By Fiona Russell
Veteran Women’s Munro Relay team secure place in the record books as the first exclusively female team to climb all of Scotland’s highest mountains.
A group of women have claimed a Scottish mountains first after completing the final summit in a list of 282 of the county’s tallest peaks.
The Veteran Women’s Munro Relay team, consisting of 10 members all aged over 40, took just 26 days to complete the continuous, self-propelled journey which started on Beinn Sgritheall, north-west Highlands and finished on Ben More on the Island of Mull.
Along the way the women ran, walked, cycled and kayaked to all the Munros, which are defined as mountains in Scotland with a summit of at least 3000ft (914.4m).
In total they journeyed more than 1,750 miles (2800km) by land and on water and climbed 482,300ft (147,000m), which is more than 16 times the height of Mount Everest.
They reached mountains as far afield as Ben Hope in the north of Scotland, Ben Lomond in the southern Highlands, Mount Keen to the east and Sgurr na Banachdich, on the Island of Skye, in the west.
The team ticked off famously airy ridges, including the Cuillin on Skye, Aonach Eagach in Glen Coe and Liathach in Torridon.
The women also faced weather extremes from one of the hottest days of the year in early June to windchill temperatures of -4C, and many days of torrential rain and low cloud.
It’s believed the feat has never before been completed by an all-female team and it was done to raise awareness and funds for the charity Free to Run (freetorun.org/), which aims to empower women and girls through sport.
“It has been the most amazing journey with support from many incredible women,” said Fran Loots, of Comrie, Perth & Kinross, who came up with the idea as a way to “celebrate what women can do”.
“It has been tough at times with the weather conspiring to throw its worst at us and fatigue for heads and legs creeping in.
“The running was actually the easy part while the behind the scenes logistics was the most challenging.
“Without our supporters, logistics brains and the team of leaders sharing the load, we would not have been so successful.
“The relay has been a fantastic celebration of women being active as we age.”