Police probe after race organisers accused of route marker vandalism

One of the brighly coloured waymarks that have caused upset after being daubed on rocks by luxury race organisers, Highland Kings.

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Police enquiries are being conducted after ‘hundreds’ of rocks were painted with bright yellow waymarks for a hill race on Arran.

It comes after local mountain leader and outdoor enthusiast Lucy Wallace accused premium race organisers Highland Kings of criminal damage and vandalism on the Arran leg of the four-day, 120-mile race from Lochranza to Dougarie.

The event was billed as the world’s first premium ultra race with speedboat transport, luxury accommodation and gourmet meals. It cost participants around £15,000 per person to enter.


Lucy visited Goatfell the day after the race and said: ‘While I was having a brilliant time on Goatfell with my friends, we saw the mountain had been daubed in hundreds of these sprayed on yellow waymarks.

‘They were painted by a mountain running event, Highland Kings, which on its website claims to be one of the most sustainable ultras in the world.

‘As far as I’m concerned this is criminal damage and vandalism. If this was done by ordinary folk the police would have had a word by now, but somehow the organisers of this event think this is okay.’

Lucy returned to the waymarks four days after the team had been to clean the course.


She said: ‘There’s some signs someone has attempted to wash some of them away, but other marks looked new, despite 10 hours of rain on Saturday.

‘Harmless chalk this is not and many of the marks serve zero navigational purpose, on boulders every few metres next to an obvious path.’

Goatfell is owned by the National Trust for Scotland which has also been making enquiries into the incident.

A police spokesman on Arran said: ‘It has been highlighted to Police Scotland on the island who have carried out enquiries into the incident and we are continuing to work with the National Trust for Scotland.’

A Highland Kings spokesperson told the Banner: ‘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.

‘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 NTS to ensure the removal meets its high 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.

‘We assure anyone concerned about the lasting impact of the Highland Kings Ultra that we are 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.’

 

One of the brightly coloured waymarks that have caused upset after being daubed on rocks by luxury race organisers Highland Kings. No_B18HK01

Four days after the race, cleaning and after a weekend of heavy rain the paint still looked remarkably fresh and vivid. Photograph: Lucy Wallace. No_B18HK02