fellrounds

Mixtape

In the absence of time to blog individual trips, here's a few snapshots of recent excursions.

Curved Ridge was a day out from the city, and a good one to get under our belt. The hardest part was finding the start of the route! After so many years building up to it, we got to the top somehow having missed the crux, thinking 'is that it?' but the situation is absolutely stunning all the way up, even in the summer dreich. On reflection we'll rope up for the start (what felt like the crux to me) next time, and finish off with Crowberry Tower.

In July, David, Richard and I went way out west with the intention of exploring Loch Morar. It was a trip about a year in the planning, but suffered several changes on the ground due to the vagaries of Scottish summertime. By day 3, the 3 drowned rats were hiding out with their tails between their legs in Sourlies bothy with beer and logs donated by the cook for the neighbouring estate. The trouble with only doing short trips of course is that you are soft for when more is required, but a fire was welcome relief at the time, never mind the alcohol. It went from the ridiculous to the sublime, with an early morning paddle on the ebb tide among Purpoise and Jellyfish, right around Loch Nevis into Inverie. A stylish finish, totally by accident.

In August I reprised a slow attempt on the Paddy Buckley Round, with more success than last year. The weather was kinder this time, grey and opaque for the first 2 days and blistering hot for the second 2. I rolled my ankle on a forestry ride and heard it pop. I lay there for 15mins in the middle of nowhere and a fair amount of pain, wondering how I was going to drag myself to the road. Luckily it was only a ligament that had torn, and with enough vitamin I and elevation overnight I was able to limp over Snowdon the next day and complete the Round. I bumped into some very twitchy Squaddies policing the military heli' crash on Y Aran, was charmed by quiet, heathery nooks and crannies in the west, and was utterly blown away by the foxes path through the Dinorwig quarry. I love Wales, it's my second hill home. I've spent the last 3 years trying to get these 3 big rounds done - they are long, intense days whether you are walking or running, I think.

Another day out scrambling recently, this time on Arran. Ian took Mick and I on a favourite route of his. Ropes were not really needed but we went through the motions just to prove to ourselves how we need to do this more than once every 3 months to make sure it's second nature. We're slowly getting the message I think. More planned for winter, if life doesn't make other plans.

Would you mind if I took your picture?

I'm not long back from the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales. Completing the 3 rounds as backpacks means the end of a 3 year project for me - small beer, but my beer. I ended up doing the last half on a sprained ankle, and finished on a hill above a place I wrote about when I first wrote about being out in the hills. This is how we mark our time. Anyway, here's a few of the people I crossed paths with this time out.

''We're out recceing, for his attempt - I did it in 28hours. It's just the love of running. Won't get this in the bloody Olympics!''

''I do the Snowdon 10K every year. This is just my regular training run. I don't think I'm fit enough for the Paddy. Walking it is great - anything that gets people out is positive. You see alot more women and ethnic minorities out in Wales these days, I don't know what changed but something did, and it's a good thing.''

''I've been coming here for 10 years, and I still haven't got to the bottom of it. What I'm getting into now is the age of different parts of the quarry, working out which of the old spoils were disturbed by new digs. There's a transgender guy in the village who goes caving up here - brave stuff. I wouldn't climb in here myself - I've seen things move about on their own.''

''I've been on the go for 6 hours already. I started at 9 from down on the road. I'm late - supposed to be in London tonight. The devil's punchbowl was hot!!''

''I couldn't give a monkey's - I'm too busy trying to breathe...''

''I'm done today, really - some days you're fresh, some days you're not. The record is 17hours? I reckon there's a bit of cheating going on there, what d'you reckon? I use to race, but not anymore. I just like being up in the mountains these days.''

 

Twenty from Tranter

A month or two ago I walked down one side of Glen Nevis, and up the other. This route is called the Tranter Round, after Philip Tranter, who first did the continuous walk in 1964. He took less than 24hours to do it, I took 3 and a half days! It was my second time as a complete route, and my third or fourth visit to most of the 18 Munros on the way. My friend Mick accompanied me for the Mamores section. It's a tough but elegant line, even taken at our relative snail's pace, and we were blessed with some great weather and even better light.

The Great Outdoors Magazine have published the story of the trip in the August 2016 issue, so I thought now might be a good time to show a few photos that didn't make their feature...

 

 

A hell of a run

I found myself in the right place at the right time this weekend: Glen Nevis, for 2 attempts on the Ramsay Round. The weather was clear, but very dry and hot on the tops. Jasmin Paris set a new record for the round, knocking 46minutes off Jon Ascroft's time with a new time of 16hours, 13minutes.

Getting relatively clean shots of Jasmin requires a high shutter speed! I'd have loved to have caught the team more often... there was a possibility I could have intercepted them on the CMD (and to be honest she was moving so fast I'd have had my work cut out)... but I had other places to be.

Being on the Round for Jasmin's record attempt was actually a happy coincidence. I was officially there to provide a little support for Joe Williams' attempt. Joe's challenge was different - he was flying solo, without pacers - a significant challenge in itself. Joe's only support was his parents on the 2, 10 minute rest stops. The Round is an intense and personal experience - being invited along was an honour.

So, I wanted to cheer Joe on his final (and dry) section of the Mamores, with the idea of a shot or two in mind. Joe easily cleared his 22hr schedule and flew in on a time of 20hrs, 49mins.

At the finish, Joe said "That is one hell of a run".

In these media saturated times it's possible to become inured to record breaking feats, but make no mistake, compleating at all requires drawing on a force of nature... let alone doing it solo. I am not a runner, but I am not unfit... and this round takes me 5 days to walk comfortably. Jasmin ran it in 16hours.

Congratulations to both on their inspiring achievements in a beautiful place.

Note to media: If you want to run images alongside a story on Jasmin's record, let me know - donations to the Glen Nevis Landscape Partnership are welcomed in lieu of payment.

More information on the round: http://www.ramsaysround.com/