Swimrun Scotland: All About The Scurry Yellowcraig Swim / Run Challenge

The Scurry Yellowcraig Swim / Run challenge is a relatively new race hosted a short distance away from Edinburgh, United Kingdom along a beautiful stretch of coastline. Participants have the option to compete in pairs or solo along a 18.5km Sprint course. The course has 14.5km running (5 runs) and 4km in swimming (4 swims). The longest swim is 2km. It looks like a gem of a course! The race is on Saturday 26th August 2023. We had a chat with Race Director, Peter Ness to discover more.

How did you discover swimrun?

I’ve been following the swimrun scene in the UK and Sweden for a while now and scouted out a few potential Scottish locations. Yellowcraig and Fidra island is an awesome spot for a swim and connecting up with Berwick Law and the West Bay in North Berwick makes for a challenging swimrun course.

Peter has an extensive multi sport background, running the Lochore Sprint Triathlon for 10 years and setting up Scurry Events in 2017 with a unique run Scurry to the Sea from Edinburgh’s skyline in the Pentlands down to a beach finish by the sea. We now run around 12 separate Scurry multi sport and trail running events annually and are affiliated to a few more such as the John Muir Way Ultra and Great Scottish Events.

What can participants expect at the The Scurry Yellowcraig swim / run?

Robert Louis Stevenson’s father and uncle created the Fidra island lighthouse and Stevenson based the map of treasure island on the shape of Fidra. The race starts looking on to the island and after the first run the competitors take on a unique 2km sea swim out and along the side of Fidra island. They then run along the shoreline towards North Berwick (recently voted one of the best place to live in Scotland) passing the Lamb (owned by Uri Geller) and Craigleith (renowned for breeding seabirds) before swimming across the West Bay and exiting up the slipway around the scenic North Berwick harbour.

Competitors then run a 5km route to the top of the iconic North Berwick Law with 2 arching whale bones at the top and on a good day will have a full view of the swim run course, before swimming back over the bay and heading up to the Broad sands beach for a final 1km swim and run to the finish.

What is the atmosphere like at your events?

On announcing the 2023 event going live the first comment was – Excellent! Good to see such a great event back! Our events try to be inclusive and fun. The Yellowcraig event will be challenging but the atmosphere should be friendly and fun if the last event is anything to go by. Swimrunners tend to be a sociable group who share a similar passion and are happy to encourage newbies into the sport. We have introduced the solo option as well as pairs and the nature of this event with smaller overall event numbers to some of the larger races for example means you will see more encouragement around from the start line and competitors looking out for each other along the way.

What do you think is the most challenging part of the course is for athletes?

The 2km Fidra island sea swim near the start will be the most challenging part. Competitors will swim over 500m out to sea before traversing along the front of Fidra island. We will have a full water safety team with water safety boats, kayakers and supps. The runs are challenging as well with the ascent and descent of Berwick law and a scenic beach run in-between.

What’s the highlight of this course?

The half way point on the top of Berwick Law and crossing the finish line looking back on Fidra island and and knowing you have taken on 18.5km of challenging and memorable scenic swimrun course

And any advice for any first-time swimrunners doing the event?

Make sure you can swim the distance at least in a pool before taking on this event as well as doing a number of sea swim and run practice sessions in the weeks running up to the event. If you are a newbie to swim / run then start researching the kit and checking out swimrun.com. Try an Aquathlon or two (e.g. Scurry swims – Lochore 2023 ) to get a taste of swimming and running together and go for it challenge yourself and join us on the 26th of August.)

Entries are open for the Scurry Yellowcraig Swim / Run challenge.

Fred Newton

Fred is the Editor and co-founder of swimrun.com. He has actively been involved with the sport of swimrun as an enthusiastic participant, race director, volunteer and journalist.

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