Rat Race | Hebrides Tip to Toe
Stornoway, Outer Hebrides, UK 4 nights from £1,950

Rat Race | Hebrides Tip to Toe

A multi-sport crossing of the entire island chain of the Outer Hebrides on bike, foot and boat from north to south covering 150 miles and supported all the way.

  • 109 miles road cycling
  • 9 miles trail running
  • 15 miles kayaking


By bike

By bike

From an impressive lighthouse at the northern tip to a magnificent beach on the southern tip, cyclists will love the riding on smooth tarmac and extremely quiet roads.

Over water

Over water

Get ready for world-class paddling on an exhilarating crossing of the Sound of Harris with its marine life and cornucopia of islands, islets and exposed rock formations.

On foot

On foot

Gaze out to sea from the summit of Heaval on your final expedition day, reflect on your achievements and snap that all-important selfie with your new teammates.


If you are the sort of person who looks at far-flung islands ‘at the edge of the map’ and wonders what is there, then this adventure is for you.

The Outer Hebrides are a wondrous archipelago forming a barrier from the wild Atlantic and Scotland’s West Coast. Some of these islands are interconnected with causeways and some are separated by the sea. This expedition stretches 150 miles along the entire island chain from the Butt of Lewis in the north to tiny Vatersay in the south using a multi sport selection of bike, foot and sea kayak.

A highly supported affair, you will enjoy a fully inclusive package including meals, accommodation, Pit Stop support en route, mechanical assistance on the bike legs and easy logistics too.


  • 19-23 September 2024

Adventure video

  • Solo
  • Couples

Fitness level

This is an extraordinary challenge for ordinary people and has been designed to be achievable.

You do not need super-technical skills or to be a seasoned endurance athlete. You need a good base fitness and train for a big mountain ascent over several hours. It’s a very big undertaking, but it is definitely designed to be ‘doable' and not a sufferfest. You have it in you. The team will ensure you are supported in the very best way possible. There is enough time to trek the whole thing and unless you really are off the pace, you will be able to complete it.


You can go at your own pace. There will be some cut-off times to meet, but these are generous and the team will help you achieve your goals vs having to pull out. If you need support or to stop for whatever reason, the team is there for you. The absolute key is that you enjoy the amazing journey from the northern tip of the island chain to the south; at your own pace and within your own limits.

Kayaking skill level

The kayaking is an exciting part of this format. However, these isles, their sea conditions and weather can be variable which means kayaking will only take place subject to an assessment by the safety team. If either of the two sea crossings need to cancelled, the contingency is to take the ferry across the Sounds. The vehicles will be going on the ferries anyway. It’s still exciting from the deck of the ferry!

You'll need to share your kayak experience (or lack of it!) when you enter the event which will assist the team in planning.

The standard required when you turn up is that you are happy in a closed-cockpit boat; you are familiar with self-rescue techniques and that you are confident as a novice sea paddler, paddling as part of a group. You will never be without staff on the sea legs, so it's classed as a ‘guided’ crossing.


You won't be staring at maps or navigational aids any more than you have to! You'll be able to concentrate on the views and the hard work of putting one foot in front of the other. There is no formal waymarking (i.e. signs) used on this event. Instead, you'll have a downloadable route file to follow on your smartphone or GPS device. You will follow this ‘line’ when on foot and can use this as a back-up at all times. You may use your own device or rent one. There'll also be some marshaled junctions or key turning points.

 Don’t worry – you won’t get lost. But if you do – support is never far away.

Bike type

A road bike or a cyclocross bike would be ideal. 


All accommodation is of a good standard – tried and tested on recce trips.

  • Hostel (including one at Barra overlooking the bay)
  • Very nice bunkhouse
  • Hotel


Hotel accommodation is always offered on a double or twin room basis. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with another participant of the same sex in a twin room. At the bunkhouse and hostel, the rooms are mixed dorm-style affairs. 


All meals are included throughout the full itinerary including breakfast, snacks and lunch and dinners.

Kit list

You will receive a comprehensive kit list of mandatory and recommended items for each discipline ie. trail running, cycling and paddling.


  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

  • Bag transfer
  • Transfers

Meeting point

The Real Food Cafe
FK20 8RY

You will be transferred from Tyndrum to the isles and back again. All transfers throughout the challenge are included. As an alternative, you may wish to fly to the isles from Glasgow International airport. 

  • Hill
  • Beach
  • Lake
  • Minibus
  • Ferry


  • Day 1 | Meet at Tyndrum

    Meet and greet, park cars and take a 4-hour drive north to Ullapool, board the ferry for the 2.5 hour crossing to Stornoway. Have some initial briefings and something to eat on board. Make for the accommodation to sort kit and get an early night.

  • Day 2 | Cycle (88 miles) Run/hike (6 miles)

    Start early and drive north from Stornoway to the Butt of Lewis – the very northern tip of the Outer Hebridean Island Chain and home to an exceptionally impressive lighthouse. It’s wheels up from there for a stunning cycle ride through Lewis, stopping at some superb tourist sights on route, such as the famous Callanish Standing Stones. Dovetail these stops with Pit stop service so you are never far from some snacks and drinks from the vehicles. The riding is on smooth tarmac and the roads are extremely quiet.  

    Switch from the west coast of Lewis, head over the ‘hump’ of the island and end up on the east coast, heading to Harris (which is attached to Lewis as it is all one landmass). Drop the bikes for a lovely little run, with stunning views out to sea. Once complete, it’s back on the bikes for some fairly chunky hills, coming up and through a couple of fairly decent mountain passes on Harris before descending back to the coast and reaching out terminus at the southern tip of Harris at Leverburgh.

    Standing stones
  • Day 3 | Kayak (7 miles) Cycle (62 miles)

    If conditions permit, saddle up the kayaks for the exhilarating crossing of the Sound of Harris. These shallow waters harbour much marine life and a cornucopia of islands, islets and exposed rock formations. It is simply world-class paddling. The ‘Plan B’ route would be to use the ferry and to travel over with the vehicles.

    Once ashore at Berneray, get back on the bikes to continue the journey south, passing today from Bernerary and through the whole of North Uist, Benbecula and onto South Uist. Towards the bottom of South Uist, there's a brilliant sandy (but firm) beach crossing, which if you are riding a cross-bike will be a unique and fairly surreal encounter. Road bikes can have a go (!) or you can stick to the road which runs adjacent. End the day at Eriskay and then head to the accommodation.

    Beach ride!
  • Day 4 | Kayak (8 miles), Cycle (15 miles), Run/hike (3 miles) and a wee bit more cycling (6 miles)

    Another aquatic start to the day across the Sound of Barra (weather permitting) and come ashore to head off on the bikes again for a short ride section. Climb up and over the island to reach the southern-western portion, where the group will swap bikes for boots to reach the high point of the island at the summit of Heaval. If the weather is kind, the views from the top are simply sensational. It’s a quick descent from the hill to grab our bikes for one more ride, this time to the very south of the island chain. Finish the journey at the magnificent beach on Vatersay, amongst the feral cattle!

    Astounding views
  • Day 5 | Travel

    Arrive at the port for 0615 check in for the ferry back to the mainland, sailing into Oban and then heading back over to Tyndrum in the transports. Expect to arrive back at around 1400. At this point you may connect with onward train travel or pick up your car. Phew! What a trip…

  • Accommodation
  • Equipment
  • Guides
  • Meals
  • Transfers
  • Bike transfers


  • Accommodation

    4 nights accommodation - hotel, bunkhouse, hostel.

  • All meals

    All meals included as standard cooked up by expert catering crew.

  • Equipment

    Kayak and all associated equipment rental included.

  • Guides and support

    Professional 4x4 support vehicles, safety staff, medical, mechanical and welfare

  • Safety

    Professional local and UK safety staff, medics, drivers, route safety staff and experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.

  • Transfers

    Transfers to and from Tyndrum and ferry tickets.

  • Bike transfers

    Your bike will be transported whilst you are on foot or in kayaks and will not need to be dismantled for transit.

  • Transfer policy

    Flexible transfer policy up to 12 weeks before the event date.

  • Medal and t-shirt

    High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.

Not Included

  • Bike hire

    For those without their own bike, hire is available for £350 which includes delivery to the start point, collection from the finish and all the spares you need.

  • Kayaking skill level and guidance

    You need to be happy in a closed-cockpit boat, familiar with self-rescue techniques and that you are confident as a novice sea paddler, paddling as part of a group which may mean that an introductory kayaking course is required.

Trip leader

James is your leader for this adventure. He's a multi-lingual running machine!

James, trip leader

  • Plastic bottle free

Environmental pledge

This adventure has made a firm commitment to really elevate its approach to a sustainable and environmentally aware way of working. Each activity has been assessed to improve its environmental impact, including:

  • race t-shirts to be collected at the event and not shipped across the world
  • wooden medals instead of metal
  • phasing out single-use plastics
  • local event catering
  • tighter recycling activities

This event is on track to achieve carbon-neutral in its day-to-day business activities and is making progress with carbon off-setting for worldwide travel, including ground-breaking ways to make a difference in some of the host locations.


16 and 17 year olds will be considered on an individual basis, if taking part with a responsible adult.

Instalment plan

eg. Pay £180 in 10 instalments.

Choose how many months you want to spread the cost over, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the installment plan a recurring payment will be set up and your card will be debited on the same date each month.

Refund protect

Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance.




Enquiries & bookings

If you have any questions or would like to check availability or make a booking, please provide a few details about you, your group size and any preferred dates. A member of the team will then get back to you or you can go ahead and book online.