Colin Meek completes his challenge at Duncansby Head

Colin Meek completes his challenge at Duncansby Head

An ultrarunner has completed a remarkable 30-day run along Scotland’s watershed.

Colin Meek completed the 600-mile (966km) route, which began on the English border, on Sunday with his arrival at Duncansby Head on the north coast.

En route, he summited more than 30 munros and made 33,000m (108,250ft) of ascent.

The Dundonnell-based runner rested for just three days during the 30-day trip and clocked up nine ultramarathons on the journey – runs of greater length than a standard marathon.

The whole journey, which began on Peel Fell and ended at the coast at 2.30pm, was completed on foot.

Mr Meek’s route took him over the Southern Uplands for four days, then weaved its way through the central belt and the Campsie Fells before reaching Ben Lomond and the Trossachs. From there it took a line over the length of the West Highlands before sweeping east to Caithness.

He explained the Scottish watershed is the line of high and mountainous ground that defines whether rainfall runs into the Atlantic or the North Sea. It weaves its way through the full length of Scotland and includes some of the country’s most remote and trackless areas.

He said: “The highlights for me were the mountain runs near Tyndrum and the magnificent ascent of Conival in Sutherland during a 2- mile run in a trackless wilderness.

“Another day I will never forget was the climb over the Beinn Dearg mountains near Ullapool to Seana Bhraigh, one of the most remote mountains in Scotland.

“I had a hunch that the watershed would make a spectacular mountain run and I was right. I was lucky with the weather and lucky to have great friends who supported me through the adventure,” he added.

He saved his longest day to the penultimate leg from Kinbrace to Watten in Caithness at 34.6 miles with 444m ascent. Two other legs came in at more than 30 miles: Coulter to Forth in the Lowlands on his fourth day and in Kintail three weeks into the challenge.

The runner ascends above Loch Hourn

The runner ascends above Loch Hourn

He said he was inspired to tackle the watershed because it is a linear route easily defined and includes some of Scotland’s most challenging scenery. “I think too much attention is given to munros and corbetts,” the athlete said. “The best of mountainous Scotland often lies between the peaks and the watershed also includes the Southern Uplands which are too often overlooked.

“While you are on the watershed you remain on the very highest ground; for example, the average elevation of the route in the Central Highlands is 610m.”

Mr Meek lost 2kg in weight during his run. He trained for the project for more than two years, clocking up 3,000 miles in preparation since January 2011.

His challenge was nearly cut short in Tyndrum when a cup full of boiling water exploded in his face. A cigarette lighter, used to light a stove, was accidentally left in the cup when it was filled with water.

“Luckily, the burns weren’t severe,” he said.

The runner was fuelled on his challenge by Fentiman’s Ginger Beer and oat and seed cakes from Ullapool Bakery. Lyon Equipment provided some of this gear for the challenge.

More details are on Mr Meek’s blog.

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