Go Mountain GoatsFeb 02, 2023
Episode 30 - Ring of Stirling with Natalie Hawkrigg
I talk to Natalie Hawkrigg about a number of Swim - Run challenges she has completed. Based in the North Lakes, Natalie is the female record holder for the Frog Graham Round, a 40 mile run with four lake swims around the Lake District. She was also the first female to complete the Frog Graham in winter, and went on to do the Welsh Puddle Buckley challenge as well. In May 2023, Natalie became the second ever finisher of The Ring of Stirling, a 35 mile round starting and finishing in Shieldaig, Torridon, which includes 5 swims (one of which is tidal), 10 summits and traverses some remote and beautiful corners of Torridon. The round was conceived by Chris Waters as a tribute to his late friend Chris Stirling who loved the hills of Torridon and has won the Celtman triathlon previously. For her Stirling Round, Natalie had one failed attempt which finished at the frigid waters of Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair (Beinn Eighe) but then returned the very next weekend to complete her round in 26 hours and 28 minutes. She talks through the process and gives her insights into this fascinating merger of hill running and open water swimming. In the introduction I mention the "It's Up to Us" campaign, a joint venture from Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland which launched earlier this year and aims to raise awareness of the need for investment in the repair and maintenance of Scottish upland paths. Go to www.savemountainpaths.scot for more info and to donate. For details of the Ring of Stirling go to: https://ringofstirling.wordpress.com/ And the Frog Graham info is at: https://www.froggrahamround.co.uk/ FrogMan (Full Bob Graham run plus swims): https://thefrogmanround.square.site/ Futher info/ corrections: 1. Lancaster bomber crash on Beinn Eighe 1951 - further info here: https://heavywhalley.wordpress.com/2021/03/13/38412/ (my grandfather John Hinde was not involved in this RAF mountain rescue search, I got the stories muddled) 2. Biodiversity precautions on the Frog Graham Round: In recent years, the threat posed by Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) has increased hugely and sadly, Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater have been compromised for some time, completely upsetting the lakes’ delicate ecology and causing significant problems for lake users. Crummock Water has also succumbed and is now infected with NZ pygmyweed. Only Buttermere remains untouched and the park authorities and WCRT are making strenuous efforts to ensure it remains that way. The Frog Graham Round Club is committed to supporting their initiatives. Please read the details on the biosecurity section of the Frog Graham website before attempting the round. https://www.froggrahamround.co.uk/biosecurity
3. Natalie realised she got a fact wrong at the end of the chat: "I said that Chris Waters had not completed the Ring Of Stirling - that is not true. He has completed it in time of 22hrs 42, it was the Puddle Buckley he has not completed - he devised the Puddle and recced it but never did the final version." 4. Finlay says Ring of Steall when he means Ring of Stirling, near the end
Episode 29 - Scottish Islands Peaks Race with Joe Symonds
The Scottish Islands Peaks Race started in 1983 and involves teams of 5 (2 runners and 3 sailors) sailing over 160 nautical miles between Oban, Mull, Jura, Arran and Troon. The runners race a combined total of 60 miles across 3 big runs, one on each island. There is also an allrounders category where all 5 are involved in portions of the sailing and running elements.
The event starts at noon on Friday and frequently takes 48hrs to complete. Wind, tide and sea conditions play a massive part as well as boat specifications and sailing tactics. The runners have 3 x 3+ hr rough hill runs to complete, frequently in suboptimal weather and often in the dark. Resting and refueling is obviously more difficult while aboard a racing yacht.
This year the wind was very light, which made the sailing slow and difficult for the sailors who often resorted to rowing methods to make progress. On the plus side, the runners generally experienced gentler seas and more rest than in a typical year, and we also watched a minke whale showing off while anchored against a strong tide which our boat couldn't row against.
We recorded the episode while sailing on Opportune with our sailors Gordon, Iain and Alan who looked after us amazingly on their lovely boat.
Episode 28 - Elite OMM Winners with Victoria Thompson and Janie Oates
In October 2022 Victoria Thompson and Janie Oates came First in the Female category of the Elite OMM, and were the only female team to finish in this category since 2016. The OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) is a 2 day test of navigation and mountain craft held in late October each year, typically in harsh weather conditions. It was first held in 1968 and occurs in a different geographic area each year, with competitors having to carry all food and equipment such as tent and stove, navigating through a series of checkpoints to a midway camp, then doing it all again on Day 2 after a suboptimal sleep. There are various distance courses (Elite, A, B), as well as Score courses (3 distances - these courses are about choosing checkpoints to collect in a given time).
We talk about what made them want to take on this challenge, the preparation and the wet event weekend itself, as well as getting into some of the potential barriers to women in this type of event, and hill running in general.
This chat was inspired by an interview of Janie and Victoria at Kendal Mountain Festival 2022 by Becky Vale.
Episode 27 - Cape Wrath Trail Record Unsupported with Pawel Cymbalista
Episode 26 - Speedy Tours with Ben Bardsley and Jon Morgan
Episode 25 - Martin Moran Round with Robin Downie
Robin's love for his local hills shines throughout the conversation. He chose to include 9 Munros and 6 Corbetts of Torridon, giving a wild and rough route with almost 9000m of ascent. He set a time of 20h51m47s. Aside from this round he has also completed the Celtman Ironman three times, as well as the Glencoe Skyline and many cycling races.
Robin's Martin Moran Round raised funds for the Martin Moran Foundation, which was set up in Martin's memory to continue the work of passing on mountain skills to young people. They provide mountain skills courses for young people aged 16-18yrs who are passionate about the outdoors but don't otherwise have the support or resources to access mountain adventure. www.martinmoranfoundation.co.uk
Episode 24 - Winter Running Thoughts with Ben Gibson
Ben mentions an interesting video looking at how quickly you get cold when you stop on the hill: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nJD49k5AMA
Scottish Avalanche Information Service: www.sais.gov.uk
Mountaineering Scotland's ThinkWINTER page: www.mountaineering.scot/safety-and-skills/thinkwinter
Episode 23 - North West Climbing with Murdoch Jamieson
I caught up with Dingwall-based climber Murdoch Jamieson to hear about everything North West climbing. A true allrounder, Murdoch has made first ascents and repeats of hard routes on some of the most inspiring cliffs in the region. From Carnmore to Beinn Eighe, Beinn Bhan and An Teallach we hear about why these big, remote and imposing mountains have and continue to inspire him.
We delve into a bit more detail on some specific climbs such as:
'One Hundred Years of Solitude', Carnmore Crag - first ascent team, led directly after Iain Small - E8 6c (2014)
'Root of All Evil', Beinn Eighe - first winter ascent with John Orr - IX, 8 (2014)
'Godzilla', Beinn Bhan - second ascent with Iain Small and Andy Inglis - IX, 8 (2015)
Godzilla was first climbed by Guy Robertson, Pete Benson and Nick Bullock (2011) and is a direct start to The Godfather
Photo credit: Uisdean Hawthorn. Murdoch on 'Heavy Flak', Beinn Eighe - first winter ascent - VIII, 8 (2019)
Episode 22 - Pacific Crest Trail with Olly Stephenson
I talk to Olly Stephenson in Edinburgh about hiking the 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail which he did in an incredible 88 days this summer. In Olly's words "the trail traces a line up the mountains of west coast USA, traversing five major regions: Desert, High Sierra, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington", linking Mexico to Canada. Olly is no stranger to long distance adventures, with the UK Big Three, the 220 mile John Muir Trail and the Petite Trotte a Lyon (300km) being a few previous adventures.
Well known by many as the Carnethy Five race director, a fit 50yr old Olly found himself suddenly breathless and unwell in late 2018. A succession of tests showed he had non-Hodgkin follicular lymphoma, a type of blood cancer affecting the body's lymphatic system. Olly had to endure six cycles of chemotherapy, with various complications, which he describes as his most difficult challenge yet. In remission since 2019, he talks about the shift in his priorities, motivations and outlook.
Olly is fundraising for Maggie's Cancer Care, a charity which he found incredibly supportive. If you wish to donate or find out more about the charity please go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/olly-stephenson
One slight edit as I had a coughing fit in the middle!
Episode 21 - Tranter's Round Record with Jack Kuenzle
Episode 20 - From the Jura Hotel with Jasmin Paris
I finally caught up with Jasmin Paris on the Isle of Jura the day before the eponymous race to chat about some of her more recent achievements. We start off with the iconic Isle of Jura Fell Race and what it means to her, before moving on to talk about The Green Runners. This is a new group set up with the aim of connecting runners concerned about the Climate Crisis, and helping to give them a united voice to try and foster change within running culture (in terms of reducing personal footprints of travel, kit and food) and the wider world (by speaking out and political change).
Jasmin's running CV has a depth to rival the deepest Jura bogs (!) so I've tried to focus on a few of her more recent feats, namely The Spine Race and the Barkley Marathons. The Spine Race crosses a humungous 268 miles along the Pennine Way in mid winter, and in 2019 Jasmin bagged the overall record of just over 83 hours. There was rightly a massive media interest in this globally, celebrating Jasmin the mum as well as Jasmin the ultrarunner. I try to get into her process a bit; what gives her the grit and determination that she clearly has in bundles. We also discuss what it means to be a top woman in sport and how she balances running with family life. We finish by talking though some of the highs and lows of the Barkley Marathons ultra that Jasmin completed the 'Fun Run' 3 lap version of in March this year. This event has developed a reputation as a gruelling and esoteric 100mile+ event that only 15 people have every completed the full 5 laps version of in its 27 year history. With bush wacking in the dark, snowstorms and difficult navigation it's a full psychological assault, and we examine what resilience tools and tricks Jasmin employed.
Photo by Howie Stern / inov-8 (taken at the Barkley)
Episode 19 - Paddy Buckley Round Record, Finlay Wild interviewed by Keri Wallace
Keri's website: www.girlsonhills.com
Episode 18 - Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route Female Record with Hillary Gerardi
Episode 17 - Highland Stalwart with Alec Keith
Episode 16 - Sub 13hr Bob Graham Round, Finlay Wild interviewed by Martin Stone
On 28th August I completed the second fastest Bob Graham Round ever, touching the steps of the Moot Hall in Keswick in just under 13 hours - less than 7 minutes slower than record holder and all round megastar Kilian Jornet's time. I had an incredible support team who helped me to push myself further than ever before, forging memories that will last a lifetime. I'm delighted that endurance running godfather Martin Stone offered to interview me about my run.
Episode 15 - 24hr Munro Record with Kim Collison
Record News article: www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk/2021/07/new-record-33-munros-in-24-hours-for-kim-collison.html
History of the 24hr Munro Record: www.gofar.org.uk/twenty-four-hour-munro-record
Kim's website: kimcollison.co.uk/
Episode 14 - Lakes Classic Rock Round with Josh Jardine
Episode 13 - Cuillin Ridge Traverse Female Record with Kelli Roberts
In this conversation I'm delighted to chat to previous British Fell Running Champion Kelli Roberts of Ambleside about her experiences on the Cuillin Ridge of Skye. In August 2020 she improved the female record for the 12km ridge traverse to 5h56m46s from Anna Wells' 6h34m set in 2016.
The record is timed from end to end summits, starting at Gars-bheinn and finishing on Sgurr nan Gillean. Kelli and partner Pete Rigby first traversed the ridge in 2018, and returned last year to learn the route and practice the climbing sections. On the record traverse they simul-soloed the whole route including the 4 'climbing sections' which are traditionally included in a record attempt. It was a very hot day and lack of water added to the challenge.
More details on Kelli's record can be found at: www.ukclimbing.com/news/2020/08/kelli_roberts_breaks_womens_fkt_on_the_cuillin_traverse-72450
Episode 12 - Munro Round Record with Donnie Campbell and Stephen Pyke
On 2nd September 2020 Donnie Campbell completed his human-powered Munro Round in a record time of 31 days, 23 hours and 2 minutes. He completed all 282 Munros by running, biking and kayaking between them, starting on Ben More on Mull and finishing atop Ben Hope in the Far North. This improved on Stephen Pyke's 2010 record of 39 days, 9 hours and 6 minutes which itself knocked a significant chunk off the previous record before it.
I talk to Donnie and Stephen (Spyke) about all things Munro Round on a Zoom call for the Fort William Mountain Festival. I found it really interesting to get into the scale of the challenge, logistics, and highs and lows with these two - who both clearly had incredibly memorable experiences on these journeys.
Episode 11 - Scottish Haute Route with Roger Wild
In this episode I speak to Roger Wild - my father - about (some of) the history of ski touring in Scotland before moving on to describe our 2010 'Scottish Haute Route'. This 7 day journey from Ben Nevis to Gairnshiel near Ballater was around 155km in length with 10,000m of ascent. We pre-placed food caches, stayed in bothies, and skied on Nordic free-heel skis carrying our overnight gear with us. The route linked up the high ground through Lochaber to the Cairngorms, ascending numerous Munros and Corbetts along the way.
Roger is a retired British Mountain Guide and a former Royal Marines Commando.
1. We talk about grip wax which goes on the ski under your foot on nordic skis to allow grip when that foot is weighted - not to be confused with the wax used to improve glide on downhill skis (and tips/tails of nordic skis)
2. Dr Adam Watson (1930-2019) was 85 when we met him near Banchory in 2016
3. For some reason I said I was a student in Aberdeen in 2010 - I'm not that young and was in fact a junior doctor then
4. We mention skimo race skis a lot but don’t acknowledge that of course modern standard touring setups have gotten way lighter too - most people seem to like something in the ‘light standard‘ range rather than full race skis - which are harder to ski in some conditions, less stable, more expensive and less durable. For long journeys obviously low weight is key.
Episode 10 - Solo Unsupported Midwinter Bob Graham Round 1987 with Martin Stone
In January 1987 pioneering long distance fell runner Martin Stone completed his goal of a solo, unsupported midwinter Bob Graham Round in classic full winter conditions (in 23h41). This had taken 4 attempts over 6 years and was not repeated in similar style until just recently in December 2020 by Shane Ohly. The journey was such an indelible personal experience that Martin recorded his thoughts on the round in detail the next day. Over 30yrs later he has unearthed the tape and agreed for it to be shared.
Shane's account of his recent record should be available shortly at www.shaneohly.com
Episode 9 - Faster and Further with Robbie Simpson
I talk to Robbie Simpson about his progression from junior hill runner through some European highlights such as Sierre-Zinal and Jungfrau Marathon, to road marathon and his 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medal. We talk about having season goals and specific training, as well as his entry onto the ultra racing scene in recent years. Bringing it back to the Scottish mountains, we touch on the Lairig Ghru race (which he won in 2020) and Cairngorms running.
Robbie is sponsored by Adidas Terrex
Episode 8 - Glencoe Skyline with Georgia Tindley
Georgia Tindley kindly made time while passing Fort William to stop for a chat about the brilliant Glencoe Skyline race which she won in 2019. We also talk about the World Skyrunning circuit which she blasted onto in 2019 with some top performances. Georgia is an English teacher who has moved progressively further north in Scotland to access the mountains since she left her childhood home in London. We also talk about books and the pressures of tourism on remote communities.
I mention The Lost Pianos of Siberia interview which can be found on The Adventure Podcast episode 50.
Georgia can be found online at georgiatindley.com and @gtindley on Instagram.
Episode 7 - Winter Greater Cuillin Traverse with Will Rowland
I apologise for the mic 'buzz' - I couldn't fix it for this episode but will do shortly...
Corrections and clarifications:
I said Garbh-bheinn once when I meant Bla Bheinn.
For those without a map in front of them, Gars-bheinn is at the southern end of the main Cuillin ridge, Bla Bheinn is the 12th Cuillin munro which stands away from the main ridge across Glen Sligachan (and includes the sub summit Clach Glas), and Garbh-bheinn is a lower summit between the Black and Red Cuillin (which is included in the Greater and the Greater Greater Traverses!).
Also, when I say myself and Tim Gomersall carried 'one good axe each' - we had one tech axe and one light axe each, so for the TD gap I could lead with both tech axes.
Since this chat I have discovered that Harry Holmes did the Ben Nevis 5 Ridges Winter linkup in 2014, perhaps other climbs will let us know too for the leader board!
Traverses we talk about:
Main Cuillin Traverse
Greater Cuillin Traverse (main + Clach Glas- Bla Bheinn traverse - also usually includes lower peaks Garbh-bheinn and Sgurr na h-Uamha)
Greater Greater Cuillin Traverse "Sligachan Horseshoe" (main + Bla Bheinn - Clach Glas + all Red Cuillin) [FA: Clive Rowland summer. Will Rowland Winter]
Extended Greater Greater Traverse! "Cuillin Round" (main + Bla Bheinn - Clach Glas + all Red Cuillin + most other 'tops' along the way eg Sgurr na Stri) [FA: Rob Woodall summer]
Greater Greater Greater Traverse - mythical holy grail proposed by Ali Rose = all the above plus kayak to Rum to do Rum Cuillin too!!
For more info on the different records, please see:
SMC 'Skye Scrambles' guidebook
Scottish Hill Runners 'Long Distance Records' tab
Go Far website for Rob Woodall's write up and notes, including a link to PDF 'Long Days in the Cuillin' which gives a detailed history with dates of the different Cuillin extensions.
'The Black Cuillin' book by Gordon Stainforth, 1994
Andy Hyslop's Rockfax guide to the main Cuillin Ridge
Episode 6 - Ramsay's Round with Finlay Wild, interviewed by Es Tresidder
On 31st August I ran Charlie Ramsay's Round in 14hrs 42mins to break Es Tresidder's 2019 record.
This run was the culmination of my 2020 season and has been a goal for many years. I ran solo and unsupported and enjoyed a tough but incredibly memorable mountain experience.
Es interviews me about the process of breaking the record - from my buildup through shorter distance records earlier this year, through planning and prep, to conditions and tactics on the day.
Episode 5 - Arran Mountain Time with Kirstie Smith
In this 'On the Road' episode we are on Arran and I talk to Kirstie Smith about island life and her fantastic local hills. We chat about running and scrambling routes, mountain rescue, bivvies and even astrophotography.
Kirstie Smith is @kirstiesarran on Instagram and Twitter and her photography is @afocusforadventure on Instagram.
Her photography website is www.afocusforadventure.co.uk (you can email her via website to buy photos or her book)
We refer to:
'The Big Walks' by Ken Wilson and an astrology app called 'Stellarium PLUS' were mentioned.
Episode 4 - Running the Mamores with Sarah MacDonald
SHR Long Distance Records - go here and click on the dropdown tab 'Tour of the Mamores' for details and history.
Sarah is @sarahcaber on Instagram and also works periodically as a guide for Girls on Hills trail running.
Episode 3 - Cairngorm Classic Rock Link-up with Ali Rose and Mark Chambers
Ali's write-up: www.mountainstotheseaphotography.com/category/cairngorms/
The book Classic Rock: www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/baton-wicks/classic-rock/
Correction: I get excited and say B- Gully buttress when I mean D- Gully buttress. Maybe you didn't notice..
My FKT page (under construction): www.gomountaingoats.com/fkt
Episode 2 - Six Ridges of the Buachaille with Keri Wallace
I talk to Keri Wallace of Girls on Hills Trail Running about the Glencoe scene in general and her new climbing linkup with husband Ben of the 'Six Ridges of the Buachaille'. We also chat about her journey from PHD to climbing instructor to running guide and some of her most memorable mountain days.
Six Ridges of Buachaille Etive Mor:
Stats: 5hrs 30mins. 1642m of ascent over 15km.
Route: Lagangarbh Buttress (up), Great Gully Buttress (down), Broad Buttress (up), [Great Gully Buttress (down again)], North Buttress (up), Curved Ridge (down), Crowberry Ridge and Tower (up), Bag summit, Return via Coire na Tulaich
Episode 1 - Skimo Ramsay Round attempt with Es Tresidder
In March 2020 - just before the COVID-19 UK lockdown - Es Tresidder and I took advantage of good weather and snow conditions to attempt a ski mountaineering challenge which we've long dreamt of, namely the Ramsay Round. This 92km running route has never been done on skis, and the current winter record (running) sits at 22hrs 23mins (Jim Mann, 2017).
I interview Es about our experience - logistics, kit, strategy, and the actual attempt.
Correction: Es’s first attempt at a Skimo Ramsay Round was 2009, not 2008.
Skimo Scotland (ski mountaineering racing in Scotland)
Pierra Menta (iconic French Skimo race - maybe youtube some videos for a flavour)
Skimo Tranter Round (little brother of the Ramsay Round, myself and Tim Gomersall completed this on skimo kit in 2016)