74 miles, 18,000 feet challenge. 54 hours, solo unsupported
The first winter completion of the classic Cairngorms round which visits the tops of the 18 Northern Cairngorm Munros in a circuit from Loch Morlich. I saw no sign of civilisation or people until the ski slopes at the end and had no tracks to follow for the most part, so it was a true solo experience. After a brilliant first day of sun on frozen snow, the night degenerated to freezing rain driven by a 40 mile per hour wind. I was then soaked, cold and enveloped in a white out for the next 40 hours. It was a most testing experience, especially during the second night when I became hopelessly lost and spent 9 hours trudging through the snow without knowing where I was. Having tested my compass subsequently, I think the large bubble in my compass caused it to read incorrectly. In any event, what promised to be a 36 hour challenge turned into a 54 hour epic.