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ITERA 2021 Heads for Oban

The ITERA Expedition Adventure Race will once again be part of the Adventure Racing World Series in 2021 and the venue has been announced today as the town of Oban in the West Highlands of Scotland!

The race will take place from August 14th 2021 attracting teams from around the world to the town known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’.

Oban is the largest town between Glasgow and Fort William, serving a huge area of Scotland and is a hub for tourists looking to explore the islands, mountains and lochs of the magical west coast.

Aerial view of Oban. Credit - calflier001 - HEBRIDEAN AIR SERVICES

Announcing the location Race Director Paul McGreal commented;

“We really can go in any direction from Oban and create an incredible, interesting, wild and varied race. Locating the race in an urban setting worked really well for ITERA 2019 in Inverness – it helped provide great facilities for the athletes and race crew before and after the race itself. We hope to repeat that combination of wild racing and a great Scottish welcome in 2021.”

The welcome is assured in Oban and was expressed by Brendan O’Hara, the MSP for Argyll & Bute.

“I am absolutely delighted that the Adventure Racing World Series is coming to Argyll & Bute and I look forward to seeing so many athletes from around the world coming to Oban to challenge themselves in our spectacular, rugged landscapes. This will be a great boost for the town, proving once again that Oban is the perfect base for adventure.”

This is the first time the race has returned to the same country twice in a row, so the location may surprise teams eagerly awaiting news of the next race.

Last year’s race in Inverness attracted 37 teams from 10 different countries and many of those are keen to return. After their Highland experiences last year they will be delighted to have the chance to explore more of Scotland. (The 2019 course was 565km, so they get to see a lot!)

The 2019 start at Dunrobin Castle. Photo Cedric Lauzier

Course Planner Tom Gibbs, who is a former Adventure Racing World Champion, is excited by the opportunities Oban offers.

“The surrounding area has everything you could ask for – big mountains, seas, lakes, islands, castles, history and distilleries. We are confident we can put on a world class course that will challenge and delight teams in equal measure.”

Oban is on the coast of the Firth of Lorn and is the main ferry terminal for the Hebridean Islands. To the north Loch Linnhe leads to Fort William and Ben Nevis, while inland the remote Glen Etive takes you through to the high peaks of Glen Coe. Across the Firth of Lorn lie the wild and little visited Morvern and Ardnamurchan peninsulas, and the Isle of Mull, one of the bigger Hebridean isles with a high point of 966m on Ben More.

There are dozens more islands to explore, including Jura to the south, with the famous Paps of Jura peaks and the Corryvreckan Whirlpool on its northern tip. The coastline to the south of Oban is full of remote inlets, bays and beaches and the area is rich in prehistoric monuments, fortifications and castles.

Gibbs will have no difficulty finding locations and experiences for a 600km+ course of non-stop trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and navigation.

The race will once again be staged by Open Adventure, who have lead the way in adventure sports in the UK since 2004. Under the guidance of James and Lisa Thurlow the company have run hundreds of events, including trail running, cycling and adventure racing all over the UK, as well as working on international events. The company are known for their attention to detail, high service standards and exceptional courses.

Exploring Scotland with ITERA. Photo; Cedric Lauzier

Taking place over 5 days ITERA is the longest event on the Open Adventure calendar and is part of the Adventure Racing World Series, which combines the premiere adventure races around the world.

The winners of the 2021 ITERA will also win a place in next year’s Adventure Racing World Championship.

For more details on ITERA 2021 and to enter visit

About the author

Daniel MacIntyre

Daniel MacIntyre


Daniel is an experienced business development consultant, digital marketing manager and director of The View, Oban’s live music venue and bar.

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