James Forrest celebrates his final ascent on Scafell Pike

James Forrest celebrates his final ascent on Scafell Pike

An adventurous walker is claiming a record for summiting all England and Wales’s mountains.

James Forrest has ascended 446 peaks in six months, climbing five times the height of Everest during his quest.

The 34-year-old made his solo ascents during his days off work, walking up to 25 miles a day and wild camping in the hills.

The Cockermouth-based writer saved England’s highest mountain until last, reaching summiting Scafell Pike, his final peak, on September 16, after walking more than 1,000 miles.

He said the six-month duration for completing all the nuttalls – 2,000-footers in England and Wales with at least 50ft prominence – is the fastest known time.

Guidebook authors John and Anne Nuttall, who compiled The Mountains of England and Wales, have a list of 288 completers on their website, confirmed Mr Forrest’s six-month hike is the fastest known time to climb all 446 summits.

Anne Nuttall said: “Congratulation to James. Climbing the mountains of England and Wales is an impressive achievement, but to do it in six months is quite exceptional and as far as we know unique.

“When we climbed them all it was a labour of love and we are sure that James will also look at the summits as very special friends.”

He admits the views from many of the peaks were non-existent due to bad weather, but commends hillwalking to everyone. He said: “I feel on top of the world to have finally completed this epic expedition.

“It has been the adventure of a lifetime and an incredibly tough challenge, both physically and mentally.

The challenge walker hiking in Wales, with Aran Fawddwy in the background

The challenge walker hiking in Wales, with Aran Fawddwy in the background

“Mountains are good for the soul. I love the freedom, the fresh air, the isolation, the unpredictability, the escapism – and this journey has let me experience these joys more than most.

“The weather Gods have not been kind to me. It has rained on more than 50 per cent of my hikes.

“I’ve been pummelled by torrential rain and gale-force winds on more occasions than I wish to remember – and I’ve stood atop literally hundreds of mist-shrouded summits with no views whatsoever.

“It’s been a tough one mentally. Often I’ve felt like the last thing I want to do is head up high when the conditions are poor. But I’ve battled on, determined to achieve my goal, and I have found a perverse kind of pleasure in taking on Mother Nature and surviving.

“There have also been so many breathtaking moments in glorious weather. The mountain landscapes of England and Wales are simply stunning.

“Walking in the mountains and sleeping under the stars has been life-affirming.

“Every walk has been time well spent – time for wilderness and solitude, for self-reflection and quiet, for escapism and nature.

“Every mountain has brought me boundless happiness. I’d encourage everyone to spend more time outdoors – you won’t regret it.”

The writer, who also works part-time for the Fix the Fells upland path repair project in the Lake District, said his favourite mountains were Tryfan in Wales and Hopegill Head in England. His challenge began on March 16 and involved climbing 256 mountains in England and 190 in Wales, travelling to several national parks including the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Lake District, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons.

James Forrest walks on the Glyderau in Snowdonia

James Forrest walks on the Glyderau in Snowdonia

He has already summited all 214 wainwrights, the Lakeland fells described in Alfred Wainwright’s series of pictorial guides.

Mr Forrest has raised more than £600 for the British Mountaineering Council’s charity the Access and Conservation Trust. The money raised will support the upcoming Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign, which aims to protect the mountain landscapes of Britain.

Outdoor brand Berghaus supported the adventurer who quit his job and sold his house in 2016 to go backpacking around the world.

He has now settled in Cumbria with his wife Rebecca Forrest, 35, and is making outdoor adventure part of his everyday life.

Donations to his #Challenge446 fundraiser can be made via the justgiving website.

More details are on James Forrest’s website.

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