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Loch Ness 360 Challenge hoping to bring boost to local communities and businesses as plans for three-day Highland event revealed with support from SSE Renewables

By John Davidson

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Runners experience part of the Loch Ness 360 route.
Runners experience part of the Loch Ness 360 route.

A three-day event set to take place this spring after two years of cancellations is hoping to offer an economic boost to businesses in the area.

The Loch Ness 360 Challenge was originally planned for May 2020, but that event and the rearranged 2021 challenge were both axed due to the pandemic restrictions.

Now organisers are looking forward to the running and cycling event finally getting under way from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22.

The event, created by Visit Inverness Loch Ness (VILN) and sponsored by SSE Renewables, consists of the Loch Ness marathon challenge, Loch Ness ultra marathon challenge and Loch Ness bike challenge.

The marathon challenge covers three marathons over the course of three days, totalling 129km with an ascent of more than 3000m along the Great Glen Way and South Loch Ness Trail around Loch Ness. Alternatively, participants can opt to take part in one or two of the marathons.

The ultra marathon challenge covers the three marathons but with a time limit of 24 hours, starting on Saturday, May 21. The bike challenge covers the distance on Sunday, May 22.

The Loch Ness 360 Challenge offers the chance to bike or run through this magnificent landscape.
The Loch Ness 360 Challenge offers the chance to bike or run through this magnificent landscape.

Michael Golding, CEO of Visit Inverness Loch Ness, said: “With the inaugural Loch Ness Challenge originally planned to take place back in 2020, we are really excited to finally get going. To be able to welcome people back to this spectacular part of the world and showcase our fantastic Loch Ness 360 route will be really special after all this time.

“We hope the event will have a positive impact for local businesses and communities as we recover from the pandemic, and I would encourage people to get involved however they can.

"Taking place thanks to the support of sponsor SSE Renewables, we hope the event will provide an economic boost for the area and for the sustainability of the communities around Loch Ness this year and for years to come.”

Entries are still open for each of the Loch Ness Challenge eventsand people can sign up at www.lochness360.com/lochnesschallenge

Craig Cunningham, project manager of the Bhlaraidh wind farm extension development at SSE Renewables, said: “The Loch Ness Challenge is an exciting event, which has captured the imagination of people in the Highlands and beyond, and we are delighted that SSE Renewables is helping to make it happen.

“SSE Renewables is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate and the Loch Ness Challenge is a great opportunity for us to show that support. The event route neighbours many of our properties, including the wind farms at Stronelairg and Bhlaraidh and the Foyers and Glendoe hydro schemes.

“Many of the SSE Renewables team who live and work in the area are going to participate in the Loch Ness Challenge, as competitors or volunteers, and we are looking forward to a memorable weekend in May.”

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