The iconic 95-mile (153km) West Highland Way runs from Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, to its highland town, Fort William. While this multi-day traverse is well known by hikers from around the world, there is a lesser-known tradition of mountain bikers and bikepackers that have been vying for record times along the Way for the last 10 years. Riding “the way” in its entirety is a hearty accomplishment on its own. It boasts a hefty 10,351 feet of climbing over that short span, and parts of the trail involve hiking your bike, rather than riding it.
Rab Wardell, a retired professional mountain biker, has had this route on his mind for a long while. In 2011, at 22-years of age, Rab set out on his first attempt, completing the route in 12 hours and 15 minutes, and in 2012, he bested that by completing it in just under 12 hours. A few years later, his record was toppled by Steve McInnes with a finish time of 11:30. Then in 2015, Scottish Endurance legend Keith Forsyth set a new fastest time of 10:27. Rab began thinking about trying to win his record back in 2019 and decided that a sub-10-hour time would be his goal. So mid-winter, Rab began his training to ride it in the fall. In the meantime, to Rab’s dismay, Fort William rider Gary McDonald set a scorching time of 9:28 on the route in early August. In this video, Rab sets out to challenge it once more. Watch his attempt below and scroll down to see a few more photos from his ride.
The West Highland Way is a true Scottish adventure. When you’re on it, you feel like a Hobbit making your way to Mordor.
Congrats to Rab for setting the new record of 09:15…
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