Between July and September 2017 Lisa and Libby will be attempting a continuous self-propelled round of the Munros (all the mountains over 3,000 feet in Scotland). Summiting all 282 mountains, cycling between them and with a little kayaking thrown in. This will involve approximately 1,000 miles of running/walking, 1,000 miles of cycling and 149,000 metres of ascent – 17 times the height of Everest (eek!)!
We will start on Ben More on the Isle of Mull in July, work our way around Scotland and end with Ben Hope in the north. This feat has only been completed by three other women in the past with a record time of 113 days. We hope to complete the challenge within 80 days.
We’d love to see some friendly faces during our trip so if you have some spare time and would like to come and join us to run a Munro or two, kayak some choppy waters, scramble across the Cuillins… Or even if you just fancy laughing at us hobbling around after a long day, then please do get in touch. We will be posting regularly on this page during the planning stages and during our round so you can keep up to date.
We are raising money for 3 great causes – Lockerbrook outdoor centre, Parkinson’sUK and WaterAid – sponsor our effort here.
After resting most of the day, on Sunday evening we had a relaxed walk into the base of Carn Bhac and wildcamped to trim the distance off Mondays walk. The cloud of midges outside our tent Monday morning helped us get swiftly up and out and we bagged our first Munro before 8.30am! We motored around the route of 8 Munros and had great views between the showers. We fortuitously made down to Glen Shee ski centre 2mins before they stopped serving where we got free creme brulé! We also met Duncan, Libby’s dad and our support team for August.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we bagged the 13 Munros between Glen Shee and Glenmuick with an overnight stop at Glen Doll. The high valleys and abundance of paths made these days feel like a real treat and we were happy to be joined by our next batch of visitors on weds night. Amy (Lisa’s friend) has come up from London to join us and Matt and Sarah (friends from Sheffield uni) met up with us after climbing in the area. On Thursday we had a fun team ascent of Mount Keen – the most easterly Munro. It was great to see everyone.
Friday to Sunday we did a great but challenging three day trip to bag 16 of the 18 munros in the Northern Cairngorms. In true Scottish fashion we had a great mix of beautiful sunny skies, bitter wind, fog and heavy showers. We stayed at Hutchinson’s memorial bothy and Corrour bothy (which luxuriously has a toilet!) and had great company at both. On Saturday evening and Sunday we were joined by Matt Dickinson, a fellow adventurer and contributer to the Next Challenge grant. It was great to talk all things adventure while we climbed Munros together. Thanks for the cake, custard and whisky Matt! To top off a hard week we cycled the long slog up to Cairngorm ski centre in preparation to climb the final 2 Munros in the Cairngorms and reach the halfway point on Monday – Lisa’s birthday.
Munro count: 139
We started the week from Glen Lochay in glorious sunshine. On Monday we bagged Sgiath Chuil, Meall Glas, Creag Mhor & Beinn Heasgarnich and had blue skies, fluffy marshmallow clouds and view from all of them. We topped the day off with a swim/wash in a beautiful mountain river.
On Tuesday we did 2 very hilly cycle rides and 3 individual Munros. The last cycle was relentlessly uphill and took it out of us a bit so we had a rest day in the cafes of Killin on Wednesday. We also met up with a friend’s parents who have walked most of the Munros so we picked their brains about routes.
On Thursday we had a great day and bagged Meall Nan Tarmachan and then 7 munros in the Ben Lawers range. There were paths for the whole way and very little descent between them – what a treat!
On Friday we did a little circuit of 4 munros (again with a path all the way!) and then cycled over to the iconic Schiehallion. Julie (Libby’s mum) joined us for Schiehallion – her first Munro! We’re hoping she’s caught the Munro bug.
For the weekend we had planned a 3 day trip with 2 overnight wild camps but found we could save a lot of miles, a bit of ascent and a lot of faff by splitting it into 2 long days instead and returning to the van. We did the first of these on Saturday starting with a 5 mile cycle from Blair Atholl followed by 32 miles of walking across heather covered slopes and an 8 mile mountain bike ride (in the dark)! It was midnight by the time we arrived back at the van tired, but happy.
Big thanks this week to Steve (Libby’s boyfriend), Mike (Lisa’s boyfriend) & Adam (Mike’s friend) for dropping mountain bikes for us and to Julie (Libby’s mum) who has done a fantastic job of driving the camper van, shopping and generally making our lives so much easier over the last month but is heading home today.
Munro count: 101
It’s the end of week 3 and our bodies are getting pretty used to the routine of Munro bagging at speed! The amount of food we are eating is becoming comical. We gave Steve, Libby’s boyfriend who is joining us for the weekend, a shock when we demolished an entire Jamaican ginger cake in about 30 seconds as second pudding.
The end of last week was topped off with a lovely meeting with the inspiring Kathleen Murgatroyd, the first woman and second person to complete a continuous self propelled round. We are feeling very grateful for the technology, information and lightweight kit we have available to us now.
We have had a great week and we treated with really sunny and calm day to kayak across loch Lomond, we also managed to climb Ben Vorlich and Ben Vane the same day, it was a long day out on the hill but we managed to catch a beautiful sunset. Other highlights of the week include a relaxing rest day in the cafés around Crianlarich and bagging a string of 5 munros in the area on another wind free day.
We had an exciting time climbing Ben Lui via the direct route from the track (not recommended!). It was wet and windy but we bagged another 5 munros that day. We are feeling really grateful for our Alpkit kit for keeping us warm on these soggy days. Today we have finished off the week with the lonely Ben Chonzie and a picturesque cycle ride.
Munro count: 74
We had a rest day in Fort William on Tuesday to do some more route planning and to reload on calories. On Weds we picked up 4 more Munros in Glen Coe on a beautiful day, we had a great view from the top.
We cycled down Glen Etive on Wednesday evening which was a lovely ride. Thursday and Friday we did a 2 day run with an overnight wild camp to pick up 9 Munros. The weather was threatening but fortunately most of the rain fell overnight on Thursday and we stayed relatively dry.
No such luck on Saturday where it chucked it down all day, it was tempting to call another rest day but we put full waterproofs on and bagged another 5 Munros. We were fortunate to find a campsite with a much needed drying room for the Saturday night.
On Sunday we cycled west and picked up 4 Munros, including our 50th Munro – Ben Cruachan. A successful, but pretty wet week!
Munro count: 53
The kayak across the Sound of Mull, guided by Nick from clear water paddling was really fun. After a long cycle and picking off the 3 munros north of Glenfinnan we did the 18 Munros of the Tranter’s round (Glen Nevis) over two days, stopping in Meannach bothy where Mike had kindly set up camp for us. This was a rewarding two days out with lots of scrambling, although the views were fleeting as we were mostly inside the cloud.
Corin and Bo were going planning to meet us on Friday on their way to Ben Nevis – but hard-going ground and tired legs made for a late evening for us so we met in the campsite at the end of the day. Corin and Bo had a great day scrambling along the ridge between CMD and Ben Nevis. The first week has been a successful week (27 out of 282 Munro’s ticked off). Over the next couple of days we had some great days out as the Bog Beauty team reunited! The best thing was doing the Anoach Eagach ridge together, the weather was perfect for it.
The next couple of weeks will be very challenging. We are often doing long – often 10-13 hours of combined running and cycling! We hope to keep the website updated every week, but Scotland is not famous for its reception so bear with us for the latest Munro Round 2017 news!
Munro count: 27
The Next Challenge Grant
We are really excited to announce that we have won a grant from The Next Challenge! They are giving us £600 towards our challenge; this will help out so much and give us the best chance of a successful completion. Thank you so much!
The Next Challenge is an awesome little scheme set up by Tim Moss, a British adventurer. He aims to encourage others to have their own adventures by telling his own stories through a blog and the books he has written, and by providing support in the way of advice and his expedition grant. The adventures he supports are of all shapes and sizes, from having adventures with a newborn baby, to a mother and daughter paddle boarding through the Lake District to ours – you can check out this years full list here. Tim has funded and supported many adventures including Elise Downing and her VERY long run (5,000 miles!) around the coast of Britain (read more about her here).
The money is donated by Tim, a small collection of other adventurers and several small donations from the public. If you would like find out more about donating to a cause like this click here.
Thanks again to Tim at The Next Challenge, we are so excited to receive support like this – it really validates our idea and spurs us on to try as hard at this as possible. Only 2 weeks to go now!
Why are we doing this? Mostly to see if we can. To push ourselves. To explore a beautiful country that neither of us know well enough and to put our love for running to the ultimate test! But none of that stops us raising money for three very good causes along the way. We have chosen an international, national and local charity which are close to our hearts and that we believe are really fantastic causes. These are: WaterAid who provide clean water and decent sanitation to some of the world’s poorest people; Parkinson’s UK, who support sufferers of Parkinson’s and research into this devastating disease; and a local Outdoor Centre – Lockerbrook Farm Outdoor Centre.
You can read more about these charities on our fundraising page www.justgiving.com/teams/munros2017 and whilst you’re there, why not donate a pound or two. Every donation, however small, will help to provide a person in need with clean drinking water or sanitation, support someone with Parkinson’s Disease or help a young person to fall in love with the outdoors. And on drizzly Scottish days when we’re being eaten alive by midges whilst wading through Scottish bogs to reach remote munros it will probably spur us on too.
With just over 1 month to go until the start of the round Lisa and Libby have been busy training and planning logistics for the round!
Here is a photo-update of what we’ve been up to:
Huge Thank You to our sponsors!
We are lucky enough to have been given some free kit to help us with the training for completion of our Munro round. Alpkit and Inov-8 have very generously given us some running and cycling clothes, camping stove and pans and running shoes (respectively).
Additionally, Harvey Maps have given us a discount on their maps to help us navigate our way around Scotland. RockTape are helping us stay injury free by providing us with a roll of their kinesiology tape and the Scottish Youth Hostel Association are letting us stay in their hostels for half price over the summer for when we need a shower or break from van-life.
We are looking forward to testing out this kit over the next few weeks as part of our training!
The Munro-mobile has landed!
We have just acquired this magnificent big red van! This will be our support vehicle and home for the majority of the trip. In the meantime Lisa is excited to be taking it for a spin around France to test it out. Can you help us decide on a name for the van?
|Week||Areas||No of Munros|
|Mull, Glenfinnan and Southwest Highlands (Glen Nevis, Glen Coe)||31|
|Southern Highlands (Ben Lomond and the Trossachs, Mamlorn)||28|
|Southern Highlands and Southern Cairngorms||29|
|Cuillins and North West Highlands||26|
|North West Highlands||24|
|North West Highlands||9|