McCall Passes Corbett Milestone

Lorraine McCall's bid to make the first female continuous round of the Corbetts continues. In the last couple of days she has broken the back of the route, passing mid way on the list of 221 2500-2999ft peaks, and with most of the furthest-flung and faffiest stages now in the bag. With a window of phone reception she called us from the summit of Glen Affric's Aonach Shasuinn, Corbett 113, with a progress update.

Down in the Borders, Corbett no.40 or thereabouts, 184 kb
Down in the Borders, Corbett no.40 or thereabouts
© Dan Bailey

When we last reported on her, in late April, she was heading for the widely scattered Corbetts of the Borders and Galloway, where the long distances between ranges are best done by bike. Over two weeks in May she then sailed north up the west coast with a volunteer crew, picking off the island summits of Arran, Jura, Mull, Rum, Skye and Harris.

Back on (relatively) dry land, she's since been working her way southwards from the far north, on foot on the hills and using a combination of road bike and mountain bike in between.

"For Knoydart I am still looking for help with logistics. Is anyone willing to make a food drop next week in Kinloch Hourn, Inverie or Sourlies bothy?"

By bike in Easter Ross, 109 kb
By bike in Easter Ross
© Lorraine McCall
There's been the occasional break in the clouds, 78 kb
There's been the occasional break in the clouds
© Lorraine McCall

'Progress hasn't been that fast but I keep plugging away' Lorraine told us. 'And now my daily peak average is going up, since I've left the far north, where the Corbetts are quite spaced out, and come to areas where the summits are generally closer together.'

'I've not had much luck with the weather recently' she said.

'I'm up here on Aonach Shasuinn and this is the first cloud-free summit view I've had in a while. There's been lots of low cloud and compass navigating, which is slow and tiring when you're doing it day after day.'

'I did start relying on my GPS for a while, but I found that led to me making lazy mistakes with the map and making some less efficient route choices. It's gone back to the bottom of my sack now. Navigation has gone much better without it, as I'm really paying attention to my surroundings again.' 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, midges have been making a nuisance of themselves on her many wild camps, particularly on calm muggy days, and Lorraine has given up her customary porridge breakfasts as a result.

'Now I just cram in a bit of bread and jam, and get the hell out of there' she laughs.

Today she's heading south to the Loch Cluanie hills, and will then be moving west into Glen Shiel. The next major stage is Knoydart, home to some of the tougher Corbetts, and an area where the rugged ground and general sense of isolation are likely to prove particularly challenging.

'I already know Knoydart very well' Lorraine says, 'so I have my route well sorted. I won't be needing a bike until I've got all the way through to Glenfinnan, and it'll be great to be on foot for so long. That stage will probably take at least a fortnight, but I'll just play that by ear and see how I go.' 

Camping in midge season - rather her than us, 142 kb
Camping in midge season - rather her than us
© Lorraine McCall
Volunteer crew on the yacht Iona, 95 kb
Volunteer crew on the yacht Iona
© Lorraine McCall

She is looking forward to a pint at the Old Forge in Inverie, by reputation Scotland's most remote pub.

'But for Knoydart I am still looking for a little bit of help with logistics' she says. 'If anyone would be willing to make a food drop next week in Kinloch Hourn, Inverie or Sourlies bothy, then please get in touch via my website.'

Lorraine started the trip on 8th April (see UKH news here) and reckons she is on course to finish by the end of August, as planned.

Having been through cancer treatment last year, Lorraine is raising money through the trip for Macmillan Cancer Support. 

For more on the planning and preparation that have gone into her journey, see this earlier UKH news piece.

  • UKHillwalking will be following the remainer of Lorraine's trip with occasional reports

  • Also see the blog and further info on Lorraine's website

  • To sponsor her or make a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support see her page on Justgiving 


Lorraine McCall is being sponsored by: Lowe Alpine

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