Active Outdoors events 2023 – running, walking, cycling, mountain biking and multi-sport activities across the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Aberdeenshire
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Looking to sign up to an event in 2023? We’ve got a huge selection to choose from in our 2023 Active Outdoors events list covering much of the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Aberdeenshire.
To suggest other events to be included, please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a high-resolution photograph if possible. Events will be added at the editor’s discretion.
Look out for further coverage of many of these events in Active Outdoors and across Highland News and Media’s websites, app and newspapers.
January 7 | Loch Morlich Running Festival
The Loch Morlich Running Festival gives you a chance to kick off your new year as you mean to go on, with a 5k and 10k run around the loch in Glenmore, near Aviemore.
January 14-15 | Strathpuffer
A brutal 24-hour mountain bike endurance event held at Contin and Strathpeffer in the depths of winter, with 17 hours of darkness, alongside some ice, wind, hail, mud and snow usually thrown in for good measure.
February 16-19 | Fort William Mountain Festival
The Fort William Mountain Festival offers people an opportunity to get out and explore the Lochaber landscapes with expert local guides, as well as showcasing the best outdoor films and speakers, plus competitions and more.
March 10-12 | The Mighty Coe (partly cancelled due to lack of snow – check website for latest)
The UK’s first ever ski and snowboarding festival weekend is back, bringing together top brands and guides to show that you don’t have to leave Scotland to enjoy fine touring on the white stuff.
March 11 | D33 Deeside Way Ultra
Out-and-back 33-mile ultra run starting at Duthie Park in Aberdeen.
March 12 | Inverness Half Marathon
The Highland capital’s popular half marathon and 5k events finish in the Queen’s Park athletics stadium.
March 18 | Ski-Enduro
Ski or board down from the 1200m summit of Aonach Mòr before jumping on the bike for a downhill extravaganza down the Blue Doon to finish at the Nevis Range bottom station. Join as a single or pair up with a friend to take on this extreme challenge!
March 19 | Craig Dunain Hill Race
The annual blast to the masts takes runners on a 10km off-road course with 390m of ascent. With a new junior race for 2023. Registration and parking at Great Glen House.
April 2 | Glenlivet 10k
This scenic 10k is dubbed “the most beautiful run in Scotland” and is held to support Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.
April 15 | MacAvalanche
Now run by Nevis Range, MacAvalanche returns to the slopes of Aonach Mor where riders descend over 900m from the mountain to the bottom station.
April 23 | Etape Loch Ness
The 66-mile closed-road cycle sportive returns to the shores of Loch Ness.
April 29 | Strathconon Cycle Ride
This family-friendly cycle event starts at Marybank Fairburn Memorial Hall. Various options from a short family ride to an out-and-back ride to the head of the strath.
For more details, search Facebook for: Strathconon Cycle
April 30 | Befrienders Highland 30km for 30k
A new charity challenge to mark the Befrienders service’s 30th anniversary. Lots of options to complete a 30km route solo or in teams, plus a shorter junior option, on roads and trails around Inverness and Dochgarroch.
- There will be no Highland Fling race in 2023 – a 53-mile ultra marathon along the West Highland Way through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, from Milngavie to Tyndrum. It is expected to return in 2024. https://highlandflingrace.org
- There is no Man v Horse Scotland in 2023.
May 6 | Bealach Beag
A 43-mile circuit of the Applecross peninsula, taking in the famous Bealach na Ba climb which rises from sea level to 2053ft (626m) in just six miles.
May 6 | Formartine and Buchan Way Ultra Marathon
Runners complete as many lengths of the 4.3-mile section between Maud station and Auchnagatt village hall as they can in the space of 12 hours.
May 13 | Moray Coastal Trail 50
Following the Moray Coastal Trail from Forres to Cullen, this is a 50-mile ultra with 1200ft of ascent along the scenic coastal path.
May 13 | Kintyre Way Ultra
The Kintyre Way Ultra covers 34 miles of the long-distance route from Tayinloan to Campbeltown via Carradale and Lussa Loch. The route includes 1351m of climbing mainly on forest tracks and finishes at the Glengyle Distillery.
May 14 | Man v Horse Tain
Hollingwells Equestrian, Edderton, by Tain is the new venue for the Man v Horse race which previously took place at Dores on South Loch Ness-side. Runners take on horses over a challenging 26km circuit.
May 14 | Run Garioch
A 5k, 10k, half marathon and junior run from the event base at Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.
May 21-28 | Cape Wrath Ultra
Ultras don’t get much more ultra than this - 400km over eight days through the Highlands, from Fort William to Cape Wrath at the most north-westerly tip of the Great British mainland. New for 2023, the Cape Wrath Ultra Explorer – the same eight-day journey but shorter distances.
May 26-June 4 | Loch Ness Festival
The Loch Ness 360 Challenge is back with new organisers, a new name and new challenges. Run over 10 days, the festival will include running, mountain biking and hiking events for the most adventurous, alongside a programme of comedy, live music, food and drink, tours, boat trips, and much more.
May 27 | Cairngorm to Coast
Hike 30km through the Cairngorms before a 70km cycle over the Dava Way and via the National Cycle Network to Lossiemouth on the Moray coast, plus bike only and hike only options.
May 27 | Cycling in the Straths
A weekend of cycling, Mackay Country hospitality and local entertainment in one of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the country. There are two choices of rides, a 68-mile Strathnaver Challenge and a 48-mile Ben Hope Trial, with a gentler all-ages cycle around the Kyle of Tongue on the Sunday morning.
May 27 | Stornoway Half Marathon & 10k
The 38th edition of the popular Isle of Lewis half marathon, which takes place on a mix of road and trail – followed by the infamous post-race ceilidh!
June 3 | Cairngorms Ultra Trail
A 60km ultra trail run through wild and remote country in the Cairngorms. Starting and finishing at Mar Lodge near Braemar, runners will go deep into the heart of the mountains, crossing wild rivers and negotiating tough terrain in a circuit of the Ben Avon plateau.
June 3-9 | Ballater Walking Festival
Explore the natural beauty of the Cairngorms surrounding Ballater with a series of guided walks, plus evening events.
June 10 | Isle of Skye Half Marathon
A popular closed-road half marathon on the Isle of Skye, starting and finishing in Portree.
June 10 | Lochalsh Dirty 30 Challenge
A 30-mile walk or run from Glenelg, passing the Skye Ferry, the Skye Bridge and Eilean Donan castle before climbing over the hills and past ancient brochs before returning to the finish in Glenelg. There’s also a shorter Dirty Dozen route over 12 miles.
June 16-26 | Moray Walking Festival
Scotland’s Midsummer Walking Festival will have walks, events and activities for all ages and abilities. From the foothills of the Cairngorms to Moray’s award-winning coastline, you can enjoy long summer days exploring coastal, hill, forest, river and town walks.
June 17 | Highland Cross
The 39th edition of the 50-mile coast-to-coast duathlon, which has raised more than £5.5 million for Highland charities since 1983.
June 17 | Celtman! Extreme Scottish Triathlon
The extreme Scottish triathlon sees competitors swim 3.4k in Loch Torridon before a 200k bike ride through Wester Ross and a marathon over the two Munros that make up Beinn Eighe.
June 17 | 10 Under the Ben
Mountain bike riders pit themselves against the clock on a 10-mile loop with 400 metres of elevation in the shadow of Ben Nevis in this endurance event that is open to solos, pairs, trios or quads.
June 17 | West Highland Way Race
The 95-mile ultra race follows the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Fort William, including 4500m (14,760ft) of ascent. Experienced runners have a 35-hour time limit to complete the event, which is a qualifying race for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc series.
June 24 | Moray Way 100
Starting and finishing in Forres, this 100-mile “ish” race heads for the Moray coast at Findhorn, then goes east along the trail to Lossiemouth and Spey Bay before turning south on the Speyside Way. At Grantown the course joins the Dava Way for a final up and over to the finish. A relay option is also available with teams of up to four people running fixed legs of the course.
June 25 | Lairig Ghru Race
The Lairig Ghru is a category C Long Hill Race run over 43km between the police stations of Braemar and Aviemore. This classic race takes place in a spectacular setting and follows the historic drove road rising to 2733ft between some of the highest peaks in Britain. A significant proportion of the race fees are donated to the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.
July 30 – August 4 | Scottish 6 Days Orienteering
The Scottish 6 Days Orienteering event is the largest orienteering event in the UK and is a family-friendly festival of orienteering which takes place every two years. In 2023 the event takes place in Moray, hosted by local orienteering club Moravian Orienteers.
August 12 | Great Wilderness Challenge
The Great Wilderness Challenge has raised more than £4 million for charities since it began in 1986. The event involves a choice of walking or running routes across 25, 13 or 7 miles around Dundonnell, Poolewe and Aultbea through the wilds of Wester Ross, with the additional option of a 10k fun run or limited mobility routes.
August 13 | Nairn Triathlon
The Nairn Triathlon returns with a Novice and a Sprint race, both consisting of an open water swim alongside Nairn beach, a cycle in the Nairnshire countryside and a run along the beach front.
August 19 | Speyside Way Ultras
A 50km/35 mile ‘original’ based on the long-running Speyside Way race from Ballindalloch to Buckie and a 100km/65 mile longer version that begins in Aviemore and joins the classic route at Ballindalloch.
August 26 | Ride the North
Ride the North comes to Huntly in 2023, with two routes – of 100 miles and 64 miles. As always, the event is non-competitive and is described by organisers as a celebration of all that is good about cycling in the beautiful north-east of Scotland.
August 26-27 | Loch Ness 24
The Loch Ness 24 enjoyed a successful inaugural year in 2022. The 24-hour solo or team relay run is back this year, with runners clocking up as many 7km laps along forest and beach trails as they can in the time.
September 2 | Ben Nevis Race
Up and down Britain’s highest mountain. Entries open Sunday, March 12 at noon.
September 2-3 | The Heb – Race on the Edge
An adventurous journey through a spectacular, wild and remote landscape involving running, mountain biking, kayaking and navigating over two days, covering a total distance of 200km. Enter as a solo or in pairs.
September 9 | Bealach Mor
A 90-mile cycle sportive taking in the famous Bealach na Ba climb which rises from sea level to 2053ft (626m) in just six miles as well as the spectacular Glen Torridon and Glen Carron.
September 9-10 | Rat Race Coast to Coast
A 105-mile adventure race where participants run, bike and kayak past historic Cawdor Castle, the legendary Loch Ness and the mountainous Glen Nevis and Glen Coe. Take two days to complete the course or battle it out in a single day.
September 16-17 | Salomon Skyline Scotland
Eight races from 5 to 80km. Includes five trail races plus the three headline skyrunning events, the 52km Ben Nevis Ultra, the Ring of Steall Skyrace at 29km and the Glen Coe Skyline, at 52km and taking in the notorious Aonach Eagach ridge.
September 17 | Aviemore Triathlon
An open-water swim in Loch Morlich followed by some gnarly mountain biking on the Glenmore trails and finishing up with an off-road run. Two distances available.
September 23| Cioch Mhor Hill Race
A 14km run from Tulloch Castle in Dingwall to the summit and back with 660m of climbing.
September 23 | Banchory Beast Race
The 10k Beast Race has wild hill climbs followed by non-stop obstacles, island crossings and the thickest mud in the heart of Aberdeenshire.
CANCELLED: September 24 | Glencoe Marathon CANCELLED
Run through the mountains on a challenging 26-mile off-road route from the foot of Ben Nevis through Kinlochleven and into Glen Coe – a new finish is in store for 2023.
October 1 | Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running
Scenic marathon along the shore of Loch Ness, with a 10k, 5k and Wee Nessie races also on offer.
October 7-8 | Aviemore Half Marathon and 10k For All
Starting and finishing at the Badaguish outdoor centre in Glenmore, this beautiful half-marathon route takes in the trails around Loch Morlich with spectacular forest, loch and mountain views in the Cairngorms. The half marathon takes place on the Saturday, with the 10k going ahead the following day.
October 21 | Meall a’Bhuachaille Hill Race
A 13km hill race with 720m of climbing over Meall a’ Bhuachaille and along the length of the ridge before a wet and muddy descent back to the forest at Badaguish.
October 21 | Dramathon
A marathon along the Speyside Way from Glenfarclas Distillery to Glenfiddich Distillery, taking in – you guessed it – even more distilleries along the route. Pick up a set of miniature whiskies at the end of the race.
November 4 | Knockfarrel Hill Race
An 8km, 365m hill race from Strathpeffer to Knockfarrel and back.
November 11 | Dava Way 50km
A 50km ultra marathon from Grantown-on-Spey to Forres over the 1050ft summit.
No events listed for December!
For local, regional and national orienteering events, see www.scottish-orienteering.org
- All details believed to be correct at time of publishing. Please check ahead to confirm details.
- Please send details of any events to be considered for this listing to email@example.com along with a high-resolution photograph if possible. Events will be added at the editor’s discretion.