When the Greek soldier Pheidippides ran more than 26 miles to Athens to report a victory in the Battle of Marathon, he had no idea how many others would follow in his footsteps.
And now marathons are run all over the world, including here when the 16th Baxters Loch Ness Marathon takes place on the 24th of September.
We are looking forward to welcoming visitors and participants in the annual Festival of Running including those who also take time to join us for a cruise on Loch Ness. In fact, as we sail past the village of Dores, we follow part of the same route along the banks of Loch Ness that the marathon entrants will be running.
Whether on a boat trip or running, the landscape and scenery are magnificent at this time of year.
In the words of Jack Kerouac “road is life” and the road from Whitebridge to Inverness will enrich the lives of the Loch Ness Marathon participants later this month.
The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon Route
The marathon starts at Whitebridge, made famous by that master road builder and civil engineer General Wade whose hump-back bridge is recognised as one of the finest examples still standing.
The route then crosses moorland and deciduous forests of silver birch and rowan and conifers and drops down through the village of Foyers, famous for its waterfall that our national poet Robert Burns wrote about.
Foyers is also on the map of the occult as it was the home of Aleister Crowley – known as “the Wickedest Man in the World”. He lived in Boleskine House that was also subsequently owned by the rock guitarist Jimmy Page of the band Led Zeppelin. Although the house was destroyed by fire in December 2015, its ruins still attract followers of the occult.
Running on from Foyers, with Loch Ness on the left, you come to the village of Inverfarigaig, a small hamlet of white houses all in a neat row.
The Weekly Scotsman, of 14th July 1877, reported: “By a deplorable accident, science has lost a most able geologist through the death of Dr James Bryce, which occurred in the pass of Inverfarigaig, near Foyers, whilst on a geological excursion.
“He had sallied forth alone, hammer in hand, to examine the rocks in the pass, and whilst pursuing his researches on the top of the cliff he must have inadvertently stepped upon a loose piece of rock, which giving way beneath him, he was precipitated to the foot of the cliff, where, three hours later, his lifeless body was found by two gamekeepers.”
No such tragedies will befall our runners as the route is sure to be cleared of loose rocks and any other potential hazards.
Dropping down from Inverfarigaig, the runners will follow a route parallel with Loch Ness all the way to the village of Dores and its quaint little hostelry the Dores Inn. Here, on another occasion, you can sample some fine beers from the Loch Ness Brewery.
Dores is famous for a few things, including being the home of Steve Feltham, Loch Ness Monster Hunter and Highlands and Islands Tourism Ambassador 2016. Steve has spent the last 26 years living in his converted mobile library and looking for Nessie.
Behind Steve’s home is the venue for what was Rockness, the large music festival that started with headline act Fat Boy Slim and has played host to numerous high-energy acts over the years. It was most recently transformed into Scotland’s biggest nightclub under the stars for “Groove Loch Ness”.
The final stretch of the route goes into the city of Inverness, capital of the Highlands.
The runners will pass Inverness Castle, high on the hill. It is presently home to the judiciary of the area but will soon become a major tourist attraction. Already, you can climb the highest tower of the castle and enjoy superb views over the city and down the Great Glen.
That spectacle will have to wait until another day for the marathon runners who will follow the last half mile along the River Ness to the finish at Bught Park in the centre of the city.
Phew. Definitely a marathon and not a sprint!
The Festival of Running also includes the River Ness 10K & Corporate Challenge, the River Ness 5K, and Wee Nessie, which is open to kids aged five and under.
Also, there are lots going on at the Event Village, including a pre-race Pasta Party, Sports Expo, Baxters Food & Drink Fayre, pipe bands, live music and kids’ activities.
So, whether you’re following Pheidippides or just keen to enjoy a great day out, we look forward to seeing you. And, since many of visitors will also be monster hunters, all we can say is … “Run, Nessie, Run”!