Marhofn 269.15 - May 2013

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Thirteen Grahams in 24 hours

Rod Munro, with Andrew Tibbetts

Our objective was to climb the maximum number of Grahams in 24 hours, in May 2012. The most obvious area was Argyll, where the Luss hills include a compact group of eight Grahams. Starting in Glen Fruin, we worked our way north and completed the Luss section before dropping down into Arrochar village. We then climbed the isolated Cnoc Coinnich and, continuing in a general westerly direction, once again descended back to sea level at Lochgoilhead. After ascending Beinn Lochain, we headed north along a ridge, over another two Grahams, to reach Hell's Glen, which was to be our finishing point. Before completing the outing, we ascended Stob an Eas and descended by the same route. This was our final Graham, giving a total of 13, most of which neither of us had done before. There was a rest point at Glen Douglas for hot drinks and soup. The shops in Arrochar and Lochgoilhead were used for obtaining further supplies. In addition, we had food and drink stashes in a few places.

In the preceding weeks, the entire route had been recced in stages by Andrew, who had installed 72 GPS waypoints. Most of the route was walked, including all uphill and level sections, and we ran the descents of the first nine Grahams. After this stage, I had a recurrence of shin problems caused by a long road walk three weeks before. This reduced the pace of the final descents to a slow walk.

Apart from a few short boggy sections, the underfoot conditions were dry with most of the grassy vegetation being reasonable to good. There were also a few sections on road, tracks and paths. During the early stages, it was dark and cloudy enough to justify using head torches, until about 4:15am, when dawn broke. There were a couple of showers and some misty summits during this night section but thereafter, apart from one or two brief showers, the weather remained dry with clear summits and sunny spells. It felt very warm at sea level but cool and increasingly windy on the high ground.

Distance: 42miles/68km
Ascent: 18500ft/5639m
Time: 22 hours, 5 minutes

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