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Long Distance Records
Round of Glencoe

While the fastest time recorded for the 19-mile/12,750ft round of five pre-1997 Munros from the Clachaig Inn was a still-impressive 7 hrs 5 mins by Bobby Shields on 31st May 1980 [Ref. MM], the addition of the three 'new' Munros of Stob Coire Sgreamhach, Stob Coire Raineach and Stob na Broige to the 'old' ones of Bidean nam Bian, Stob Dubh, Stob Dearg, Meall Dearg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh has complicated matters somewhat since then. So, given the unavoidable nature of the two Aonach Eagach tops and convenient position of the two Buachaille Etive Mor tops en route from Stob na Broige to Stob Dearg, perhaps the logical response is that taken by Peter Duggan of Lochaber AC on 11th June 2006 with 'an unambiguous circuit of every 3000ft top and extended Aonach Eagach from the Devil's Staircase', which, as described in his account of the run, is still remarkably close to 'a pure, circular tour'. His full route, starting and finishing at the Clachaig, adding an estimated 2,400ft of ascent to the Shields round without being all that much further over the ground, and completed (after backtracking from one major mistake!) in hot weather in 10 hrs 55 mins 31 secs, took in An t-Sron, Stob Coire nam Beith, Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire nam Lochan, Stob Coire Sgreamhach, both tops of Beinn Fhada, Stob Coire Raineach, Stob Dubh, Stob na Broige, Stob Coire Altruim, Stob na Doire and Stob Dearg before crossing the road at Altnafeadh to return by Stob Mhic Mhartuin, Sron a' Choire Odhair-bhig, Spot height 903 (A' Chailleach?), Sron Gharbh, Am Bodach, Meall Dearg, Stob Coire Leith and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh.

On 14th June 2013, Peter's route was repeated by Dan and Jon Gay in 10 hrs 2 mins 41 secs, with the traverse of Bidean again hampered by cloud before clearing, some problematic squalls in windy conditions, and Jon describing it as 'hard, hard stuff' [Ref. personal communication]. But sub-10 or sub-9 rounds look eminently achievable in good conditions, with faster yet (sub-8 or even 7?) clearly possible from the times now being recorded for the slightly divergent Glen Coe Skyline race course, and 12 hours still an appropriate 'Tranter-style' benchmark for those seeking a more modest challenge.

Since the advent of the Glen Coe Skyline race in 2015 has created another new route with its own records currently somewhat eclipsing ours, we list the key differences between that and a complete round here:

  • The Glen Coe Skyline is a race run on a set day of the year whereas you can run a round whenever you like.
  • The race now starts and finishes in Kinlochleven whereas a round could logically start/finish at Clachaig or Altnafeadh (and should take in both).
  • The race runs clockwise and includes Curved Ridge, but omits Stob Coire Altruim, Stob na Broige, Stob Coire Raineach, Stob Dubh and the Munro tops of Beinn Fhada.
  • The complete round might reasonably be taken in either direction. While it was first recorded anticlockwise, clockwise would be as good or better because the Aonach Eagach runs well west-to-east and you'd get the tops of Beinn Fhada in ascent rather than descent. (There's also nothing to stop you including the ascent of Curved Ridge in a clockwise round, but we're not proposing a separate record for that!)

Note that Bobby Shields also took the extended Aonach Eagach from the Devil's Staircase on his 'classic' round [Ref. personal communication].

Page updated 6th October 2018

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