Skyrunning 1: Altitude

Article about my trip to Yading, Sichuan Province, China in April/May 2018

Cairngorm 4000ers Record

There were two factors that both worried and excited me in equal measure as I set out to attempt the Cairngorm 4000ers record. The first was the weather: it was fairly blustery and a familiar wall of cloud hugged the plateau around Braeriach, as it often does. Cairngorm itself was clear and despite a few very light showers I hoped the cloud would blow off before I got across the Lairig Ghru. The other factor was that I didn’t know exactly what Ally Beaven’s 2017 record was, having been unorganised and then suffered in the morning from the frustrating technological calamity known as “the internet is broken”. So I set off with Paul Raistrick’s split times and the knowledge that Ally had broken this 2007 record by several minutes, exact quantity unknown!
I last ran the route in April 2017 when there was a fair bit of spring snow still around. This made several parts slow going, and some sections of whiteout navigation from Cairn Toul onwards had augmented this. Still, I felt pretty prepar…

Winter Tranter Round Record

On Monday 26th February 2018 I set a new Tranter Round record.

Here's some of the key info, in reply to questions posed by Dan Bailey of UK Climbing / Hillwalking:

OK Finlay, here’s a few Qs: 14:24:48 … wow! Did you set out from the outset to try for the winter record?
I mainly decided to go and do the round because I was aware conditions were great. I’d just read Helen Rennard’s account from her traverse the week before, and I’d been out in the hills and seen how fast and firm conditions were. I was also aware Monday was the last day I could fit in a traverse before March (and so the last day I could do it within the 3 core winter months). So my main goal was having a great day out in some of my favourite mountains, but the record was of course an objective. I’ve been round faster than the winter running record on skis, with Tim Gomersall (in 17hr 35m on 28th Feb 2016) and although of course this is a different discipline, I feel I can draw several parallels when thinking about the mo…

South Glen Shiel Ridge Ski Traverse

Many times I have passed through Glen Shiel, looked up to the South Cluanie Ridge and wondered what it would be like as a ski traverse. Having run it once many years ago, my memory was of grassy amenable slopes, and with this in mind it was certainly on my radar for a ski traverse on lightweight ‘skimo’ gear.  But would I ever manage to get there when it was in condition?
On 16th December 2017 I was able to be in the right place at the right timeand complete a traverse on ski, starting from just east of Cluanie Inn, ascending to Creag a’ Mhàimand then taking in all the Munros heading west to The Saddle, before descending again to the A87 in Glen Shiel.
Setting off a little before sunrise I skinned along the old Fort William road right from the car. Heading south and up into Coirean an Eich Bhric there was some fantastic morning light and I was amazed by how close the Nevis hills looked. A short section on foot took me up the north ridge to summit Creag a’ Mhàim, the first of the nine…

Round of the Mamores

On Saturday 8th April it was fantastic summery weather and the hills were all but free of snow following the mild winter.

I've run the Mamores Round twice before, as well as done it several times as part of longer linkups. Previously I'd clocked in at just over 7hrs, so was fairly sure I could get it under that. At least.

Setting off from Achriabhach at noon I decided to run clockwise, therefore getting the long runnable section done on fresh legs - I ran up the road and through to Steall Ruin. Onward to the summit of Binnein Beag I was pleased to get there in around 1hr 12mins.

Knowing the route pretty well made for a fairly stress free journey, keeping eating and drinking and taking in the views. I only touched snow on a handful of times, never more than a few strides to cross small patches.

As I ran I felt pretty strong and started doing some sums from my Tranter splits to see if sub-6hrs was do-able. It seemed like it was so I keep pushing on.

I loved seeing two ravens pla…