Jonny Muir pauses on Brown Willy during his Heights of Madness challenge

Jonny Muir pauses on Brown Willy during his Heights of Madness challenge

An author and peakbagger is planning a non-stop round of a dozen peaks seldom visited by hillwalkers and mountaineers.

Jonny Muir hopes to capitalise on the highpoints of a dozen inner-London boroughs tomorrow, taking in a total combined height less than that of Scafell Pike.

Mr Muir, who is no slouch when it comes to running and walking – he has completed the Bob Graham Round and summited all of the UK’s county tops – says he is tackling the London borough tops because ‘he has a day off’.

Inspired, he says, by Andrew Murray’s attempt to run 10 Scottish mountains in one day, the journalist-turned-English-teacher will run the less demanding clockwise arc of the highest points of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Southwark, Lewisham, Lambeth and Wandsworth.

Mr Muir said: “Think of the whole thing as a satire of the Bob Graham round. Utterly pointless. But then, is not that the point?

Camera-touting tourists will be one of the main hazards of the challenge

Camera-touting tourists will be one of the main hazards of the challenge

“I am not sure how long the run is – it could be 30 miles, but 40 may be nearer the mark – and I am not sure how long it will take.

“It is perhaps best not to know. I’ll probably have to drop off and pick up my daughter from nursery, meaning around eight hours will have to suffice. Any longer and a 16-month-old girl is going hungry.

“Down here in London, we are stuck with the capital’s vertically-challenged undulations while our highest points have been built on, buried under concrete or adorned with telecommunications paraphernalia.

“The highest point within the M25 circle, far away from the urban chaos in the North Downs, is 270m Botley Hill. They stuck a telecommunications mast there, naturally.

“I looked down on London from The Shard very recently. I can confirm that London, from some 300m up, is appallingly flat. Even the Crystal Palace ridge, away to the South and positively Ben Nevisian close to, is smothered by perspective.”

The highpoint of the Muir run, which he is calling the Little Dozen, is Hampstead Heath, 134m above sea level.

While the cumulative height of Andrew Murray’s mountains tops 10,000m, Muir’s can’t even surpass 1,000m.

The borough summits are:

  • Hammersmith & Fulham: College Park (45m)
  • Kensington & Chelsea: Harrow Road (45m)
  • City of Westminster: St John’s Wood Park (52m)
  • Camden: Hampstead Heath (134m)
  • Islington: Highgate Hill (100m)
  • Hackney: Seven Sisters Road (39m)
  • Tower Hamlets: Bethnal Green (16m)
  • Greenwich: Shooters Hill (132m)
  • Lewisham: Sydenham Hill (112m)
  • Southwark: Sydenham Hill (112m)
  • Lambeth: Westow Hill (110m)
  • Wandsworth: Putney Heath (60m).

Sydenham Hill is the highest point for two of the boroughs, as the boundary runs over it.

The cumulative height of the London peaks falls short of Scafell Pike's 978m

The cumulative height of the London peaks falls short of Scafell Pike's 978m

Comparing his challenge with the Murray route, Mr Muir said: “His obstacles will include boulder fields, perilous cliffs and knife-edge arêtes; I must take account of rambling, iPad-touting tourists, low-flying pigeons and cracks in the pavement.

“He is running to showcase the benefits of regular exercise; that will do for me too.

“While Andrew and Donnie will have to do battle with the A82 and A9, I will run continuously through Europe’s greatest capital, bowling by Lord’s, crossing Hampstead Heath, hot-footing along the Regent’s Canal, through the Isle of Dogs, under the Thames, across the Greenwich Meridian, past the old Crystal Palace and Wombling over Wimbledon Common.”

Jonny Muir’s books include Heights of Madness, Isles at the Edge of the Sea and a Cicerone guidebook the UK’s County Tops.