World’s toughest cross-country adventure back after four years


ONE of world’s toughest cross-country adventure races is being revived four years after it last took place.

The Hebridean Challenge is a gruelling 260-mile, three-day endurance test involving off-road running, cycling, swimming and kayaking.

From the mid-90s to 2008 it regularly attracted around 150 of the planet’s toughest all-round athletes.

Credit:Carrick Armer
The event is not easily signposted and requires a lot of navigation and orienteering. Credit:Carrick Armer


Now a former competitor is relaunching “The Heb” in September this year.

Triathlete Paul McGreal, whose company Durty Events is organising the event, said competitors would battle out for the “bragging rights” of winning the race.

He said: “It was very logistically complicated and required a lot of time off work.

“You had to get a team of five people together which can be very difficult.”

Paul, from Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, added: “It was a huge disappointment to see the race dwindle and then die, both from a personal perspective, and from a ‘general health of UK adventure racing’ viewpoint.

“I was aware that a lot of people felt the same way, and there was a lot of love for the race.

“However, that wasn’t translating into entries or the race would have survived.”

Paul McGreal said competitors would battle out for the “bragging rights” of winning the race


Although the length of the race has been cut to “just” 260 miles and 72 hours, Paul promised it would still be “packed full of all the adventure, excitement and fun that the event is renowned for”.

He said: “We’ve taken the fantastic atmosphere and condensed it down.”

The race will begin in 5 September in Oban, and is due to go on for three days with a finishing point on the island of Barra following an as-yet undisclosed route.

The website for the event reveals only that “you may find yourself on a mountain bike, kayaking, open water swimming, running and navigating from a secret start location to the finish on the Island of Barra”.

He said the Heb will not be not an easily signposted affair: “There’s a lot of navigation, it’s orienteering but on a grand scale.”

Competitors can take part in three-person teams or go solo, and Paul waned them to expect anything along the route.

Entries for the 2013 Heb are now open, with solo entries costing £330 and teams costing £890.

The race begins on 5 September in Oban and is due to last three days.                        Credit: Carrick Armer


There is no cash prize but the exhausted victors can expect plenty of kudos.

Post-race there will be a ‘Heb’ Party laid on in Castlebay on the Isle of Barra where competitors and everyone involved in the event will have the chance to celebrate their achievements together.

Some of the world’s best multisport challengers have competed in the Heb, including Ike Wilson from the US and John Jacoby from Australia.