Where to See the Race
[Race followers should see the google map of the runs and read
the notes which give more information.]
The yachts always leave Barmouth harbour in procession an hour
before the start and throughout the morning there are
entertainments on the harbour front. (The local Samba band
usually performs out on the end of the breakwater as the boats
leave the harbour.)
From there on race followers will be able to see their positions of
the boats and runners on the satellite tracker via the race website,
and anyone wanting to see some of the action can visit the
It is a long drive out along the Llyn Peninsula but as the yachts come around the high cliffs of Bardsey head they come very (very) close inshore and its possible to walk down among the rocks and see them.
Caernarfon, Snowdon & Menai Strait
The leading yachts often come into Caernarfon in the hours of darkness (it depends on the start time) so you may have to be late to bed or early to rise to see them. The checkpoint is on the pier behind the new flats on the harbour redevelopment and the yachts anchor nearby.
Runners will be on Snowdon during Sunday morning, starting the climb up the mountain from near the Snowdon Ranger Hostel at Rhyd Ddu and coming down into Llanberis by the path alongside the mountain railway.
Once the runners return the yachts will then be making the hazardous passage of the Menai Strait during Sunday. There are viewpoints all along the narrow Strait, but the best is on the Telford Bridge or from the chapel on an island just below it, which can be reached via a causeway. You can also walk to the end of Bangor Pier.
Whitehaven & Scafell Pike
It’s harder to predict arrival times in Whitehaven but at the very earliest the leaders might arrive at dusk on Sunday ready for the run up Scafell Pike. Yachts will then be arriving through Monday/Tuesday and berthing in the harbour and information is available at the marshal point by the Marina entrance. (If the yachts on the tracker are stationary outside the harbour it’s because they are waiting for the tide to get through the lock gate.)
The cycling route out to Ennerdale follows the Whitehaven to Ennderale Cycleway, along a disused railway line and country lanes. This passes through Cleator Moor and Ennerdale Bridge, then leaves the cycle path to take country roads to Bowness Knott Car Park. The cycleway can be accessed at various points and support teams can park up at Bowness, but this as far as any race follower can go by car. (The riders continue along the forest track to Black Sail Youth Hostel which is not driveable.)
From the hostel the racers continue on foot over Black Sail Pass to drop down into Wasdale, where they pass by the Wasdale Head Inn before climbing Scafell Pike. As they return by the same route runners can be seen here both before and after the Scafell Pike ascent.
Fort William and Ben Nevis
Once they leave Whitehaven the yachts sail around the Mull of Galloway and Mull of Kintyre and it isn’t until they reach the Inner Hebridean islands that race followers stand any chance of seeing them – and then at a distance.
The best way is to take a boat out from Ardfern or Croabh Haven, where there are some pleasure cruises going out into the Sound of Jura, and after this it is sometimes possible to see the yachts at a distance from Port Appin as they come ‘inside’ Lismore Island.
They can be seen for sure as they pass through the Corran Narrows on Loch Linnhe and the action here can be tense if the tide is turning against them and they are trying to force a way through. Either that or you’ll see the yachts fly through at great speed with the tide.
From there they sail down Loch Linnhe to Fort William, passing the town and motoring into the village of Corpach to moor outside the Caladonian Canal basin, where the runners come ashore for the final time. There is a great atmosphere around the sea lock with yachts moored up and runners setting off and returning to cross the finish line.
Their route up and down Ben Nevis begins and ends with a run along the canal to Neptune’s Staircase, and then follows the road out to Achintee and the Ben Nevis Inn … an ideal place to see runners off up the mountain and get some refreshment while you wait for them to come back down! Their route follows the main ‘tourist track’ up and down ‘The Ben’, and then it is back along the road and the canal to reach the finish line!
[Please note it is against the race rules to assist or accompany the competitors at any point.]