Scotland’s summer challengers

C2c4k David Lintern on the CMD arete

Do you have big plans for this summer in the great outdoors? We speak to the adventurers taking on three epic challenges.

Adventures in Scotland’s countryside come in all shapes and sizes and the level of the challenge is determined by personal fitness and experience. Your big challenge might be to walk your first Munro, learn how to sea kayak or cycle a super hilly sportive.

But, of course, there are always people who like to push the limits of their challenges. This summer three epic, self-styled challenges take place in Scotland.


credit David Lintern 3As we write, David Lintern and David Hine have just finished attempting their self-imposed challenge. The C2C4K translates as crossing Scotland Coast to Coast on foot and water and including all of Scotland’s nine highest mountains (each at least 4,000ft).

Their adventure saw them travelling on land by foot and on water in portable boats (pack rafts), which they carried on their backs.

Before setting off, Lintern, of Glasgow, said: “We both love a challenge, especially somewhere remote in Scotland, so this trip is an exciting prospect.

“But it will be extremely hard going as we will be reliant on our own steam, whether walking or paddling, and we will need to cope with Scotland’s fickle weather.

C2c4k  David Hine paddles the River Feshie (1)“The chances are there will still be snow on the highest mountains and we will need to be prepared for that.”

On May 9, Lintern and Hine, of Edinburgh, set out from Britain’s most westerly point, Corrachadh Mòr, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

The nine mountains in the UK’s “4,000ft club” are Ben Nevis (the tallest), Aonach Mòr, Càrn Mòr Dearg, Aonach Beag, Ben MacDui, Cairn Gorm, Breariach, Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine.

Dad-of-one Lintern said: “Logistically, there will be many unknowns so we need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least two weeks.

credit David Lintern“Walking all of the nine 4,000ft mountains would be a tough challenge in itself but we also have many miles of wild, open moorland, rivers and potentially exposed lochs to cross.

“We don’t believe a walking and paddling trip of this kind has been done before so it will also feel like an amazing achievement to complete it.”

The friends are also raising awareness and cash for outdoor learning initiative, the John Muir Award.

Inspiration for the journey of around 225 miles came from Hine’s passion for packrafting. A relatively new activity in the UK, the inflatable boats pack into a rucksack and allow adventurers to travel by water off the beaten track.

Hine, 34, said: “The idea for the C2C4K trip came from the desire to do something different – to join the highest places in the UK with equally interesting stretches of water in a continuous outing.”

credit David Lintern 1Lintern added: “While this isn’t a big challenge by TV standards, it’ll be a big journey of discovery for us.”

The latest news is that the two Davids reached Spey Bay, the end point of their journey, after 15 days of difficult conditions. They managed seven of the nine 4,000ft mountains but were forced to retreat without completing the other two.

See and

Girls run north

running northTwo friends, Sarah Morton and Laraine Wyn-Jones, have set themselves a huge challenge this summer. In June, they hope to run off-road from the most westerly point in Britain at Ardnamurchan to the most northerly point at John o’ Groats.

Their self-supported Running North expedition will total approximately 700 miles and an epic ascent of 80,000ft. It will take them along the very north-west edge of Scotland and should take around six weeks.

The women will ensure that the coastline is in view at all times and they will avoid roads and tarmac, following coastal walking routes, trails and beach, unless there is no other option.

They will be tackling some of Scotland’s wildest, remotest and most rugged regions including Assynt, Cape Wrath and Torridon and they will need to ascend to a high point at the top of the Bealach na Ba, an Alpine-style hairpin-bend mountain pass that rises from sea level to 2,054ft with a gradient of up to 20%.

Sarah and Laraine met while climbing all 14 of the Welsh 3,000ft peaks some years ago and since then they have ticked off many adventures under the team name of The Snails Nails. (The team name refers to the women’s steady pace and their liking for carrying their homes on their back.)

Sarah said: “This Running North challenge is bigger and better than anything we have done before together. We want to push ourselves to our limits and we reckon this adventure will do that!”

The Snails Nails will also raise funds for two charities. The Stroke Association has been chosen by Laraine after her husband suffered a stroke aged just 30.

Laraine said: “While my husband has made a good recovery, I want to raise awareness and understanding of strokes, particularly in younger people.”

Yogability, a Bearsden-based charity, is Sarah’s choice. She said: “Yogability provides free yoga to children and adults with special needs, as well as their carers. It’s an amazingly worthwhile project and in desperate need of money.”

See Running North

Running the watershed

watershed runScottish ultra runners Stuart MacFarlane and Elspeth Luke plan to run the 680-mile Watershed of Scotland in July. The Watershed is the drainage divide in Scotland, running south to north, and separating the river systems that flow east into the North Sea and west into the Atlantic Ocean.

The pair aim is to complete an average of 20 miles each day to finish the long-distance challenge from Peel Fell in the Borders to Duncansby Head in just 34 days. In doing so they will climb 44 Munros and more than 20 Corbetts.

Stuart, of Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, reckons they will encounter more than their fair share of boggy ground, too. He said: “The Watershed is notoriously wet and the ground will often be very boggy. I expect we will have wet feet for a lot of this challenge.”

Only one other person, Colin Meek, has run the Watershed before.

Stuart, 62, only began jogging a decade ago with a few 10ks, yet his running goals have become increasingly long and he is the veteran of many half-marathons and marathons. In the last five years he has completed more than 30 ultra-distance events.

He said: “I like big challenges and doing the Watershed run seems like a ultimate goal for me just now. Having Elspeth along will be great for motivation and company.”

The pair will have a support team that will drive a minivan and meet them at points along the route but they will still need to wild camp and support themselves when travelling through more remote landscapes. On the wild camping days Elspeth, of Glasgow, and Stuart will have the additional weight of a tent, sleeping bag, ground mat, water, food and other essential kit in their rucksacks.

Stuart said: “We getting closer to starting our run now and I am feeling nervous but we have put in a lot of training. We hope we can pull this off and that it will be a rewarding experience.”

The Watershed run has a target of raising £5,000 for the charity Funding Neuro. See Watershed Scotland

Tell us about your big challenges in Scotland this summer.

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