Jen Hatfield on the summit of her final marilyn, Cruinn a' Bheinn

Jen Hatfield on the summit of her final marilyn, Cruinn a' Bheinn

A woman has become the first to complete one of the UK’s toughest hillwalking challenges.

Jenny Hatfield summited Cruinn a’ Bheinn, north of Ben Lomond, on Sunday to complete a round of the marilyns.

There are 1,556 of the hills throughout the UK, each of which must have a drop around them of 150m.

Ms Hatfield reached the 632m (2,074ft) top of her final marilyn with her partner Rick Salter, and the pair became the first couple to bag the full list.

The list includes all the highest summits of Scotland, Wales and England, plus many more hills including 236 on islands, and two remote sea stacks.

Mr Salter was only the ninth man to complete the marilyns. The couple were joined by a group of 40 of their hill-bagging friends, who helped them celebrate their achievement.

Ms Hatfield said: “It’s a great feeling to have climbed all 1,556 marilyns. There’s a sense of relief after all those strenuous climbs, but also regret that such an amazing adventure is finished.

“To be joined by so many of our hill-bagging friends made the final hill so special. A big thank-you to everyone there. Not to forget Alan Dawson, whose book The Relative Hills of Britain was the start of it all.”

Jen Hatfield and Rick Salter also became the first couple to complete the marilyns

Jen Hatfield and Rick Salter also became the first couple to complete the marilyns

She said she realised the opportunity of becoming the first woman marilynist when she climbed the St Kilda sea stacks last October. These are the UK’s highest sea stacks, and situated 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, their remoteness and difficulty of landing means that they are the ultimate challenge for anyone wishing to complete the marilyn list.

“At that time I still had nearly 500 marilyns to climb. I worked on the plan and realised that by devoting myself full-time to hill-bagging, I could aim to finish within a year, which would give me a good chance of being the first woman marilynist.”

The push to complete the list has been physically demanding. In just the last year Ms Hatfield estimates that she has climbed 243,000m (797,233ft) to achieve her goal, the equivalent of climbing Everest from sea level 28 times, with the distance covered being some 5,370km (3,337 miles).

“Hill-bagging days are often tough either due to poor weather, or difficult terrain. When doing the marilyns both often conspire against you.”

Based in the north of England, Jenny climbed many of the hills in the North of the UK including all the munros, corbetts and wainwrights, before moving on to tackle seriously the challenge of the marilyns in 2013.

“The list is great because it covers the whole of the UK, with hills of all sizes, and a huge range of character. It’s a massive list too, but not so big as to be unachievable,” she said.

The marilyns were first listed in Alan Dawson’s book, The Relative Hills of Britain, published in 1992, and they have since become a lifetime’s ambition for many hill-baggers.

The name is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the term munros, the Scottish 3,000ft peaks named after Sir Hugh Munro.

Rob Woodall and Eddie Dealtry were the first men to climb all of the marilyns, finishing in 2014 on Stac Lee, reputed to be the hardest of them all.