The route will be signposted and marshalled, and there will be watering and feeding stations at regular intervals – there are seven in total. Participants are ultimately responsible for finding their own way.
Cawdor Estates have again very kindly permitted the Nairnshire Challenge foot section to cross their land. Participants may not train or practice on the route itself since the route crosses prime grouse moors where the birds will be laying and hatching.
The start is on the B9007 at the gate to Auchterteang (NH929262). Participants are taken there by bus. The track participants follow is a landrover track across the Cawdor Estate grouse moor, is quite difficult under foot in places, and if there has been recent rain participants will get feet wet crossing streams.
From the start, the track winds through a farm and rises gently upwards for just less than 2 miles to the “Green Bothy”. About a mile past the Green Bothy is the first watering station. As participants continue upwards and northwards any junctions are signposted.
The fragile environment round the highest point in Nairnshire is a site of special scientific interest for its mosses and lichens. Participants are encouraged to pause to look at the summit on their left and backward at stunning views of the Cairngorms (if visibility permits!). As participants continue over the moor there is a second watering station at around 5 miles (909322).
The route flattens out then undulates and twists until the descent and approach to the “Black Bothy” (896336) where there is a third watering station. Continuing on the track northwards and uphill participants reach the “Lewis Bothy” about 2 miles further (888362) which is the last watering station on the foot section. Participants then turn north west over the last hill before the picturesque descent to the bridge over the Findhorn (866395) and the change over point at Drynachan where there is a fifth watering station and toilets. Participants should take extra care in this descent and not get carried to excessive speed by the steep downwards gradient, nor distracted by the marvellous view.
On the bike route, participants will be travelling on public roads and the Highway Code applies. Cycle Helmets must be worn. There are two watering stations on the bike section.
Participants turn right out of the field at Drynachan and follow the spectacular road eastwards along the Drynachan valley to the T-junction (933418) just north of Dulsie Bridge, where they turn left. They then cycle northwards and take the second right, down the Miekleburn road; they turn left at the end (watering station) and head for the crossroads on a ‘triangle’ (881490); they turn right here (with care!) and go north past the last watering station and through Regoul to the junction with the B9101. Taking care at this junction with the busy Cawdor – Nairn road they turn right and about 150 yards later, turn left and follow the B9090 across the bridge over the River Nairn and onwards into Nairn. In town, and after passing under the railway bridge and past the Post Office, they turn left onto Leopold Street, and right at the traffic lights where they must stop if the lights are red. and where there will be Police presence. Taking care on the following short stretch on the A96, they turn left at the mini-roundabout and then first right into the Links car park and the Finish
In the event of any problems on the Hill Route which result in it being unusable (e.g. landslide or extreme weather), a “Plan B” Hill route has been prepared for use as a last resort. The plans for this part of the route are shown below: