire are amongst some of the most varied and inspiring in Scotland. It is little wonder that the mountains, forests, greens and rivers of this incredible land wound themselves into Shakespeare’s Macbeth, one of the greatest stories ever told. But there are many more stories lurking amounts these hills…

Ashintully Castle: the ghostly haunt of Green Jean.



In Scottish mythology a maighdean uaine or Green Maiden is a ghost or fauth(literally meaing ‘hate’ in gaelic, a fauth is a spirit who returns to the living to reek revenge for past wrongs). These spirits are crazy! Almost always portrayed as old women (because nothing says deathly revenge and bitterness like a old hag dragging her frayed skirt through the undergrowth on a cold scottish night) these evil spirits cannot be destroyed or deterred. One of the most famous of these Green Maidens is ‘Green Jean’ who haunts the halls of Ashintully Castle which sits near Kirkmicheal just north of Blairgowrie. It is said that a young woman wearing a green dress was once murdered here by her Uncle and her corpse was left unburied, somehow being stuffed up the chimney by a particularly strong and determined and insane servant boy who perhaps had a grudge against the chimney sweep. She is said to wonder around the castle, her footsteps echoing of the floorboards, and her sadness poisoning the air. At times it is also claimed that she floats around the family burial ground, bemoaning the comfort of her kin beneath the soil as her tired feet remain mercilessly on top of it. The Castle was once the property of the Spalding Barons, Chiefs of the Spalding clan, and it is said that one such Baron once hung a tinker for trespassing on the castles extensive lands. This tinker spat foul insults at the Baron, and spent his last words cursing him and promising, with his dying breaths, that the long family line of the Spaldings would soon come crushing to a bruising and brutal end. A short while after, the Spaldings were no more. Despite this apparent revenge, the tinker is said to still linger at the spot where he was hung. Lastly, or lastly as far as we know, there is ‘Crooked Davie’ a deformed servant who was brutally and senselessly slaughtered by a member of this cruellest and bloodiest of families.

Spooky stuff, and that just the beginning….

Tales such as the above are waiting to be found all over Perthshire, the icy fingers of the paranormal are never far from your door, tales of darkness and death, murder and misery, love and loss, are all lingering amongst the beautiful landscapes and quaint villages. Are you brave enough to seek them out? If so maybe seek out a safe cabin to hide from the ghouls at Highland Heather Lodges.

Developing The Sports Participation Economy

A more active nation is a more economically prosperous one. And the prosperity is built on a long lasting and structurally sound movement within society. A healthy society sustains itself through activity and healthy living. The economic reach of such a thing is massive. Lets have a look…



” Shoppers are now spending an extra £1.4m a week on organic food, pushing sales up by 4pc to £1.86bn last year, according to industry group the Soil Association.”  Daily Telegraph

When people are living healthily the spend very differently, creating money and jobs that look very different to the money and jobs created around unhealthy living. Unhealthy living creates mass production, mass labour in a production line type process, and messy sad things. Healthy living creates a deeper economy, light and breezy jobs, and a good world.

Health Care


When people are exercising more they need more focused and want more focused care on their bodies. We’ve been in discussion with an old friend of mine running a physiotherapy centre down in Liverpool who was telling us about the massive expansion of the ‘exercise economy’ in Liverpool. Their centre is part of a wider gym complex that encapsulates all sides of the exercise lifestyle. ‘Such a centre would have been unthinkable just a decade ago, but look at us now.’ Look at Liverpool now and you will see a city on the up both in health and economy, and that is what we want for all of Scotland. So let’s do it!

The Value Of Sport

Last year Sheffield Hallam University did a research project into  the value of sport to the Scottish economy. Their findings have been extensively helpful to us here at Suvenco, and we’ll have a look over them today.

Figure 1.1

scot sport graph

It was fascinating to us to learn that admissions was such a small percentage of the funds created by sport in Scotland. Considering that one of the major manifestations of sport in our day to day life is witnessing the swaths of people heading to and from the stadiums to enjoy one of our key national past times. But Scotland is a very active nation, and it is the expenditure on sports equipment that far outstrips the rest. That is because sports participation in Scotland remains impressively high:


Source: Sport Participation High Level Summary of Statistics Trend Last update: Friday, September 23, 2011

Old statistics, but still numbers to be proud of. These numbers show us that sport plays a significant role in the lives of a huge number of Scots. What that means for us here at Suvenco is that it is sport at the very grass roots level that matters. It is sports as it is enjoyed by the people of this great land.

Figure 1.2



Sport in Scotland is a massive employer in the private sector, those working in the public sector however are an absolutely essential organisational anchor for the whole industry. Sports role in the employment economy in Scotland is not to be underestimated, it is significant and it’s significant is part of the argument for more funding and more support for sport in government policy. This is something that, after extensive research, Suvenco stands strongly behind.

Table 3.5: Sport-related employment in Scotland


The drop between 2008 and 2010 is to be completely expected considering the economic decline of that period (only whisky did well in Scotland between 2008 and 2010, thanks to the Chinese middle classes suddenly developing a taste for the stuff) but the general trend is one of growth. We want to support this growing industry.