Tuesday, 7 January 2014


Mike on the CMD arête , April 2012
It's been another very strong winds period and more fresh snow on the higher tops. Thankfully it's looking like a much calmer period coming up and not just for the odd day!
I received an email from  Mike Royle the other day. Our paths crossed one glorious April day in 2012 whilst I had a group walking along the CMD arête, Mike was walking in the opposite direction and I got chatting to him. I was amazed at the time at his planned task. He had set off in his home in Wales by bicycle and his plan was to climb all the 3000 ft mountains in the UK, not just The Scottish Munros but the high mountains of Wales & England too. I'll stop rambling and let Mike's words tell his story:
'The trip was one of life's highlights. To be out on the mountains ( nearly all new to me) day after day and watching the season unfold, the succession of plants and animals. Nesting, hatching, fledging. Wonderful. Ah- the mountains!
I ended up two stone lighter by the end of it though. One of the downsides of doing it without contacts in Scotland was that the  food parcels posted to me were, because of logistics, every week or so, and had to be carried. Insufficient calories -it was difficult to stomach sufficient food whilst out on the hill, and only so much you can cram in at the tent morning and night-  I spent my time dreaming of shops where I could get  tinned or fresh food. Though generally, because of the long days, I was rarely there when they were open. 
I got to Ben Hope on 25 July, 116 days after cycling through Glasgow.
It was never going to be a race. The seeds of the trip were sown by  combining middle aged wanderlust  and the desire to visit the Cuillin  for the first time in a style that I felt befitted them - I'd seen the Irvine Butterfield book 3 decades earlier and I got this romantic notion that I should only permit myself to climb there if I arrived by yacht or some such. By car was definitely out.
After getting back home, I found it difficult to settle after and began to plan to do the Scottish bit again, but in winter, North to South. All a bit of a fantasy really - what with frail parents, and I'd already had time off work, and wife understandably not happy about another 'up and off'.
Still, if it looks like the opportunity presents itself in the future,  I'd like to do that summer walk again.
If you're interested, I did a bit of trip diary on the ScottishHills website.
It's a bit basic as I was tapping it in on my first ever mobile phone when I had the time and energy, and the content is limited because I needed to conserve the battery.'
What an inspiration for any one contemplating getting out into the mountains. Fantastic. Well done Mike.

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