The stunning Perthshire scenery surrounding Gleneagles has long attracted those with an adventurous spirit, from hunters and hikers to fisherman and falconry aficionados. Yet each spring, a particularly intrepid collection of guests gathers on the estate for what’s rapidly becoming a legendary endurance event. Taking in three disciplines, the Great Adventure Race is a thrilling celebration of the great outdoors, comprising a 4-kilometre canoe across a loch, a 16-kilometre run over Ben Vorlich – perhaps the most stunning summit in Perthshire – and a 35-kilometre cycle through local country roads, all followed by memorable celebrations and a glamorous prize- giving ceremony back at the hotel.
“This race is unique in that it ties in high-level hospitality with a really nice event that’s open to most people with a good level of fitness; it’s done in a day and they don’t have to be superhuman to take part,” says ex-Royal Marine commando and seasoned endurance sport expert Donnie Campbell. No stranger to the Scottish wilderness, Campbell broke the record for the fastest self-propelled round (run, walk, cycle or kayak) of all 282 Scottish Munros in 2020, taking an entire week off the previous record by completing the round in just under 32 days, and he retains a soft spot for this Perthshire event. “It’s a spectacular spot for an endurance race – the weather and the light are constantly changing and the hills are accessible to most people, unlike, say, the Alps or the Himalayas, where you might need mountaineering experience.”
For the second year running, May’s event was held in partnership with Scotland-based outdoors brand Meander, which – as well as fielding its own team – provided each competitor with a piece from its versatile range of sustainable, functional clothing, as well as prizes for the triumphant team. As the dust settles on this year’s event, all those eager to follow in Campbell’s footsteps are invited to register their interest for next year’s event. Taking place over a full weekend, the Great Adventure Race is open to pairs, whether male, female or mixed, with plenty of time before and after the Saturday race to meet fellow adventurers, replenish calories in the Strathearn restaurant and soothe tired muscles in Gleneagles first-class wellness facilities.