Munro Mission 2023; running tying 282 mountains together in Scotland
In the past year, I ran 1,000 kilometers in thirty days to draw attention to Parkinson's disease. Then I ran 450 kilometers on the GR11 in the Spanish Pyrenees and 500 kilometers from Biarritz to Santiago.
Between my adventure in the Spanish Pyrenees and the one on the Camino del Norte, Jan Fokke Oosterhof - also running adventurer - comes on the line. He is looking for a place to live and since I am away from home a lot, part of my house is going up for rent. When he comes to take a look we soon end up in the garden with a bottle of Rioja and chat. We know each other from about ten years ago. A period when we regularly turned out the lights together during entrepreneurial get-togethers. Even before the conversation ended, it was decided that we would become roommates and ... a new adventure sees the light of day. The Munro Mission 2023 is born. Fokke and Geertje go on an adventure in Scotland.
A Munro is a Scottish mountain or hill with an elevation of at least 3,000 feet or 914.4 meters. These mountains take their name from Hugh Munro (1856-1919), who was the first to compile, or attempt to compile, a complete list of these mountains, known as Munro's Tables, in 1891. The most famous Munro is undoubtedly Ben Nevis near Fort William. It is the highest mountain in Scotland and the entire United Kingdom at 1,344 feet.
The current list of the Scottish Mountaineering Club includes 282 Munros. Despite their relatively limited height, hiking or climbing the Munros is not easy, given their high latitude and the treacherous Scottish weather often influenced by Atlantic disturbances. Even in summer, weather conditions near a summit can be dangerous: thick fog, strong winds, heavy rain and sub-zero temperatures are common.
Climbing in winter is only for experienced mountaineers and these climbs are considered among the most challenging climbs in Europe. Many famous climbers such as Joe Simpson (Reading tip: book Over the Edge ) have their roots in the Scottish Highlands. Some hikers are not adequately prepared for the often extreme weather conditions at the summit, sometimes resulting in fatalities, often from slipping on wet rocks and ice.
Persons who have reached the summit of all 282 Munros are called completionists. Archibald Eneas Robertson began climbing in 1889 and was the first to have climbed all the Munros by 1901. The last one to his credit was Meall Dearg (953 m) in Glen Coe. Over 7,000 people have since repeated this challenge, including 15 Dutch.
On average, it takes people about 10 years to climb all the Munros. The speed record is 39 days, 9 hours and 6 minutes. Stephen Pyke set that record in 2010. One lady who set an inspiring project was Emily Scott with her Project 282 with which she made an uninterrupted and almost entirely self-sufficient trek along all the Munros. She traveled 2,200 kilometers on foot and 2,600 kilometers on bicycle, totaling 198,000 meters of elevation gain. She was on the road continuously for 120 days, sleeping in bothies or wild camping in her tent. You can read more about her "project 282" on the British Adventure Collective website: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/project-282/.
Munro Mission 2023
As I sit in the garden like this with Jan Fokke, he shares the dream of ticking off all the Munros. I immediately hook up and, as a running adventurer, rub my hands together. The Munro Mission 2023 is born.
Two running adventurers find each other. Together with Jan Fokke I am going to attack Munro's from February 1, running 282 mountain peaks and thus becoming the fastest Munro baggers in the Netherlands. A journey of 4,500 kilometers and 200,000 altimeters and a billion midges.
Given that we start Feb. 1, it will be a leaden challenge, weather-wise, logistically and dimensionally. This is without a doubt the toughest trick the two of us have ever undertaken. I am therefore squeezing my hands that in Jan Fokke I have found a fellow adventurer who dares to take on this leaden expedition.
The fact that we are going to run brings additional risks in terms of slipping. An ankle or wrist is easily broken. The weather is unpredictable, so we may have to change the route and sequence frequently due to avalanche danger and snowfall. The Scottish mountains are treacherous and can sometimes seem arctic. Scotland is the country known for its four seasons in one day. This will ask a lot of us and our gear.
We have to wildcamp in all weathers because some areas have absolutely no villages and shelters. We are going to try to use bothies, simple mountain huts, usually unlocked and publicly, freely accessible, as much as possible. They are fairly common in the Scottish Highlands. Most bothies are in remote locations, where you can only get there by foot, bike or boat. Many of the bothies are managed by the Mountain Bothies Association. You can find a list of all the bothies maintained by the MBA on their website. A bothie is generally very basic and has no power or water and you leave your groceries in the wild. Maybe there is a shovel to bury it.
Still, we will also occasionally use hotels to warm up and especially take advantage of a hot shower. We both know from experience that running guys are going to stink. Put two of them in a tent and you'll have a really strong odor. So in the month before departure, we are going to find some addresses in Scotland that we can set up as a base camp from which we can attack clusters of mountains. We'll have our expedition meals, sports nutrition and other supplies delivered there and can recharge before we hit it again.
Planning, preparation and financing
Meanwhile, preparations for this monster project are in full swing. I envision a living room full of maps mapping out routes and bothies. The gear laid out in the room and the unnecessary grams cut and trimmed everywhere. In between we are running trails and will need to get to work to be physically somewhat ready for our adventure.
Over the past month, many partners have joined team282peaks providing us with equipment pieces. Also, many media channels have been tapped where we will share our story.
The month of December is mainly dedicated to fundraising. We will be away from home for at least four months and to cover the costs we have created a number of playful actions. For example, as an individual or organization, you can adopt your own Munro(s) and will appear on our websites with a message. You will then receive a book and a personal video message from the top of your mountain.
It is also possible to give someone a mountain as a birthday or New Year's gift. That person will then receive a nice video message from the summit.
For larger organizations, it is possible to adopt a mountain and a duo presentation before, during and or after the adventure.
BYE! in Scotland
When Bart and Melvin hear about our mission they are immediately excited. We get better acquainted and during this meeting we share our mission and common passion for sports and exercise. Bart explains broadly why he started developing high-quality sports nutrition based on natural products. Both men are very passionate about what they are doing and that they not only want to deliver high-quality sports nutrition but also want to connect and engage in cool projects. So BYE! is also going with us to Scotland and is going to provide us with the necessary sports nutrition during the four months we will be there.
Are you following us?
We are incredibly looking forward to this great adventure. We will be blogging about our adventures almost daily and sharing images on social media. Will you be following us? We would love to.
To be continued...
Want to read more:
Jan Fokke: www.expeditionlife.nl