Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Scottish Lunacy

Raise a glass to Stephen Perry, who just completed a 121-day effort to bag all 284 of the Scottish Munros in winter conditions, without any motorized assistance other than ferry rides. What's a Munro? It's any peak in the Scottish Highlands higher than 3,000 feet. What's so hard about climbing a 3,000-foot peak? This is Scotland. The weather is just plain awful in winter (it's pretty bad in summer too). Perry's online log of the journey gives a sense of the difficulties, from beginning to end:

"Day 1, Thursday 1 December. Starting on Mull, climbed Ben More from the south side in winds gusting up to 86mph, then walked some 17 miles to Craignure at speed in order to catch the ferry to Oban and stayed overnight at the youth hostel."

"Day 121, Friday March 31. Walked to the foot of Ben Hope, then climbed the final Munro of a long and arduous trip. The weather was suitably Scottish—absolute blizzard conditions."

Perry stayed at a few inns and bothies (simple stone huts), but most nights he camped out. He walked around 1,500 miles. What a nut. I love this guy!

1 comment:

Clyde said...

A friend of mine, Chris Townsend (fairly well known walker/writer), had this to say:

How did you guess> :-) I was with Steve Perry on his last summit, Ben
Hope. Appropriately the weather was appalling. Lashing rain low down,
changing through sleet to heavy wet snow then dry snow as we climbed.
Wind gusting to 50mph on the summit and no visibility so a compass
bearing was needed to find the way down. The champagne - traditional on
completing the Munros - had to wait until we were back down in the rain.

Having done the Munros as a continuous walk in summer I think this was
an amazing achievement, especially as the last 6 weeks have seen the
deepest snow for at least a decade.