'Toughest' Munro-bagging record broken by a week

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland News

  • Published
Donnie CampbellImage source, Donnie Campbell
Image caption,
During the challenge Donnie Campbell climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest 14 times

Mountain runner Donnie Campbell has broken the record for the fastest solo round of of all 282 Munros in Scotland by more than a week.

The 35-year-old, from Inverness, completed the round in just 31 days and 23 hours.

He began the challenge on Ben More, Isle of Mull, on 1 August and finished on Ben Hope, the most northerly Munro.

He ran up each mountain before running, walking, cycling or kayaking to the next one.

It breaks Stephen Pyke's record of 39 days and nine hours, which was set in 2010.

And it is being hailed as the toughest challenge in the UK.

Mr Campbell said it was "mind-blowingly hard".

He climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest 14 times. He ran 1,422km (883 miles) and cycled 1,443km (896 miles).

Image source, Donnie Campbell
Image caption,
Donnie at the finish line with his wife Rachael

A Munro is a Scottish mountain with a height of more than 3,000ft (900m).

The running coach told BBC Scotland: "There were times during this that I was completely broken and I was questioning why I was doing it and what was the point.

"There was never a point I thought about quitting though because it's not something that I would think of."

He was supported by his wife, Rachael Campbell, 38, who drove the campervan in which he slept after 12-14 hour days. He did not take a day off.

Image source, Donnie Campbell
Image caption,
He ran 1,422km (883 miles) and cycled 1,443km (896 miles)

On the final push to the finish he ran for 48 hours without a rest.

He said: "By day 17 I was in Glencoe having done a 14 hour day and I had done some massive days and I could see no end in sight and I was in a low place. It was very tough.

"I was pushed to the limit every day with no reward at the end of each day as I was nowhere near the finish.

"I was constantly fatigued.

"You have to know how to cope in a situation like this and be willing to be wet and cold and very tired."

Image source, Donnie Campbell
Image caption,
Donnie Campbell kayaked from Mull to the mainland

Mr Campbell said he decided to do the challenge, which took 12 months to plan, in order to give him motivation to do the remote Munros.

"I've done a lot of the Munros many times but I hadn't done the really remote ones. Some of the remote Munros were boggy and uninspiring."

Image source, Donnie Campbell
Image caption,
Mr Campbell, who finished the challenge on Wednesday, said it was "mind blowingly hard"

Surprisingly Mr Campbell did not get any blisters or hallucinations during the challenge.

He burned more than 7,000 calories a day and has lost weight.

He normally follows a plant-based diet for performance reasons but ate some dairy products on the challenge for easiness meal-wise.

Image source, Donnie Campbell

He said: "To be successful on these big adventures it's a massive team effort. My wife played a blinder over these past five weeks and I couldn't have done it without her.

"It was a great journey and great experience however I would never do it again."

Ultramarathon runner, Donald Sandeman, of Harmeny Athletics Club in Edinburgh, said: "In my opinion this is the toughest challenge that's ever been done in the UK, physically, mentally and logistically.

"His efforts each day were just mind blowing."

Ian Beattie, Scottish Athletics chairman said: "The mindset you need for a challenge like this is incredibly tough.

"There is no question that what he has done is very remarkable and shows exceptional strength and endurance. It's just incredible."

Image source, Donnie Campbell