Outdoor World

The climber who bagged all 282 Munros in one winter

Ben Alder Image copyright Kevin Woods
Image caption Kevin Woods climbed all 282 Munros in 97 days in winter

A climber who battled through relentless storms to complete all of Scotland’s 282 Munros in one winter round has said it feels odd to be stuck at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Kevin Woods, from Glasgow, is believed to be only the third person to have achieved the feat in a winter season following in the footsteps of the late Martin Moran and Steve Perry, who both died last year in separate climbing accidents.

The 28-year-old, who started the continuous trek on Ben More on Mull in December finished it in 97 days on Ben Lomond.

Ben More Image copyright Kevin Woods
Image caption Day 79 – A’ Chraileag & Mullach Fraoch-choire
Christmas Day Image copyright Kevin Woods
Image caption Kevin started his trek at Ben More in December

He is no stranger to Scotland’s Munros, mountains over 3,000ft, (914m) having finished his third round just one month before he started the epic winter challenge.

Mr Woods said the majority of the trip was self-supported, using a van to travel between the mountain ranges.

He walked an estimated 1,400 miles (2,300 km) – almost the equivalent of hiking from Edinburgh to Rome.

He climbed approximately 460,000 feet (140,000 metres), which is similar to scaling the highest mountain in the world, Everest (8,848m), 15 times.

Everest Image copyright Kevin Woods
Image caption Ben Alder and the Ossian Munros

The freelance filmmaker, slept in his van, but also camped, used bothies, hostels and stayed with friends.

He said some of the scariest times were periods of “relentless storms in the north-west Highlands in February”.

“Imagine the van being rocked by wind, pounded by hail showers, lightning going off all around – it makes any summit a distant prospect,” he said.

His challenge was almost aborted four days in after he went over on his ankle on Ben More, near Crianlarich, on Christmas Day, but “it all turned out OK and was mostly drama-free”.

instagram Image copyright Kevin Woods
Image caption The Saddle in Glen Shiel
Kevin Woods Image copyright Kevin Woods
Image caption Sgurr nan Coireachan, Sgurr Thuilm & Gulvain
Mullach Fraoch Image copyright Kevin Woods
Image caption Kevin took a climbing companion and a rope for the Cuillins of Skye at the end of February

Mr Woods gave regular progress updates on his Instagram account and was aware from afar of the coronavirus outbreak.

He said he was grateful to have completed the first half of the challenge in “quick time” as the UK went into lockdown giving him “time in hand to finish the Munros ahead of the virus”.

When asked if he thought he was safer far from civilisation in the mountains, Kevin said on the contrary: “There’s not much difference between being in the hills and being at home – both are physically isolated.”

Since returning home, he says, it feels like he has never been away but in future he plans to write a book and make a film about the trip.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-52155378

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