You may make an initial boat journey from your start point to reach another point on the coast, or cross, but not travel along, large bodies of water such as Loch Ness and Loch Linnhe. Popular crossings (which may need to be pre-booked, are listed below. Other crossings (commercial ferries or private hire) are possible but please check the route is acceptable with the coordinators before making firm bookings.
1. Mallaig to Inverie – Western Isle Cruises (01687 462 233) have supported the Challenge for decades and offer regular sailings and lay on a larger boat for busy Challenge crossings.
2. Dalelia to Polloch – Crossings of Loch Shiel can be arranged with Izzy Buchan and John Macaulay. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or 01967 431 253.
3. Camasnagaul to Fort William – Highland Ferries This ferry now runs 7 days a week – previously did not run on Sundays.
4. Corran Ferry – Sailings every 20–30 mins across Loch Linnhe from 6:30 am (8:30 Sun) to 9:20pm – no need to book. Current well publicised problems with the vehicle ferry will hopefully be resolved by May 2024 but a passenger ferry is generally provided when the car ferry is not available.
5. Oban to Lismore – Calmac (0800 066 5000). Challengers using this route are given dispensation to sign out early on their designated start day in order to catch the 9am ferry. You will also need the Argyll and Bute Council (01546 605 522) service from the north end of Lismore to Appin.
6. Tarbert (Loch Fyne) to Portavadie – Calmac (0800 066 5000). Runs hourly from 8am to 6pm. This can be used to access Portavadie prior to the Challenge.
7. Tarbet (Loch Lomond) to Inversnaid and Rowardenan – Cruise Loch Lomond (01301 702356) offer waterbus services across Loch Lomond. The Rowardenan ferry only runs at weekends. Please note there is no longer a ferry service from Inveruglas.
8. Drumnadrochit to Inverfarigaig – The ferry, provided by Gordon Menzies, runs from Temple Pier (NH 528 300) on the north side of Urquhart Bay to Inverfarigaig (NH 518 237) around 8-9am and 4-5pm. Please note the Inverfarigaig Pier is in a poor state of repair and care is needed when disembarking. Please follow Gordon’s instructions
Gordon has retired from most of his tourist work to concentrate on research projects but is making an exception for the Challenge. Book your crossing by filling in the box on the route sheet (top right corner, page 1). The Coordinator will pass names and numbers to Gordon in April and will circulate instructions from Gordon on how to confirm your crossing prior to the Challenge.