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Women’s team complete relay challenge to bag all 282 Munros in 26 days

The women reached the final summit at Ben More on June 30.
The women reached the final summit at Ben More on June 30.

A group of women have ran, walked, cycled and kayaked around Scotland to bag the Munros in just 26 days.

The Veteran Women’s Relay Group have travelled more than 1,750 miles since June 4 to complete all 282 of the peaks.

As well as fulfilling a personal challenge, the team – all aged 40 and over – were raising money for charity Free to Run, which empowers women and girls through sport.

Fran Loots, from Comrie, came up with the idea for the challenge during lockdown and said she was “absolutely delighted” to reach the summit of Ben More on Thursday.

Fran Loots on the final Munro of the challenge – Ben More on the Isle of Mull.

She said: “I’d looked a few times and not that many women had done running around the Munros, and I thought it was something we could do it in some shape or form.

“So, I just put the idea out there as a kind of relay, and the reaction from other women was overwhelming.”

‘Determination was amazing’

A core group of 10 committed to the challenge and were joined by others for throughout the journey – many from running backgrounds with strong orienteering skills.

They decided to do everything “self-propelled” using foot, bikes and kayaks to travel from mountain to mountain.

Sue Savage and Hazel Dean at the Mamores.

The surprisingly severe June weather meant they often had to change routes at the last minute – but they were determined to not give up.

The 63-year-old added: “We had to completely stop for several days because of gale force winds – It was appalling with 40 miles an hour winds at grounds level.

“We had to have discussions about the weather and just decided it wasn’t safe. Some days we were just battered by the elements from the beginning to the end.

“But the determination and hope to keep going was amazing.”

‘Pushing boundaries’

The women often walked and ran through the night – at times unable to see an arms length in front of themselves – to bag all the Munros, and kept up with each other’s progress thanks to a tracker in a toy squirrel.

Hazel Dean, Linda Smith and Susan Blackwood at Glenshiel.

When the challenge was completed on day 26, Mrs Loots said the whole team was “absolutely delighted”.

“It was such a huge effort, you had no idea which day was going to happen. Even up to the end. The camaraderie and support that we gave each other was first class.

“It was very positive and great to be a part of. It was a celebration about keeping active and pushing boundaries for all of us.”

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