Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

£15,000 Highland Kings running ultra accused of vandalising Isle of Arran landscapes

© Shutterstock / Sam SpicerGoatfell on the Isle of Arran where Highland Kings race organisers are accused of vandalising the environment.
Goatfell on the Isle of Arran where Highland Kings race organisers are accused of vandalising the environment.

An exclusive running ultra which charges over £15,000 per entrant has been accused of “criminal” vandalism on the Isle of Arran.

The Highland Kings race organisers were reported to have marked “hundreds” of native rocks on Goatfell, Arran’s tallest mountain, with bright neon spray paint to mark the way of the race.

It is believed that the paint could damage the lichens on the rocks by altering the pH balance of the granite, as well as defacing the natural environment.

The event claims on its website to be “one of the most sustainable endurance events in the world.”

Arran-based Mountain Leader Lucy Wallace found the markers when out on Goatfell mountain following the race.

She said: “Last night while I was having a brilliant time on Goatfell with my friends, (yet somehow leaving no trace of our presence), we saw that the mountain had been daubed in hundreds of these sprayed on yellow waymarks.

© Megan McEachern
Spray paint left by Highland Kings race organisers on Arran.

“I contacted the race organisers for more information and they told me it was biodegradable chalk and therefore ok.

“I have since spoken to a number of event organisers who say this really goes against accepted practice, especially as the stuff takes a lot longer to wash off than advertised.

“I also understand it will fatally change the pH of the granite boulders and kill the lichens that grow there.

“Goatfell is a SSSI [Site of Significant Scientific Interest] and a landscape that is precious to a great many people.

“As far as I’m concerned this is criminal damage, vandalism.

“If this was done by ordinary folk the police would have had a word by now, but somehow the organisers of this event, who charge £15,000 per entrant, think this is OK.”

Highland Kings is “an exclusive and revolutionary luxury wilderness ultra-marathon designed by Ex Special Forces,” covering 120 miles and 10,000m of ascent across Scotland’s west coast mountains from Glencoe to the Isle of Arran, culminating in a final gala in a castle.

Over £15,000 to take part, it has been billed “the first of its kind on Scottish soil combining trail running over some of the west coast’s most iconic islands with transfer by speedboat and luxury accommodation at the end of each day.”

“Since the event ended, the Highland Kings team has been working with the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) to remove all traces of markers from the course.

Highland Kings have apologised for the path markers.

Organisers said: “We sincerely apologise for the upset we have caused in relation to route markers on our recent ultra-marathon event.

“It was always in our operations plan to have our team return to the route in the days following the event to remove all trace of the biodegradable chalk.

“This has now been completed as planned with every step retraced to ensure the markings are removed thoroughly and satisfactorily.  We are working with the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) to ensure that the removal meets its standards.

“Together with marshals, support runners, GPX routes pre-programmed on watches and daily athlete briefings the route markers were planned to support athlete safety as they were unfamiliar with the region and this type of terrain.

“All materials during the event were specifically selected to protect our green spaces including the use of biodegradable chalk. Living and working in the area, we are acutely conscious of the environmental impact that events such as Highland Kings have and will learn from this experience.

“We would like to assure anyone concerned about the lasting impact of the Highland Kings Ultra that we are absolutely committed to delivering a sustainable legacy for the region.

“We welcome all comments and would be delighted to work with anyone concerned on future Highland Kings Ultra events to ensure we continue to create unique experiences our community can be proud of.”