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Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and counting

Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and counting


Postby KeithS » Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:14 pm

Reading about the recent incredible record for the fastest ever Munro round (under 32 days) got me thinking.
There is no chance of me (or possibly anybody) beating that.
However...
What is the record for the slowest compleation?
This would have to be the time between the first ascent of your first Munro and the first ascent of your final Munro. Later ascents of your final Munro on further compleations would not count.
I climbed my first Munro (Ben Nevis) on 1st June 1981 at the age of 21yrs.
I am now 14,349 days into my round, having just Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill on An Teallach to go for compleation.
I can see 282 from my house and I hope to be able to climb it from home (possibly cycling to the start).
How long did you take for your first compleation?
If I am quite close to the record then I could delay my compleation accordingly. I had planned to finish on my 40th year of bagging. However, at the age of 61yrs, I can't risk leaving it too late as the knees or other bits might give out before then.
Does anyone have any information as to my target time or can I claim a record when I do compleat? :D
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Veryhappybunny » Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:53 pm

The SMC mention someone having taken 64 years for their round, so you’ve got a while to wait: https://www.smc.org.uk/posts/post.php?id=50
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Stevenp » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:19 pm

My first Munro was climbed in April 1972 as part of an outward bound course on the Captain Scott Schooner then based in Plockton. Since then I've climbed many hills and also been diverted into sailing and other things. During lockdown it occurred to me that a 50 year round was possible if I get a move on. At that stage (July) I still had almost 100 to go but that number is now down to 77 and the aim is to get below 70 by the end of the year. Not sure it will happen it but a deadline always helps provide some motivation. I am however, very much regretting leaving the most remote until last!
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby nigheandonn » Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:08 pm

Munro Matters generally has a section for 50+ year completions, but I get the impression that they are often where someone has climbed a hill or two in their childhood or teens, and gone back to it later. I wonder what the slowest round would be if you insisted on a hill every year (or two, or five).
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby rockhopper » Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:45 pm

Ben Lomond...21.6.1986 and Slioch...23.7.2014
So, only 10,259 days :lol:
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Stevenp » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:46 pm

Many thanks for the link to Munro Matters - it's new to me and reassuring to see so many taking 50 years or more!
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Phil the Hill » Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:27 pm

I reckon I first climbed Ben Nevis in August 1979, but I only started bagging Munros on The Saddle in 1988. I've bagged at least 1 each year since (assuming I manage to get up to Scotland this October, having lost my May trip due to lockdown) and still have 21 to go. I'm also now aged 61.

I'm not setting any target date to compleat, having already missed several. There's no rush and I also want to get my Corbett & Marilyn counts up.
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby gaffr » Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:26 pm

Hello... 14,600 approximately for me 1959-1999.....Cairngorm with a finish on the upgraded Sgurr na Carnach.
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:25 pm

My husband climbed his first Munro in 1989 and 31 years later, he still needs 21 to compleat. He's not in a hurry :lol: :lol:

My count: 12 years of Munro bagging doesn't look very impressive on this thread...
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:51 pm

When I was reading through the archive of Munroist letters I wasn't primarily studying length of round - and anyway by no means everyone, particularly in the early days, provided a date for their first Munro. But I did keep an eye on it and I think I only really noted down the span for rounds of above 45 years. There were quite a lot of these - it only felt particularly unusual when it got beyond 50 years.

One point that relates to this is that while it would be tricky (and would take an age in terms of research) to work out an approximate overall mean length of time for a round, I'm pretty sure that the average time taken has reduced quite a bit in recent years. There's no doubt that going round the Munros is now markedly easier than it was say 25 years ago, and while people even then would quite often get round in less than ten years this now appears to be the case for a far higher proportion of people. Again it's impossible to be sure, but anecdotally I seem to see mention of a lot of modern completions taking between five and ten years first to last. In earlier times 25-35 years was completely normal - eg I finished a month shy of 25 years and whereas in say 1990 that would have felt very average, in 2007 (when I actually completed) it felt a bit on the slow side.

Incidentally, it's not the same thing, but on a similar theme a friend recently climbed Scafell Pike 70 years to the day from when he first climbed it.
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Kevin29035 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:23 pm

Dave Hewitt wrote:Again it's impossible to be sure, but anecdotally I seem to see mention of a lot of modern completions taking between five and ten years first to last. In earlier times 25-35 years was completely normal - eg I finished a month shy of 25 years and whereas in say 1990 that would have felt very average, in 2007 (when I actually completed) it felt a bit on the slow side.

Incidentally, it's not the same thing, but on a similar theme a friend recently climbed Scafell Pike 70 years to the day from when he first climbed it.

I've noticed this and wondered if I was imagining it. Might be in part the people you know; when I started walking in 2007 (immediately using forums to meet partners) everyone was part-way through the list, nobody had completed.

If it is a thing (which I can imagine), I wonder if that's in part the internet and access to information. After all the overall challenge itself has changed very little - still need to navigate, the weather's what it always was the hills are more or less the same give or take a few tracks.
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:01 pm

Kevin29035 wrote:After all the overall challenge itself has changed very little - still need to navigate, the weather's what it always was the hills are more or less the same give or take a few tracks.

I'm not sure that's the case, particularly with regard to paths/tracks. There are far far more paths on Munros now than there were 25-30 years ago - pretty much every Munro now has a regular path (of varying quality) from the main start-point to the top, and links between Munros are now all pathed. That didn't used to be the case, and what paths existed were often very messy for long stretches. People who didn't climb a Munro before say 1995 would get a shock if transported back in time. There are loads of examples, but two that spring to mind are Ben Lomond (both main paths boggy in a lot of places, particularly lower down) and Mayar - the stretch between leaving the Glen Doll forest track and the entrance to Corrie Fee, which people now stroll along in a few minutes, was an absolute quagmire and could take ages. Cairngorms paths were nothing like they are now - you cruised into Derry Lodge but beyond that it was a different story. A good example of a Munro that didn't really have a path at all was the western Vorlich - if walkers used the Sloy hydro road they tended to leave it at all sorts of places, and it was only later that the present-day main path evolved above the section leading up towards the dam. It was nice having such an accessible hill with no standard route - in a way it's a shame it's joined the ranks of so many other hills with a trade route to the top. (And it's not a Munro, but the south-eastern approach to Ben Ledi, now just a paved highway, was a sight to behold in say 1985; it was so boggy that it wasn't even the main route in those days - people more often used to go up from the south by a now-vanished route above the Venachar road.)

The modern proliferation of paths has had a knock-on effect on navigation, I think. A lot of people, certainly in summer conditions, now simply follow the path up and down. I'm by no means alone in having worries about how the standard of navigation appears to have declined in recent years - talk to MRT people and it quite often comes up as a concern. A traditional Lakes method of navigation - following a stranger - appears to be spreading into Scotland too, which is quite a concern if so.

There are also (generally) shorter/milder winters than 30-odd years ago, and far more Munro-related accommodation options even factoring in the disappearance of so many SYHA hostels. In the 1980s I think there were just three independent hostels/bunkhouses - Gerry's at Craig, Nancy's at Fersit and one up Torridon way that I never stayed in. People camped far more than they do now. Plus pre-1985 there were no Munro guidebooks (and no internet of course): walkers used Hamish Brown's long walk book and Richard Gilbert's Memorable Munros along with the SMC area guides, and that was about it. Whole areas were pretty mysterious, with only sketchy knowledge that tended to be picked up as you went along. People seemed to do far more proper planning rather than using ready-made routes as it were - it was commonplace to see walkers in a pub (Clachaig or Cluanie or wherever) on a Friday evening poring over maps, working out what to do the next day.
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Stevenp » Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:10 am

I pretty much agree with all of that. Having come back to the Munros after quite a long break I've been thinking about the differences. The proliferation of paths is the obvious one as is the availability of GPS and even the existence of this web site. I think it's great in that it's encouraged more people to get involved and get to know the country and hopefully most will take navigation seriously. My, now much older, legs are certainly very grateful for the paths. The improvement in gear is also a factor and whilst some of it seems more like a fashion statement, it's so much better than when I started. String vest, wool shirt, Norwegian sweater, tweed breeches and a non breathable cagoule was standard winter wear - it's surprising we didn't scratch ourselves to death - we certainly stank after a wet weekend! Then there was always the issue of transport. Not everyone had cars when I started and those that did often travelled more in hope than expectation of a trouble free journey. Memories are good but I prefer it now and will call a halt on the reminiscing..
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby Sgurr » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:23 am

I think people should post photos of themselves at the age they climbed their first and last Munro. This is husband 1966

Image


And 2003 when either the Munros or marriage had taken their toll.
Image
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Re: Record attempt: Slowest compleation, 14349 days and coun

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:30 pm

The question of when a second round starts has been discussed a few times, but I feel like there's a hidden question here of when a first round starts.

Suppose you've been up Ben Nevis and Ben Lomond, or similar, on teenage holidays, didn't think much of it, and then 20 or so years later came back to it, got keen, and climbed them all over the next 15 years, including the ones you barely remember. When did that round start - with the first Munro you ever climbed, or at the point you made a project of it?

I don't think either answer is wrong, but it's going to make quite a difference to the recorded length of the round.

(It's a question I could have to find an answer to - when I climbed Ben Vrackie in 2013 I believed it was the first Corbett I'd ever been up, but I've been told since that I went up Goatfell as a fairly young child, something I don't remember at all, even after going back...)
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