33 episodes

Scottish hill runner and mountaineer Finlay Wild has some questions for the mountain community...


Go Mountain Goats Finlay Wild

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    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Scottish hill runner and mountaineer Finlay Wild has some questions for the mountain community...


    Episode 33 - Dark Bob Graham with Finlay Wild interviewed by Rob Greenwood

    Episode 33 - Dark Bob Graham with Finlay Wild interviewed by Rob Greenwood

    Rob Greenwood, UKC Guru (probably not his actual job title!), interviews Finlay Wild about his recent “Dark Bob” - a Bob Graham Round run between sunset and sunrise, solo and unsupported in Jan 2024. Rob is no stranger to long rounds, having racked up an impressive CV including the UK “Big Three”, Rigby Round and Spine Challenger.

    Developing the idea of midwinter rounds, Finlay maximised the darkness and committed to attempting whatever the weather on the longest night (Winter Solstice 21-22nd December). This first attempt was aborted at Scafell Pike in very poor conditions - strong winds, heavy rain and visibility reduced to 5m on the higher peaks.

    Trying again on 6th January, Finlay had a narrower sunset-sunrise window (16h30 rather than 16h45 at the Solstice) but took advantage of better weather to try again. Setting out once more from Moot Hall at official sunset - this time 4.03pm - he had a very different experience and managed to get ahead of Kim Collison’s overall Winter BGR record of 15h47, taking 12minutes off this to give a new winter record of 15h35m47s.

    Conditions were good: -2’c on the high tops, clear skies and light wind. Parts of the ground were frozen and there was icy hoar frost around the high peaks, but not much snow or neve build up. We discuss differing winter conditions, especially with the effects of climate change, and the idea that maximising the darkness - and using map and compass navigation - made for its own unique adventures.

    We mention different definitions of Winter - Astronomical Winter is the name for the period between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.

    See video of Blizzard bag vs race kit by Trail Running Scotland here: ⁠youtu.be/MIFNZdSjSDo?si=Ls_qK90N9WJ3CXuR⁠

    More details on the Dark BG: https://strava.app.link/WuFBskn6fHb

    Re ski rounds in Cairngorms with GPS - I mean a dedicated GPS unit, not a watch

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Episode 32 - Winter Trilogy and The Cuillin with James Gibson

    Episode 32 - Winter Trilogy and The Cuillin with James Gibson

    Cumbria-based James Gibson has had an incredible past few years picking off a host of big ticket endurance running records. In a 10 week period from December 2022 he became the first person to complete all three UK Big Rounds in one winter season, solo and unsupported (Bob Graham Round, Paddy Buckley Round and Charlie Ramsay Round). Completing this 'Winter Trilogy' took 6 attempts and James talks about the experience he gained from the 'failed' rounds early in the winter.

    While most people would be content to sit on the couch for a bit after that, he was back with the second fastest ever run of the 100mile Lakes, Meres and Waters round just 5 weeks later in April 2023. The same month he broke the record for the Etive Round with friend Jack Oliver, taking the record for the rough 16 Munro circuit down to 19h 26m.

    James works as a guide on Skye for much of the year, and his familiarity with the Cuillin lead him to completing two outstanding runs - first, the Trans Cuillin Round which was first attempted by Rob Woodall in 2001. This takes in 75km and 9000m of ascent over 70 summits - James became the first completer in May 2023. A mere 16 days later he took advantage of a weather window to bosh out the 4th ever Cuillin Round, a 60 peak loop for which he improved the record to 19hrs39mins in very hot conditions.

    Just days after our conversation James won the FRA Long Distance Award in a stacked field of worthy nominees.

    James can be found at www.jamesgibsoncoaching.co.uk

    Note: when discussing Winter Munro Rounds we forgot to mention Steve Perry's 2005-06 121 day continuous round (www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/features/interview_steve_perrys_winter_munro_round-4400)

    • 1 hr
    Episode 31 - Solo on Lakes Classic Rock Round with Shane Ohly

    Episode 31 - Solo on Lakes Classic Rock Round with Shane Ohly

    Shane Ohly tells me about his incredible record on the Lake District Classic Rock Round, a 50 kilometre route linking 15 classic climbs from the 1978 book 'Classic Rock' by Ken Wilson.

    In 2020, Will Birkett and Tom Randall battled as they each brought the record down. Shane watched from the sidelines nursing an injury but knowing that he possessed the unique skill set to bring this down even further.

    Shane left school obsessed with climbing and went on to become a sponsored pro, establishing new routes up to E8 and onsight solos to E7. Living in Cornwall he often ended up climbing alone, and so became a prolific soloist, culminating in his '500 routes in a day' on the Grit with John Arran in 2003. Later, he moved into mountain marathons and endurance running, clocking consistent podium results in Elite length mountain marathons for over a decade. He held the Winter Ramsay's Round record between 2008 and 2012 and broke Martin Stone's record for a solo unsupported midwinter Bob Graham round in 2020.

    Shane talks about his 3 year meticulous planning process for Classic Rock, which saw him spend over 30 days learning and memorising the rock climbs and running route. Using this approach he was able to keep the risk acceptable for him, and he talks through his logic and justifications.

    Executing the round in ideal conditions in August 2022 he describes a near perfect day of flow state which saw him reduce Will Birkett's record of 10h 41m to an incredible 9h 22m.

    Shane is the founder of Ourea Events who provide some of the most challenging mountain running events in the UK such as the Dragon's Back, Cape Wrath Ultra and Glencoe Skyline.

    Please see Episode 14 for an interview with Josh Jardine (which is weirdly the exact same length as this episode) on the pairs record for the Lakes Classic Rock Round, and Episode 10 for Martin Stone's 1987 solo unsupported mid winter Bob Graham Round.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Episode 30 - Ring of Stirling with Natalie Hawkrigg

    Episode 30 - Ring of Stirling with Natalie Hawkrigg

    I talk to Natalie Hawkrigg about a number of Swim - Run challenges she has completed. Based in the North Lakes, Natalie is the female record holder for the Frog Graham Round, a 40 mile run with four lake swims around the Lake District. She was also the first female to complete the Frog Graham in winter, and went on to do the Welsh Puddle Buckley challenge as well.

    In May 2023, Natalie became the second ever finisher of The Ring of Stirling, a 35 mile round starting and finishing in Shieldaig, Torridon, which includes 5 swims (one of which is tidal), 10 summits and traverses some remote and beautiful corners of Torridon. The round was conceived by Chris Waters as a tribute to his late friend Chris Stirling who loved the hills of Torridon and has won the Celtman triathlon previously.

    For her Stirling Round, Natalie had one failed attempt which finished at the frigid waters of Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair (Beinn Eighe) but then returned the very next weekend to complete her round in 26 hours and 28 minutes. She talks through the process and gives her insights into this fascinating merger of hill running and open water swimming.

    In the introduction I mention the "It's Up to Us" campaign, a joint venture from Mountaineering Scotland and the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland which launched earlier this year and aims to raise awareness of the need for investment in the repair and maintenance of Scottish upland paths. Go to ⁠www.savemountainpaths.scot⁠ for more info and to donate.

    For details of the Ring of Stirling go to: ⁠https://ringofstirling.wordpress.com/⁠

    And the Frog Graham info is at: ⁠https://www.froggrahamround.co.uk/

    FrogMan (Full Bob Graham run plus swims): https://thefrogmanround.square.site/

    Futher info/ corrections:

    1. Lancaster bomber crash on Beinn Eighe 1951 - further info here: https://heavywhalley.wordpress.com/2021/03/13/38412/ (my grandfather John Hinde was not involved in this RAF mountain rescue search, I got the stories muddled)

    2. Biodiversity precautions on the Frog Graham Round: In recent years, the threat posed by Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) has increased hugely and sadly, Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater have been compromised for some time, completely upsetting the lakes’ delicate ecology and causing significant problems for lake users.  Crummock Water has also succumbed and is now infected with NZ pygmyweed. Only Buttermere remains untouched and the park authorities and WCRT are making strenuous efforts to ensure it remains that way. The Frog Graham Round Club is committed to supporting their initiatives. Please read the details on the biosecurity section of the Frog Graham website before attempting the round. https://www.froggrahamround.co.uk/biosecurity

    3. Natalie realised she got a fact wrong at the end of the chat: "I said that Chris Waters had not completed the Ring Of Stirling - that is not true. He has completed it in time of 22hrs 42, it was the Puddle Buckley he has not completed - he devised the Puddle and recced it but never did the final version." 

    4. Finlay says Ring of Steall when he means Ring of Stirling, near the end

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Episode 29 - Scottish Islands Peaks Race with Joe Symonds

    Episode 29 - Scottish Islands Peaks Race with Joe Symonds

    I recorded this episode with Joe Symonds while racing on the boat Opportune in the 2023 Scottish Islands Peaks Race. Joe is a veteran of this race, having competed 12 times, and previously setting the records for the running legs on Mull and Arran. Joe is a Paediatric Neurologist living near Glasgow and has ranked highly in diverse running styles - from a 2:20 marathon to 4th in the World Mountain Running Champs; from British Champ to Yorkshire 3 peaks winner (twice).

    The Scottish Islands Peaks Race started in 1983 and involves teams of 5 (2 runners and 3 sailors) sailing over 160 nautical miles between Oban, Mull, Jura, Arran and Troon. The runners race a combined total of 60 miles across 3 big runs, one on each island. There is also an allrounders category where all 5 are involved in portions of the sailing and running elements.

    The event starts at noon on Friday and frequently takes 48hrs to complete. Wind, tide and sea conditions play a massive part as well as boat specifications and sailing tactics. The runners have 3 x 3+ hr rough hill runs to complete, frequently in suboptimal weather and often in the dark. Resting and refueling is obviously more difficult while aboard a racing yacht.

    This year the wind was very light, which made the sailing slow and difficult for the sailors who often resorted to rowing methods to make progress. On the plus side, the runners generally experienced gentler seas and more rest than in a typical year, and we also watched a minke whale showing off while anchored against a strong tide which our boat couldn't row against.

    We recorded the episode while sailing on Opportune with our sailors Gordon, Iain and Alan who looked after us amazingly on their lovely boat.

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Episode 28 - Elite OMM Winners with Victoria Thompson and Janie Oates

    Episode 28 - Elite OMM Winners with Victoria Thompson and Janie Oates

    In October 2022 Victoria Thompson and Janie Oates came First in the Female category of the Elite OMM, and were the only female team to finish in this category since 2016. The OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) is a 2 day test of navigation and mountain craft held in late October each year, typically in harsh weather conditions. It was first held in 1968 and occurs in a different geographic area each year, with competitors having to carry all food and equipment such as tent and stove, navigating through a series of checkpoints to a midway camp, then doing it all again on Day 2 after a suboptimal sleep. There are various distance courses (Elite, A, B), as well as Score courses (3 distances - these courses are about choosing checkpoints to collect in a given time).

    We talk about what made them want to take on this challenge, the preparation and the wet event weekend itself, as well as getting into some of the potential barriers to women in this type of event, and hill running in general.

    This chat was inspired by an interview of Janie and Victoria at Kendal Mountain Festival 2022 by Becky Vale.

    • 1 hr 11 min

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