Graham Brookes from Marple, Greater Manchester
I have managed 30 crossings without ever needing to retire or finish later than planned; and I have accumulated well over 6000 miles, 636 Munro and Corbett ascents with a total climb of over 230 miles!
To ensure I made it across this time around, I slightly reduced my planned daily miles and ascent; although one still has to get from one side to the other. I even booked my celebration meal a day after my planned finish, to give a margin for delay – something I do not normally allow for.
This crossing was notable for the lack of other Challengers encountered. I met just one at a camp site, who was about to withdraw. The other notable feature was the generally windy weather, which – along with extra caution to ensure the finish that I’ve described above – also resulted in me omitting seven planned hills, though I still managed 14 for what is my 28th high-level Challenge.
Highlights included encountering, on my first day, a Munro completion in mist on Beinn Sgritheall, with a wee dram to spare; several spectacular high-level camps; the delightful Fara Ridge and its extensive views in fine weather; and an exceptionally large herd of deer crossing the ridge on the approach to Creag Leacach.
Not so enjoyable was a boggy pitch close to Ben Vrackie, and a soaking from sudden heavy rain on the way up it the next morning!