Hazel Strachan bags ninth Munro round
Extraordinary Munro bagger Hazel Strachan compleated her ninth Munro round on Ben Challum, near Tyndrum, yesterday. Surrounded by friends and colleagues and walking through a morning of very mixed weather, she reached the summit of the 1025m mountain and said: “It feels fantastic.”
She is the first woman to walk nine Munro rounds.
Hazel’s Munro bagging
The Scottish Government agricultural scientist completed her first round of Munros in 2005. Her second round was finished in 2008, then 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
In 2015, on compleating her seventh Munro round, Hazel, of Bathgate, West Lothian, walked into the record books to become the first lady to finish seven rounds. She broke a 20-year six-rounds record held by the late Geraldine Guestsmith.
She has continued her one round a year in 2016 and now on September 30, 2017, she has finished her ninth round.
Hazel walks most of her Munros on her own – in her ninth round she was accompanied on just four Munros – and she owes a lot to her husband Ian who provides support along the way in their motorhome.
During this latest round, Hazel also completed a charity challenge to walk 100 Munros in June for Scottish Mountain Rescue. In doing so, she “banked” 125 Munros for her 10th round.
I joined her yesterday for the Ben Challum hike.
She told me: “The weather forced me to walk some Munros twice this year because I wanted to compete the 100 Munros in a month for Mountain Rescue. June was a difficult month for weather and so I had to do Munros where I could.
“I decided, unlike previous years, that I would bank these 125 extra Munros for the 10th round.”
Until now, Hazel has been something of a purist with her Munro rounds. She has usually started from Munro one at the start of each year of bagging and walked the full 282 Munros to compleat.
She said: “Yes, I think I have now proven that it’s possible to do multiple rounds and start from zero each time. Now, for my 10th round, I have decided I will start with the 125 already walked.”
And why not? In just 12 months, Hazel has walked an impressive total of 407 Munros, thus proving herself to be an extraordinary walker.
Hazel’s ninth round
After toasting the final Munro yesterday with a glass of Champagne, Hazel said: “I have enjoyed many memorable walks during this round. In particular, the winter was amazing. I enjoyed a hike of the Fisherfield Munros in winter and I had some great times bivvying at 3,000ft.
“I have done many long walks with high-level bivvies. There summer weather has not been good but I have still enjoyed the ninth round. It feels fantastic to have finished and I am looking forward to finishing my 10th round.”
It seems unlikely that Hazel will stop bagging a round each year in the near future.
Steve Fallon holds the overall record for walking Munro rounds and has completed an amazing 15 Munro rounds.
Follow Hazel on Twitter.