Bagging Series

Anna Wells Completes Winter Munro Round

Anna Wells has just successfully finished her winter Munro round on a very windy Cairn Gorm, becoming only the fourth person - and the first woman - to complete a round of all 282 Scottish 3000-foot peaks in a single winter season.

Anna in the Glen Lochay hills  © Anna Wells
Anna in the Glen Lochay hills
© Anna Wells

In a phenomenal display of resolve and endurance, Anna (34) knocked off major hill days with multiple summits back to back for nearly three months in a row, with comparatively few breaks for rest or weather. Conditions have been challenging this winter, and while not a consistently cold or particularly snowy season, it has often been grim and stormy.

Just this week she had to battle through several days of strong, biting winds, poor visibility and a return to suitably wintry conditions underfoot. On the last day alone, Anna mopped up her remaining handful of summits in the Beinn Dearg range overnight and into early morning, to make use of a relative lull in the weather, and then headed home for sleep before continuing south to Cairn Gorm late this afternoon, where a number of friends and supporters joined her on the final Munro.

Of previous winter Munroists, only Steve Perry (2006) took on the round as a continuous self-powered journey. Like forerunners Martin Moran and Kev Woods (2020), Anna used a car to access the hills as a series of day trips (albeit giant ones in many cases), usually returning to a base in Inverness to regroup overnight. While this approach had the advantage of allowing for flexibility to follow the weather, it was not without its challenges, not least the sheer amount of road travel.

Anna's timetable followed the astronomical winter, which this year runs from 21st December to 20th March. Though Munro list revisions and different definitions of what constitutes the winter period make direct comparisons difficult, at 83 days she has equalled the 1985 record set by Moran, first to do the then 277 Munros in one winter.

"It was a little pipedream of mine to try and equal Martin Moran's fastest winter round of 83 days" she wrote on Facebook earlier today.

"I thought I lost it when I got sick last week, but after a lot of pushing I was back on track! However, the forecast for today was looking increasingly dire and I was in a state of indecision; embrace it or wait an extra day? In the end, I couldn't comprehend the idea of sitting around for a day at home waiting to finish. The winds were lower overnight, albeit with heavy rain, but once I got my teeth into the idea that was it!! Straight from the Ben Starav Munros to Beinn Dearg for an overnight adventure!!!"

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