Spyke in action in less than ideal weather early in his round

Spyke in action in less than ideal weather early in his round

He’s had to contend with ticks, missing camping gear and Achilles’ heel problems, but the man aiming to break the muscle-powered record time for a munro round has surpassed the greatest challenge yet – the Cuillin ridge on Skye.

The mighty traverse of the 11 munros, including the rock climb up Sgurr Dearg’s Inaccessible Pinnacle, was completed yesterday in 15½ hours – Blà Bheinn having been completed on Saturday. Now, Stephen Pyke is heading for the Five Sisters of Kintail before heading north on the final section of his round of the 283 Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft (914.4m) in the official list of munros.

Ahead of him still lie the Torridon mountains and the peaks of the Fisherfield Forest.

Behind him lies an impressive list: by the end of today, he should have 220 mountains summited, and the toughest ridge traverse in Britain under his running shoes.

Stephen ‘Spyke’ Pyke is on course to complete the fastest ever round of the munros without the use of motorised transport – if all goes well the 45-year-old Staffordshire fellrunner will top out on Ben Hope in nine days and gain a place in the record books.

He has paddled across Loch Lomond and the Sound of Mull, and cycled hundreds of miles between the peaks in his quest to beat Charlie Campbell’s 10-year-old record of completing the round in 48 days and 12 hours.

There were raised eyebrows when Spyke chose to start the round in April in a year when there was more snow left lying on the munros than for many years – skiers and boarders were still using CairnGorm’s upper runs on Saturday despite temperatures in the 20s – but the difficult Cairngorms section was completed without great drama.

Spyke, right, with John Clemens. Photo: Dave Hewitt

Spyke, right, with John Clemens. Photo: Dave Hewitt

Supported by John Clemens from a camper van and numerous other pacers and helpers, including Neil King and Steve Watts who let him on the climb up the In Pinn, the runner is in schedule to smash Campbell’s record by a good week, which should compensate for missing out on breaking the record for the most munros in a day that was defeated by a blast of cold, wet weather in Glen Affric two years ago.

Conservation charity the John Muir Trust will benefit from Spyke’s effort and so far, more than £1,000 has been raised.

He is even planning to summit the recently demoted Sgurr nan Ceannaichean – no longer a munro – but included for the sake of completeness and so he matches Campbell’s route.

The daily travails are being chronicled by Clemens on a blog on which there are also lists of the mountains completed and still to go.

Scheduled finish date is 2 June, when the normally quiet, isolated peak of Ben Hope in Sutherland might just see a celebratory crowd applaud the remarkable feat of a man who told the Caledonian Mercury’s Dave Hewitt he wasn’t ‘particularly outdoorsy’ until his 30s.

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