Tom Hollins is a seasoned endurance runner. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Tom Hollins is a seasoned endurance runner. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

It’s hard to avoid the bus analogy: you wait ages for a winter Wainwrights attempt and then two come along on the same day.

Athletes James Gibson and Tom Hollins have both set off in their quest to complete a run over all 214 Lakeland peaks during the winter season.

The first day of December marks the beginning of meteorological winter.

Hollins already has a Wainwrights round under his belt, having completed the 512km (318-mile) run with 36,000m of ascent, in May this year. His time of 6 days 21hrs 33mins 8secs was set during unseasonably brutal weather. This time he posted a brief note on social media saying: “Have lots of good friends around me and weather looks like it will be fun. Looking forward to seeing you all out there.”

His challenge began at the Moot Hall in Keswick at 6am on Wednesday.

An hour later, James Gibson began his attempt on the Wainwrights from the same place. The Lakeland Mountain Guides member aims to complete his winter round in little over seven days. “Limited daylight hours, cooler temperatures, and hopefully some winter conditions will all make this an arduous, yet oddly appealing task,” he said.

Sabrina Verjee holds the record for a solo continuous Wainwrights round, with a time of 5 days 23hrs 49mins 12secs, set in June. Long-distance expert John Kelly abandoned his attempt on the record the following month.

The challenge involves completing all the peaks described by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.

James Gibson said: “As it stands no one has yet to compete a continuous round of the Wainwrights in winter. However, a mention needs to go to Mingma Tshering Sherpa who completed all 214 Wainwrights over a period of 14 days during winter months, solo.”

At the time of writing, Hollins had summited 12 fells and was on target for his schedule, while Gibson had ticked off 11 summits, having taken in Latrigg as his first fell.

Hollins’s progress can be followed on the Open Tracking site while Gibson’s route can also be followed on the same site.

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