Kit Guide for a Scottish Ultra-Marathon

Or any other run in Scotland for that matter.

It is oft said in the pre-race briefing to expect ‘weather’. Now, your canny Scot knows exactly what that means. The country that can so often give us four seasons in one day means that we have to plan for said four seasons.

So here is a quick guide to ensure success and avoid the packing procrastination trap.

empty boot.jpg
  • Check forecast, laugh and ignore.
  • Take one car. Clear the boot out and free up the back seats. Now add the following:
  • 3 pairs of trail shoes ranging from easy trail to mega aggressive super ‘grippy’ will stick to anything. Throw in a pair of road shoes just in case.
  • Shorts, ¾ tights, long tights, thermal long tights (suitable for arctic conditions)
  • T-shirts, a vests, long sleeved tops, a thermal top, some merino base layers.
  • Several pairs of socks
  • A range of jackets to cover anything from a light breeze to sub-zero temperatures. A lightweight wind chill, a shell, a fleece and a down jacket should just about do it. Oh, and a gilet for good measure.
  • Full waterproofs
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Disposable hand and foot warmers
  • Several buffs. The great multi-taskers that can provide warmth, sun protection, impromptu sponge or facecloth, and keep your noodles (hair) out of your face in high winds.
  • Sunglasses
  • Snow goggles
  • Head torch
  • Foil Blanket
  • Wool or fleece blanket for when you have to take shelter in the car mid-run.
  • Copious quantities of your midge repellent of choice (except in mid-winter).
  • Sunblock: factor 20 through to my skin can’t breathe and I will get rickets factor 1000.
  • Tick removal tool
  • Antihistamine cream for other insect bites. Beware the mighty cleg.
  • A fully charged mobile phone with various emergency contact numbers saved, but which will be absolutely no use as there are large swathes of Scotland that have no signal whatsoever, but will act as your comfort blanket/noo-noo. (On a serious note this is an essential, as is the foil blanket).
  • Add the kitchen sink just to be sure.

That should just about cover all bases and is fine until you reach your start destination, at which point you realise all you have done is postpone the procrastination, and when you have to decide what you are actually going to wear, carry, put in drop bags or leave with your support. Rest assured whatever you decide will be wrong and you will almost inevitably end up boiling, freezing, soaked through, or sunburnt or any combination thereof.


Now repeat the above with food and fluid supplies to cover you from ‘I’m in a desert’ and need gallons of fluid, salt and won’t be able to eat much;  to ‘I’m in the arctic’ and need a mountain of food, hot drinks, soup, hot mashed potato.

Of course there is always the hard core option of going out there in a pair of shorts and a vest with three jelly babies, a water bottle, and just running very fast.

Job done. Happy ultra-running folks.