A message from out Honorary President, Richard Haldane, MBE
"The Cape Wrath Challenge is unique – where else can a runner go for an entire week of running and entertainment? The runners get five separate running events spread over 6 days, culminating in a full marathon (which if not the toughest in the UK is certainly one of the toughest.) For those who return friendships are renewed and old rivalries rekindled. And all this is done amongst the loveliest and most remote of Scotland’s world famous scenery and in the environment of a tiny and immensely friendly village, who warmly welcome the return of the runners every year.
For the village, with a population of around 300, the influx of runners brings in much valued income. Not only are new friendships made between runners but also between the runners and members of the Durness community. And to prove just how welcoming and addictive this far north west village is, over the years since the inception of the CWC, three families have ‘up sticks’ and moved home to Durness. And this is vitally important, six new children dramatically increasing the school population.
Conceived of the Millennium ‘Island Race’, celebrating 10 successful years of friendly competition, this event has earned its reputation as being one of the highlights in the Running Calendar."
In the summer of 2000 a unique and remarkable event took place – the Island Race , a round Britain relay of some 4,200 miles which was to be completed in 100 days. The event was conceived and brought to successful fruition by Richard Haldane assisted by a Technical Director - charged with the responsibility of designing the courses and staging each day of the relay. The event raised over £1 million for charity – a stunning achievement.
All those who took part will never forget the often breathtaking coastal scenery and the friendships that developed - as well as the impact the event often had upon local communities. None more so than on Day 93 when the Island Race reached the far north west tip of Scotland and the small community of Durness located on the white sand coast of Sutherland. This really is “the end” of Britain – when you get to the lighthouse at the end of the Cape then you are at the furthest extremity of our country; there is nothing between you and the Arctic or you and Canada. It was decided that such a special area deserved an equally special stage and so, for that August day the Cape Wrath Ultra Challenge – a 27 mile run from Durness to the lighthouse at the end of the Cape- and back was designed. A truly amazing run across this genuine wilderness and totally unpopulated area …. which also includes two ferry crossings.
Even before the evening Ceilidh had finished people were offering ideas and possible improvement – such as moving the date to late May when the days would be long, the weather at its best and midges unknown! And so was born the concept of the Cape Wrath Challenge – not just a marathon but a full week of running and social events.
More than a decade later and we are still running! The Challenge has gone from strength to strength. We have runners returning each year and visitors attending from as far afield as Europe and the United States.
Durness Active Health
The Cape Wrath Challenge is organised by Durness Active Health, a charity registered in Scotland (SC044267)
An important event in the Durness calendar, it delivers many benefits to the local community, strengthening the local economy and encouraging an active lifestyle for our residents. It is also an opportunity to raise vital income to fund local community developments focused on health and wellbeing.
Working in partnership is important to us. Local schools help to provide some of the social events such as the barbecue and income from these goes straight to the schools. We also partner with Marie Curie Cancer Care, raising funds for this important charity throughout the week.
The trustees of Durness Active Health are ;
David Mckeown (Convenor)
Frances Arrowsmith (Secretary)
Tony Jackson (Treasurer and Race Director)
Alistair Morrison (Assistant Race Director)
Mary Mackay (Catering and Ceilidh)
Lucy Mackay (Social events)
Katy Lee (Social events)
Kevin Arrowsmith (ICT, publicity)
The CWC Honorary President is Richard Haldane MBE
The success of the Challenge is however not due to any individual or committee, rather the time and commitment of so many people in the community who volunteer their services throughout the year and during the week. We are proud to be often cited as an excellent example of successful community engagement
Hosting a full week of such varied events is a considerable challenge, particularly for a community of less than 300 people. Hosting the Marathon and Team Event on Cape Wrath in particular involves some complex logistics. We are therefore extremely grateful to our corporate sponsors who help to make the event sustainable.
Our Event Sponsors
We are excited to announce that the Cape Wrath Challenge has new sponsorship.
Richard Haldane MBE and John Campbell have a long history with the Cape Wrath Challenge and have come together as joint sponsors.
It's great news for the event and Durness Active Health are delighted to work with Richard Haldane MBE and Campbell Lutyens in continuing the success of the Cape Wrath Challenge and sustaining the charitable work which it delivers.
Richard Haldane and John Campbell, the founder of Campbell Lutyens, have been close friends for over 50 years. They share a real enthusiasm for running, not least as a charitable funding enabler. They have organised several innovative events over 30 years raising over £2.5 million for charities. These events have including taking large contingents of runners to join the Athens Marathon in 1996 to celebrate the centenary of the first modern Olympiad and in 2010 the 2500 anniversary of the Battle of Marathon; the 4200 mile Island Race relay in 2000 around the coast of Great Britain to celebrate the Millennium; and the Great Russian race in 2005 the 11,000 kms relay from Vladivostok to St Petersburg.
The idea of the annual Cape Wrath marathon was forged in Richard Haldane’s mind in 2000 when the Island Race relay first ran the course to the Cape Wrath lighthouse. In a statement they stated:
"We believe that The Cape Wrath Challenge is one of the most challenging marathons in the most beautiful kingdom on earth. We are very proud to be joint sponsors of the event."