Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we get asked. If you have a particular enquiry that is not shown below please don't hesitate to get in touch via our online enquiry form or by telephone: 0131 524 0350.

Topics -

  1. Background to the Caledonian Challenge
  2. The Team
  3. Entry
  4. Fundraising
  5. Training, Terrain and Kit
  6. Miscellaneous

Background to the Caledonian Challenge

What is the THE 54?

THE 54 is an event which will test you over 54 miles, both individually and as a team; physically, mentally and at points emotionally. It will push your body and your mind to its limits over 24 hours, all without sleep.

What is THE 24?

THE 24 is a team event, challenging yourself and your team to walking 24 miles in 12 hours. It takes place along part of the same route as THE 54, between Fort William and Glencoe Mountain Centre.

What is the average time to do THE 54 and THE 24?

22½ hours for THE 54 and 10 hours for THE 24.

The Team

How many people do I need for my team?

THE 54 is for teams of 4+ people. THE 24 is for teams of 2+ people. Remember teams on both events will need a Support Crew as well!

I don't have complete details for all my team, can I still enter?

To register all you require are your teammates' names and email addresses. They can then fill in their personal details, such as date of birth or address, later. We cannot confirm your team's place on the event until we have all of your teammates' details. This is the responsibility of the team leader to finalise.

Can you send information to all of us -  not just the team leader?

Every team member receives all-important emails - as long as we have the right email address! It is up to the team leader however to manage and motivate the team, ensuring all the emails and instructions are actioned.

What does a team leader do?

The Team Leader acts as the main point of contact between the team and the Events Team. It is their responsibility to inform us of any major team changes such as participant substitutions. Team Leaders need to be good at co-ordinating or delegating; it can help to make individual team members take the lead on fundraising, training and logistics. You can change the Team Leader at any point before the Challenge but please let us know if you are doing so.

Is it compulsory to have a support crew on THE 54 and THE 24?

Yes - these are difficult events. Your support crew is a vital part of your team - they will feed you at checkpoints, top up your supplies of water & snacks, encourage you on your way and transport you. You can't compete in either Challenge without them.

If providing a Support Crew is a problem then we offer a limited number of places on a Support Package for teams on THE 54. If this is something you are interested in please contact us for more details.

What does the Support Crew need to bring with them?

Support Crews need to be like scouts: Be prepared - for all conditions. They should ensure that they have suitable food supplies and adequate water to cook with, spare dry clothing, folding chairs, table & waterproof sheeting (for bad weather). Many support crews also bring temporary shelters. They will need to carry goods for all weather, from suntan cream to midge repellent. A road map can also be useful though directions for support crews will be available online before the event.

Can we make our own arrangements to meet up with our support crew along the route?

No. For safety reasons please only meet your team at Checkpoints. 


How much does it cost?

Entry fees for the 2017 event are still tbc. In 2016 THE 54 had an entry fee of up to £95 per person, and THE 24 had an entry fee of up to £50 per person. The entry fee helps cover the logistical costs of putting on the event in such a rural location- marquees, catering, loos etc. The entry fee is non-refundable and is not included in reaching your team's fundraising target.

What do I get for my entry fee?

You can find a comprehensive breakdown of what you can expect to receive from us both before and during the event here.

How old do I need to be?

All participants must be 18 years of age or more on the day of the event (unless a guardian is taking part in the same team and willing to sign a contract of responsibility-  in which case 16 year olds are permitted).

I'm a previous Challenger - are there any benefits in coming back again?

As a previous Challenger we would like to thank you for taking part in the Challenge before and, providing you reached your fundraising commitments in previous years, we would like to offer you a reduced entry fee of £50pp (closing date for this offer tbc) and a reduced fundraising commitment of £300pp for those taking on THE 54. If you wish to take part in THE 24 again, the cost will be £50pp to enter with a fundraising commitment of £300.

How can I get to the event?

Both Challenges begin in, or around, Fort William, which is relatively easy to get to -  only 2 ½ hours north of Glasgow or 3 hours north-west of Edinburgh by car. Flights go directly into Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. There is also a direct train service from Glasgow to Fort William.


How much do we need to raise?

The minimum fundraising commitment is £400 per person for THE 54 (£300 for past participants) and £300 for THE 24.

Most teams raise much more than this – in fact the average amount raised per person in 2013 was £665 – and you will be surprised at how generous people can be. It helps to be well organised and to start early; this will leave you more time to focus on your training in the time leading up to the event.  Please note that Gift Aid is not included in your fundraising commitment.

Must we meet the minimum fundraising commitment?

Yes. You must meet the minimum fundraising commitment by the final fundraising deadline of Monday 1st August 2016. All funds raised are for Foundation Scotland.

We're pleased to say that very few of our teams fall short of the target, no matter how pessimistic they were to start with. We have plenty of fundraising resources available, and our events team are more than happy to help you with your fundraising and share lots of previously successful ideas.

Where does my fundraising go?

Foundation Scotland is the busiest distributor of charity funds in Scotland, supporting grassroots charities and community groups in every local authority area of Scotland. Annually Foundation Scotland gives over £6m in 700 grants to groups who support their local community. For more information try Foundation Scotland’s website

Can I fundraise jointly for another charity?

No, we ask that all fundraising is done on behalf of Foundation Scotland. 

Can we fundraise jointly with another team?

No, unfortunately our online system can't accommodate this. However, if you plan on joint-fundraising, within a company for example, then we may be able to provide some assistance.

Can I use an alternative online donation page such as Just Giving/Virgin Money Giving for my fundraising?

No, Foundation Scotland is not registered with Just Giving as this comes with additional costs. To help you to avoid a portion of your donations not going to charity we have created your own bespoke fundraising page. This comes with no additional costs and all your fundraising goes directly to Foundation Scotland without a "middle man" taking a cut. If you require any assistance with your fundraising page, please get in touch with us.

What happens if our team pulls out before the event?

We can defer your entry fee to the following year.

Training, Terrain and Kit

How much training do I need to do?

Challengers always say in hindsight that they wish they'd done more training. We provide a downloadable 14 week Training Guide so please use it.

You will need to do a considerable amount of training. But fortunately it is training that you can do every day before the event: walking, walking and more walking. You need to build up endurance, mental strength and stamina. Everyone is different - training will also help you learn your individual and teams needs prior to the event. How often you need to drink, how fatigue affects you, what footwear you prefer, and so on.

Training with your team will help you to set your pace, and to work out your roles within the team, and how best to support each other. Participants often find the training is one of their favourite aspects of the event - it can mean quality time spent with your team, as you all get fitter and prepare for the journey ahead.

We all work full time - will we have time to train?

Most Challengers work full-time and find the training to be an essential, enjoyable, motivating and necessary part of the event. A walk to, or from work can be considered training. Longer walks at the weekends will also help.

What is the terrain like?

It does vary. The course travels along old drover roads, which are public walkways and can be stony and sore underfoot. But there are also flat paved sections which are a little easier. Remember you will be walking up, and down, various hills as well. Please take a look at the paths on our online video and check out the route profile!

Are cross-country trainers or hiking boots better for this event?

It is up to you - but whatever you choose make sure you do plenty of training in them and harden them, and your feet up. Different socks will also feel more or less comfortable in different shoes so try multiple combinations to find the most comfortable fit.

What will we need to take on the day?

There is a Kit List online which can be downloaded. This guide contains the essential items that you need to carry during the event. We do recommend you travel light and share the items on the list throughout the team. Remember your Support Crew can also carry items for you between checkpoints.

Will we need a map?

We will provide appropriate maps to each team at Registration. You can also get maps of the area very easily in advance if you want to take a closer look. The route will also be signposted for both walkers and support crews.

General questions about the events

What facilities are at the Checkpoints?

At each Checkpoint there will be medics, hot/cold drinks, toilets and first aiders. There will also be a team of amazing volunteers at each stop should you need additional assistance.

For THE 54 Challengers, there will be a nourishing meal provided at Checkpoint 4 (as your Support Crew will be unable to meet you there), and we offer everyone a breakfast roll at the finishing line. There will also be water stops at regular intervals along the way.

What is Registration?

Registration takes place in the Nevis Centre in Fort William from 3pm on the Friday afternoon before the events. It's where we hand out all your team’s relevant numbers and timing wristbands, both of which you will need at each checkpoint along the route. It is also the final opportunity to provide us with your emergency details as without these you will not be able to take part in our event.

Do we have to register the night before?

Yes, all walkers and support crew need to register in person as we cannot allow your teammates to register on your behalf. Apart from the information listed above there will also be a Final Safety Briefing to let you know any last minute important information. All teams must attend this to be allowed to start the event.

What happens if one of our team can't get to registration on time?

If you are unable to register on the Friday night, please contact the Events Team.

Where can we stay the night before the Challenge?

There are plenty of hotels, B&Bs and hostels in Fort William and the surrounding area. We recommend booking as early as possible due to the influx of teams, and it is a busy area for tourists in summer anyway.

When do the events begin?

For THE 54 there are various starting times at 7am, 8am and 9am (tbc for 2017), and for THE 24 all teams will start at 8am. We give our highest fundraisers first choice of starting times. 

Please note that runners will be given later start times.

Can I sleep on the way round?

No. Although you may feel tired and fatigued along the route, sleep is not allowed. For THE 54 Challengers, the night time section generally only lasts about 4hrs; in addition, there is a checkpoint which breaks this time up where you can stop and get some hot food and wake yourselves up.

Can I take my dog?

We do not recommend you take a dog with you. However, if you decide to do so then you must take responsibility for its welfare and the welfare of other participants. If your dog hasn't trained for the Challenge however, we don't recommend that it walks the complete course.

What happens if someone has to retire on-route?

If a team member or whole team decides to retire from the event en-route it is essential you inform a Chief Marshal. You can do this at checkpoints or by phoning Event HQ.

Do I still get a medal if I retire?

No, only those who cross the finishing line of the distance of event they entered get a medal. However, you will get a certificate and a reduced entry fee the following year if you want to come back to complete again.

What happens if we take longer than 12/ 24 hours?

You'll still get a medal! To complete THE 54 or THE 24 you will draw on all your internal resources and we commend the challengers who keep on going until they cross the finishing line - no matter what time it is done in!

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