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Scottish running club bags all 222 Corbetts in a day

Written by Fiona

June 01 2022

Carnethy Hill Running Club is believed to be the first group to bag all the Corbetts in a day. Some 200 runners took 18 hours and 15 minutes to reach all 222 mountains in Scotland with a summit of between 2500ft (762m) and 3000ft (914.4m).

Last year, they bagged the summits of all 282 Munros in a day.

While there are fewer Corbetts, the feat was described as a tougher feat.

Club president Mark Hartree says: “Doing all the Corbetts in one day was a much greater challenge than the Munros. It was a big task logistically and the Corbetts are spread further geographically across Scotland, so we needed more people to take part in the day.

“Also there are fewer opportunities to string multiple summits together. For example, with the Munros, we had one or two people who did a string of some 12 summits in one day, but for the Corbetts the most was five or six summits in one outing. Added to this, there are not so many well trodden paths or routes on the Corbetts.

“I am extremely chuffed that we were successful.”

Club president Mark Hartree, right, and Neil Burnett.

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What are the Corbetts?

The Corbetts are all the Scottish hills with a height of between 2500ft (762m) and 3000ft (914.4m) and a drop (prominence) all around of 500ft (152.4m). The mountains are named after the original list compiler, J Rooke Corbett. There are 222 Corbetts.

They are spread geographically from two on the Isle of Rum in the west, to Mount Battock in Angus in the east, and south to Merrick in the south-west in Dumfries & Galloway and north to Beinn Spionnaidh in Sutherland.

Steven Fallon summitted the final Corbett. of the day.

All the Corbetts in a day

The Carnethy Hill Running Club challenge started early on Saturday May 28, 2022. Runner Ross Christie reached the summit of Meall t-Seallaidh (Tyndrum) at 1.28am. He bagged his second Corbett Creag Mac Ranaich at 2.47am.

The final Corbett Creag Mhòr was summitted by Steven Fallon at 7.43pm. This meant the total duration of the Corbetts in a day feat was 18 hours and 15 minutes.

Like the Munros in a day triumph, there was a bit of drama with the last Corbett.

Steven Fallon on Sgorr an Diollaid, Glen Cannich

Steven, who has completed 16 Munros rounds and is part-way through his second round of Corbetts rounds, picks up the story. He says: “Let’s say Lucy Colquhoun and I had a bit of a miscommunication the evening before the Corbetts day. She had been asking me about the route to Creag Mhòr and I told her about a GPX to follow. 

“She did so and completed what she thought was ‘her’ Corbett but she was actually following a route that took her to Bynack More, which is close to Creag Mhor.”

The navigational hiccup was only realised when Lucy was later describing her day to Steven.

Steven says: “I suddenly realised that Lucy’s description wasn’t quite right. We had a chat about her route and it turned out she wasn’t following the one I thought she was. It wasn’t her fault and I felt responsible for giving her confusing advice.”

While Steven had already completed two Corbetts, Sgòrr na Diollaid and Beinn a’ Bha’ach Ard earlier in the day, he quickly made the decision to bag Creag Mhòr so the club could finish the round.

He says: “It all turned out fine in the end and I did feel a bit guilty but it was a genuine case of miscommunication and at least I could sort it in time.”

Club members had a great day out in variable conditions.
Maggie Creber on Ben Wyvis.
There were plenty of tales of fun – and a lot of tough terrain.

Corbetts in a day: The logistics

Like the Munros, Nicki Innes and Ken Fordyce were vital logistical leads, although for the Corbetts, there were also regional leads who helped to organise different “missions” and to collate ticked off Corbetts as the information came through.

Nicki, who summitted two Corbetts early in the day, before turning her talents to collating other people’s results, says: “There was a lot of organising, mapping and leadership behind the scenes. It was a huge task that took about six months to organise. We also knew we would need plenty of people to reach all the Corbetts.

“We organised everyone into different missions – there were a bout 120 missions – and different regions, too.  In the end we had about 200 people, with a fairly even gender split.”

Busy throughout the day, the logistics teams kept tabs on the Corbetts being summited. Runners sent a photo and a note from their Corbett to prove they had made it. The weather across Scotland was very varied from wet and cloudy to warm and sunny.

Ken reports that some runners stepped in to pick up Corbetts at the last minute. he says: “For example, Neil Mclure wasn’t doing any Corbetts until a few days before the challenge when he stepped in to cover two due to someone else being injured. He then ended up doing a third to cvoer another summit.

“There were two other Corbetts that needed people to do an additional one after thinking their day was done. These were bagged by Antonia Georgieva and James Nicholson.”

Nicki reveals that the final two hours of the challenge were the most exciting for the logistics teams. She says: “It was exciting as we checked and double-checked that all the Corbetts had been bagged – and then waited for the final summits to be called in. It was great to see it all going to plan.”

The Corbett in a day baggers

The age range of the baggers extended from a baby of six months, carried by parent John Busby, to former club president Keith Burns, who is 80. 

Keith and his daughter Alison completed a 42km outing to reach Meallach Mhòr and

Càrn Dearg Mòr  from Glen Tromie. Keith described it as being on terrain with “desperate deep heather and tussock”.

Michelle Hetherington headed to Knoydart.
Young Cameron Busby with his parents.
Robin Sloan with friends. Their total age was 200 years!

Another longer route was undertaken by Mark Hartree and Neil Burnett who ran and hiked a distance of 35km with 3200m of ascent to reach six Corbetts in Glenfinnan, including Sgòrr Craobh a’ Chaorainn, Sgùrr Ghiubhsachain, Druim Tarsuinn, Càrn na Nathrach, Sgùrr Dhomhnuill and  Beinn na h-Uamha.

Mark says: “The Corbetts are well known for being a much tougher task than the Munros. There are far fewer paths and trods and the terrain is usually very rough.

“The Corbetts are also often single mountains and spread out and many are remote. Everyone got to experience during the challenge how rough and challenging the less trodden Corbetts are.

“The route that Neil and I did, for example, took 12.5 hours and we had to walk a lot of it rather than run. The terrain was vey challenging. In fact, I am pleased we decided to do the Corbetts in a day this early in the year because later in the summer the vegetation would be much thicker and taller and it would have made the task a great deal tougher on many Corbetts. There is no doubt these are challenging mountains.”

Michelle Hetherington headed to the wilderness area of Knoydart to tick off two remote Corbetts, Sgùrr Coire Choinnichean and Beinn na Caillich as part of a huge extended adventure covering more than 47km.

Lucas Lefevre also bagged a Corbett in the same area, Beinn Bhuidhe, on a run of some 27km.

The Corbett Ben Aden entailed a long outing of almost 27km along Loch Quoich, which was completed by Graham Nash.

For Claire Hopkins and Alan Renville a 42km outing took then to three Corbetts, Beinn a’ Chaisgein Mòr, Beinn Dearg Mor and Beinn Dearg Beag in the Fisherfield Forest.

Another big day of some 34km was undertaken by John Chambers to reach Leathad an Taobhain and Beinn Bhreac in the Cairngorms.

Marion Bourbouze, who organises the club’s weekly ladies’ Run, completed five Corbetts near Tyndrum with her husband Ken Robinson in a round lasting 9.5 hours. She noted: “The terrain was very steep and extremely boggy. It was a fantastic day though!”

Eleven Carnethy runners were also at the  Isle of Jura fell Race, where Finlay Wild set a new course record of 2:58:09. First female and first finisher for the club was Jasmin Paris in  04:10:35. Andy Fallas was first MV40 and fifth overall in 03:35:05, while Stewart Whitlie took first MV60 place in 04:14:28. The race route includes the island’s only Corbett, Beinn an Oir, where Stewart took the time to grab a selfie photo.

Another island epic saw Nicola Duncan and Alex Coakley complete the four Arran Corbetts of  Beinn Tarsuinn, Cìr Mhòr, Caisteal Abhail and Goat Fell over 37km. Nicola says: “What a great day we had in the hills. It was absolutely brilliant with amazing weather and spectacular views. I am really glad we chose to do the Corbetts here.”

While there were clearly some very experienced mountain runners taking part in the challenge, some club runners who took the opportunity to reach their first Corbett. For Rachel Normand, who is pregnant, The Cobbler (Ben Arthur) was her final mountain run before she prepares to give birth. She ran with a club member friend Clare McDonnell.

Mark says: “The aim of this challenge, just like the Munros round, was a club participation event. We wanted it to be inclusive and for everyone in the club to feel that they could take part. We did just this with such a wide age range and different experience and fitness levels. It was such a great day.”

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