Dan Duxbury Aims For Munro Record

On Monday 14th April fell runner Dan Duxbury will start an attempt at a very fast continuous self-propelled Munro round. All going well, he aims to cover all 282 3000-foot summits in just 38 days, running on the hills, cycling between hill groups and kayaking where necessary.

Dan Duxbury training in the Lakes, 125 kb
Dan Duxbury training in the Lakes
© Dan Duxbury

If he's successful - and it must be a big if - then Kendal-based primary school teacher Dan will shave about a day from Stephen 'Spyke' Pyke's 2010 record of 39 days, nine hours (see this UKH article).

'In 3 days I am travelling up to Scotland to begin my round of the 282 Munros' he writes in his blog. 'It feels like an epic task just getting to this point and I haven't ran a mile yet!'

The sheer scale of the challenge is well illustrated by his bonkers route schedule. On day one alone, Dan will start with a 4-mile round trip up Mull's Ben More, followed by a 15 mile road bike stage. A 1.5 mile sea kayak then brings him over to the mainland at Lochaline. After this it's 30 miles on a road bike to the 300m kayak crossing of Loch Linnhe, then six more miles on the road to the foot of Beinn a' Bheithir. The day ends with seven miles of hill running over two more Munros, then four final miles on a mountain bike. On day two it's 19 miles of running over seven Munros in Glen Creran and the western half of Glen Coe, but only a mere 4 miles on a road bike.

And the schedule goes on like this, day after day, for well over one month. Dan Duxbury is clearly no average bloke - though he claims not to be in the same league as Spyke.

'Thankfully I have the eminently capable Matt and Jane Reedy and John Fleetwood with me for [the] first three tricky days' he writes. Quite.   

They'll be faster and deeper in Scotland..., 162 kb
They'll be faster and deeper in Scotland...
© Dan Duxbury

The state of the ground is likely to be key to his initial progress, after a winter of unusually deep snow cover up high.

'"Snow - be gone!" has been my mantra for the past two weeks or so' he wrote last week.
'The very encouraging heatwave of mid March was folllowed by more heavy snowfall over much of the Scottish mountains, and a week ago I had resigned myself to a different kind of challenge; emailing round to borrow proper crampons and looking at changing the route slightly to avoid the big steep Glen Coe mountains including the Aonach Eagach ridge until later on. Mercifully, this past week or two has brought slightly warmer temperatures and the snow up there is consolidating and slowly melting. Touch wood, the longer range forecast doesn't look like there will be any significant snowfall before I set off so the route currently remains unchanged. Dangerous cornices and packed N and E facing slopes will still give me challenging conditions to contend with.' 
'Although I'm not a winter mountaineer of any description, I did fully appreciate the risk I was taking in setting off in mid April. I was well aware that I could get lucky and find bare mountains, but in contrast I spent the whole of April and May of 2013 gazing in extreme concern at the 'eternal arctic winter' conditions in Scotland when undoubtably a Munro round in the style I am attempting would have been impossible in my time frame.'
Thanks to the demands of work he is setting out earlier in the season than he might have liked:
'[It's] not ideal in terms of the chances of good conditions, but ...if I get lucky it might fall perfectly. Now where's that stable high pressure weather system that is going to sit over NW Scotland for the whole of May?'
'Final prep is going OK' he told us this evening. 
'[I've] got a motorhome full of kit ready to head up on Sunday. My run kicks off at 7am Monday if conditions are safe enough for me to get across the Sound of Mull. Fingers crossed!'

Through the trip Dan hopes to raise money for wild land conservation charity the John Muir Trust, and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

You'll be able to follow his progress (and donate) via his blog

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