The SCU Wilderness Challenge – Mountain Marathon

Join SCU on a mountain marathon wilderness challenge across the ‘Arrochar Alps’ with stunning views across the southern highlands of Scotland.


22nd-24th April 2022.


Join us on a mountain marathon across the ‘Arrochar Alps’ with stunning views across the southern highlands of Scotland, it’s Lochs and the Western Islands surviving on just what you carry with you, wild camping on the way.

You will walk over 26 miles ‘off the beaten track’ from Ardlui to Tarbut to the West of Loch Long across the three peaks of Ben Vorlich (943m), Ben Vane (916m) and Ben Ime (1011m).

Across the three-day challenge you will learn mountain leadership, wild campcraft and the art of bivvying.  A bivvy—short for “bivouac sack”—is as simple as a shelter gets. It’s essentially a rain jacket for your sleeping bag, sleeping pad and you. Sleeping in a thin bag with the elements millimetres away is certainly a challenge. You can feel very vulnerable, but at the same time, falling asleep emersed in nature is a wonderful experience. It’s a real adventure and something you won’t soon forget.

The challenge of living for a weekend without everyday conveniences and braving the elements will be nerve-wracking for some but there are clear opportunities for learning and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone as well as empathising with those who do not have access to such facilities.

We’ve chosen an area away from the most common tourist routes so we can get a real ‘wilderness’ experience. Our guides are mountain leader qualified, and we have clear contingency plans and procedures in the event of accident, emergency, or severe weather.

Springtime in Scotland brings milder temperatures yet good chances of sunny days and is a great time to head into the mountains. A huge bonus is that the famously aggressive Scottish midges will not yet be in full force. In recent years, springtime has boasted some of the UK’s best weather and Scotland in spring is hard to beat. However, you should come prepared for the potential of rain – it’s just a case of dressing according to the weather! Spring scenery boasts lots of shades of green and is dotted with amazing colours.

Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should be fine to complete the challenge but that doesn’t mean it will be easy – some resilience will be required!


The trip will look something like this…

Day Time Activity
Friday 13.00 Arrive at Glasgow Central Station to meet the team and have a first brief, kit check and then get the train to the starting point.
Friday 16.00 Arrive at Ardlui – the starting point for the Wilderness Challenge. Walk into the hills!
Friday 20.00 First Camp. Find shelter and set up your bed for the night and the team make their first camp dinner.
Saturday 07.30 Breakfast and pack up then walk! The route today heads across the top of two peaks.
Saturday 12:00 Lunch.
Saturday 20.00 Second Camp and dinner.
Sunday 07.30 Breakfast and pack up then walk route across last peak to finish line.
Sunday 14:30 Finish route at Tarbut and get train back to Glasgow.
Sunday 16:00 Arrive back at Glasgow Central Station – head back to comfort and a shower at a hostel/hotel or travel home.


What you will need – the basics:

  • Walking Boots
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Rucksack and liner
  • A bivvy bag, sleeping bag and sleeping matt
  • Personal wash and care kit
  • Personal food and eating/drinking equipment

What we will provide:

  • Qualified Mountain Leaders and Outdoor First Aiders
  • Map and compass
  • Tarpaulins and group covers in case of rain
  • Cooking equipment and fuel
  • Group first aid kit and emergency equipment
  • Toilet kit

To take part, there will be a £175 sign-up fee/deposit to book your place. There will also be a minimum fundraising target of £500 which, if you’re volunteering at a Street Child World Cup, will come off your fundraising target. To sign up, please get in touch with with your preferred date.

There will be information evenings on Zoom provided ahead of the challenge, so that you receive all the tips and information you will need. Any advice needed on travel can be discussed at these sessions should anyone want to share or coordinate their transport plans to Glasgow. Everyone is welcome, so please feel free to extend the invite to partners, friends, and colleagues (over 16s only).