2023 Salomon Skyline Scotland Race Director's Report
When I started Salomon Skyline Scotland™ in 2015 with just the Glen Coe Skyline race, we had only 150 runners in total, and I could never have imagined that the event would grow to the scale of recent years when we have attracted thousands of participants from over 50 countries to an international weekend of trail and mountain running. Skyline Scotland™ has hosted races in the Skyrunner World Series, Golden Trails World Series and the Spartan World Trail Championships as well as the Skyrunning World Championships.
As most people now know, this will be Skyline Scotland's™ last event in Kinlochleven. So for a final time this weekend, Kinlochleven hosted our amazing two-day series of mountains, skyrunning and trail races, with distances ranging from 5km to 80km.
Runners were faced with starkly contrasting weather. Ideal conditions on Saturday were followed by very challenging circumstances on Sunday, resulting in the two longer races being curtailed (more on this later). Despite this, there were always plenty of smiles in the mountains as participants explored the spectacular Highlands scenery. The event will now take a break in 2024, before returning to a new home elsewhere in Scotland in 2025.
Runners set out on the Ring of Steall ©No Limits Photography
Skyline Scotland 2025
To an extent, Skyline Scotland™ is a victim of its own success, having arguably maxed out the capacity of a small community like Kinlochleven to host the event. I have a clear vision of the potential for Skyline Scotland to be a truly world-class event, and to make this happen, making the difficult decision to relocate from Kinlochleven is necessary. We have already undertaken a lot of feasibility planning, assessing several potential venues across Scotland that are vying to host the event. While these arrangements are being finalised, and to give us sufficient time to consult and re-organise the event, we have decided not to organise a 2024 edition - a fallow year if you like.
The mystery around the new location for Skyline Scotland® was certainly the main item of discussion over the weekend. Details will be revealed in due course.
You can expect the same great atmosphere in 2025 ©No Limits Photography
Weather Impacts on Sunday’s Races
I’ll be brutally honest. I wasn’t on my A-game as Race Director over the weekend. I arrived at the event tired and slept very poorly whilst in Kinlochleven, and with the benefit of hindsight I think that we could have handled the course management better on Sunday.
During Saturday it was clear that there would be a front of poor weather arriving on Sunday afternoon. The Race Control and Course Management Team discussed the implications of this and to cut a long story short, I decided to push ahead with the full course for the Glen Coe Skyline™ and Ben Nevis Ultra™ but with some contingency planning agreed. On reflection, I could have made a more conservative choice that evening and opted for the bad weather courses at that point, which would have saved an enormous amount of additional stress and late course alterations on Sunday morning.
The decision to end the Glen Coe Skyline at CP9 and switch the Ben Nevis Ultra to the bad weather route returning along the West Highland Way was executed extremely professionally by the people involved in this. I purposely surround myself with a team who naturally have differing opinions and a different approach to risk management than me, and the strength of this approach worked on Sunday. In particular, I am very grateful for the wise counsel from Abbi Forsyth who leads the Race Control Team and has been a key part of the Ourea Events team since 2012.
Despite fearing that the runners would have felt short-changed, everyone I spoke to at the end of these two races felt that the right decision had been made. Ultimately, everyone finished these two races safely and that is the final and most important measure of success.
The weather was not quite so favourable on Sunday! ©No Limits Photography
Donations to Mountain Rescue
When participants entered Skyline Scotland™ we asked if they’d like to make a voluntary donation to the two local Mountain Rescue Teams. We are delighted to have raised £2,221.51 this way and Ourea Events has rounded up the donations from the participants. We presented Lochaber and Glencoe Mountain Rescue Teams with a cheque for £1,250 on Saturday.
The results are now available – you can view them here:
- Salomon Glen Coe Skyline
- Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra
- Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace
- Salomon Lochaber 80
- Grey Mares 5K
- Loch Eilde Mòr 10K
- Three Mealls 18K
- Mamores Stalker 27K
If you took part in the Glen Coe Skyline, Ben Nevis Ultra, Ring of Steall Skyrace or Lochaber 80 you can relive your race with the replay function on the GPS Tracking page. Enjoy dot-watching at your leisure!
Thanks to the Event Team
The Event Team is made up of the core permanent staff at Ourea Events, the regular freelance team, various contractors, many volunteers and about 50 local outdoor professionals that support the mountain safety requirements at the event. An event as complex as Skyline Scotland™ could not have happened without the hard work, dedication, and expertise of this awesome team. Many of these team members have been involved with the event from the very beginning and I’d like to express a heartfelt thanks to them from me personally and on behalf of the participants. Thank you.
Course Operations and Marshalling
Mountain Safety Team
Maksymilian (Max) Rzepka
Course Operations Management
Marquee and Site Operations Team
Seb Boulton Oliver
Christiaan Le Roux
The medical team are always on hand ©No Limits Photography
Registration and Arena Team
Support Point Team
Technical Services Team
Timing & Tracking Team
Ourea Events Management Team
Our Event team work hard to keep the show running ©No Limits Photography
Thanks to Event Sponsors and Stakeholders
I would like to thank our title sponsor Salomon. Salomon has supported the event since the very first race in 2015 and it is clear that there is a real synergy between the brand values of Salomon and Skyline Scotland™, combined with the genuine alignment of Salomon products and their suitability to Skyline Scotland™. It is for these two reasons in particular that the relationship has been so enduring. Salomon has supported the event in many ways over the years but their biggest contribution has undoubtedly been helping to raise international awareness of the event through the participation of their international team of runners at various races over the years.
Likewise, I’d like to thank Event Scotland who recognised the potential of Skyline Scotland™ early to showcase the incredible Highlands landscapes to a global audience and deliver real economic benefits to the Lochaber region in particular, and they have supported the event since 2016.
I am also grateful to our event partners: JAHAMA Highland Estates, the John Muir Trust, National Trust for Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland, Nature Scotland, Killiechonate Estate, Corrour Estate, Black Corries Estate and Nevis Landscape Partnership, without whose support we would not be able to put on the event.
I'd also like to say thank you to all the brands who have come along to the event village over the years. At its best, the Event Village has a vibrant and exciting atmosphere with athletes and brands connecting in the real world, and this will certainly be a feature of Skyline Scotland™ version 2.
Finally, I’d like to thank the local community who have been largely very supportive of the event. I would like to express my personal and sincere thanks to the residents, landowners, businesses, community groups and organisations that have warmly welcomed us over many years.
It was a stunning day for the Ring of Steall ©No Limits Photography
No Limits Photography were also on the ground every day capturing some amazing shots for the official event photography - to be used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, on the website, and in the press.
Bib Number Photography were also in attendance. They had a team of photographers out on course taking some excellent shots of each participant on every race. These photos are now available to view (and purchase) here:
- Salomon Glen Coe Skyline
- Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra
- Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace
- Salomon Lochaber 80 finisher photos are in the Salomon Ring of Steall Gallery here
- Salomon Grey Mare's 5k
- Trail Races
View photos of your adventure ©Bib Number Photography
Feedback is very important to us. Whatever you have to say, positive or negative, we are keen to hear your thoughts. Whilst we don’t promise to incorporate every piece of feedback received, we do promise to read and consider it carefully. Participant feedback has helped refine and improve the event from one edition to the next and it has been instrumental in polishing the details and the event is better for it. So, please don’t be shy and send any comments to [email protected].
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