Cluny Castle

Some Younger "Competitors" with Ruthven Barracks in the Background

 Transport yourself back to the 1700’s. The highland clans are uneasy, persecuted by the resident army unit- the “Red Coats”.  During the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, clan chef Ewan Macpherson of Cluny (known simply as Cluny Macpherson), raised 400 men in support of Charles Edward Stuart’s doomed attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty to the British throne. After the battle of Culloden  the chief went into hiding. He spent a total of nine years evading capture and had several notable lairs, including Cluny’s Cave on an inaccessible cliff above Newtonmore.

By competing in The Highlander you will take on the elements as you race across the majestic highland countryside, seeking refuge from the Red Coats in your home township.

Your journey begins in the village of Newtonmore. Here your bicycle becomes your modern horse, as you will begin your escape. Passing through Kingussie you will head to Ruthven Barracks, dominant on the hill, the sign of the “Red Coats” power in the area . You will navigate your way around Loch Insh before  reaching Kincraig. Choose to stop to re-hydrate and risk capture or push on through Newtonmore until reaching General Wade’s road. Passing Dalwhinnie and on cresting the hill above Laggan, you will see the transition area at Cluny Castle (Burnt down by the red coats in 1745), nestled on the valley floor.

Once through transition you will follow the hill road  into the wilderness and steadily climb until you reach the “Bothy” and the river Calder. The exact history of this bothy is unknown but it has certainly been there since Jacobite times. The bothy provides a short sanctuary to any competitors who may wish to take comfort by the fire and is also the location of a water stop. In this idyllic wilderness it is easy to appreciate the areas National Park status. Here you turn back towards the castle where you will face the last 6 miles on the bike.

On your last stretch of this epic adventure you will cycle underneath “Cluny’s Cave” on Creag Dbhu before returning to your township of Newtonmore!