History (1)

The mountains around Glen Nevis are ideal for those dreaming of big days in the Scottish Mountains.

My Granddaughters Jessica, Islay, Rowan, Freya and Charlotte. All in the U K Junior or Pre School National Squad. Hopefully in due course they will follow in Grand dad’s footsteps.
My granddaughters Islay, Jessica, Rowan and Charlotte
In June 1964 Philip Tranter son of the author Nigel Tranter was the first to cover all of these mountains in a single trip, taking in the Mamores 11 munros, Grey Corries 4 munros, the Aonachs 2 munros, Carn Mor Dearg 1 munro culminating on Ben Nevis 1 munro.Tranters Round involves a journey of 36 miles with 20,600 feet of ascent; it has been successfully completed many times in recent years. No details are retained of successful round completion. Mark McDermott: established a course record of 12 hours 50 minutes in June 1990. Nicky Spinks: from Dark Peak Fell Runners reduced the ladies record to 15 hours 10 minutes in July 2011
Philip Tranter on the top of Ben Mor Assynt on completion of his second round of the Munros
Philip Tranter on the top of Ben Mor Assynt on completion of
his second round of the Munros (supplied by Blyth Wright)
Many have followed Tranters footsteps

Historical Meeting: Charlie Ramsay and Blyth Wright

Blyth Wright and Philip Tranter collectively planned and put together what is now known as Tranters Round.

Blyth also accompanied Philip for most of the journey before returning to their rendezvous point in Glen Nevis.

Charlie and Blyth going through one of Philips hand written diaries, highlighting excellent and detailed accounts of their many mountaineering ventures together.
Charlie and Blyth going through one of Philips hand written
diaries, highlighting excellent and detailed accounts of their
many mountaineering ventures together.

After over 30 years of sporadic phone calls, letters and e-mail communication Charlie finally caught up with Blyth at his home in Aviemore in November 2008, where they shared an interesting, informative and enjoyable afternoon reflecting on big days in the Scottish mountains.

Sadly after a long illness Blyth passed away on Sunday 24th May 2009. He will be remembered for his invaluable knowledge and expertise in avalanche forecasting and relentless work towards safety in the Scottish mountains.

Checking the route before starting

Many including myself have followed Tranter’s footsteps and successfully completed his circuit within the 24 hour time scale. Whilst on the round one day I wondered if one could extend the round by including the 5 munros that surround Loch Treig: Beinn na Lap, Chino Dearg, Stob Coire Sgriodain, Stob a Choire Mheadhoin, and Stob Coire Easain, making it into a journey that would involve 24 munros within 24 hours, a distance of 56 miles with 28,000 feet of ascent.

With the assistance of many friends from Lochaber and Edinburgh I put together a package of training and planning in order to attempt the round, adopting the fell running style of the Lakeland runners. Would this be possible in the Scottish mountains?

Bob Graham Round

Charlie and family following his completion of the B G round
Charlie and family following his completion of the B G round
Picture supplied by Stan Bradshaw
Devils Ridge looking towards Sgurr a’Mhaim from Sgor anLubhair

Details of preparation and planning can be seen on a separate page under these headings.

I also decided to raise money for Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team (£500.00).

With all of the training complete and support in place, I was ready to go at 12 noon on Friday 8th July 1978, I left Glen Nevis Youth Hostel and proceeded anticlockwise heading onto the Mamores.

I returned to the Youth Hostel having completed the circuit at 11 58 on Saturday 9th July with only 2 minutes to spare.

Ramsays Round was a reality.

Chris Brasher
Chris Brasher

The round acquired a comparatively low profile for over 10 years…

Until 1986 when Chris Brasher called into my office during a business trip to Edinburgh, seeking more detail and information about Ramsay’s Round.

I assisted in supporting Chris, Paddy Buckley and George Rhodes during their Bob Graham attempt in 1977.

Chris Brasher’s name is synonymous with such achievements as:

  • 1954 Assisted by Chris Chataway they facilitated the 1st sub 4 minute mile achieved by Roger Bannister
  • 1956 Olympic Gold Medal for the Steeplechase in Melbourne
  • Instrumental in raising public awareness in competitive orienteering both nationally and internationally
  • 1981 Original organiser of the now infamous annual London Marathon

Following that meeting Chris returned south where using his many networking skills within fell running circles, he increased awareness, interest and enthusiasm about the round resulting in a steady flow of successful attempts each year from both north and south of the border.

To date, there have been 74 successful contenders for Ramsay’s Round, including 3 ladies who have completed the round. 61 have gone clockwise starting with Ben Nevis and 13 have gone anticlockwise finishing with the Ben. The fastest time recorded is that of Adrian Belton from Baslow in Derbyshire. He recorded a time of 18 hours 23 mins.
The fastest lady is Helene Diamantides from Harrogate in a time of 20 hours 24 mins.
Picture supplied by Steve Harling
Helene Diamantides, fastest lady finisher
In 1987 by travelling eastwards Martin Stone from Exeter added a further 2 munros to the round.
Martin Stone (2nd left)Martin Stone (2nd left)
In 1991 Adrian Belton extended the round even further to 28 munros. His target was 30 but snow in June denied him that goal, such is the weather in the Scottish mountains.
Adrian Belton
Charlie on the summit of Ben Nevis, March 2009.
Charlie on the summit of Ben Nevis March 2009

Winter attempts

Whilst I only retain record details of those who have completed the round starting and finishing at Glen Nevis Youth Hostel within 24 hours. It is noteworthy that the round has been completed in both directions in winter conditions (1st December / 28th (29th) February) as shown.

Mamores in Winter
1 2002 Glyn Jones: Anti clockwise 53 hours 34 minutes
2 2003 Garry Tompsett: Anti clockwise 33 hours 48 minutes
3 2006 John Fleetwood: Anti clockwise 47 hours 55 minutes
4 2008 Shane Ohly: Clockwise 29 hours 59 minutes
5 2012 Tom Phillips: Clockwise 26 hours 56 minutes
6 2013 Jon Gay: Clockwise 23 hours 18 minutes

In 2003 John completed the round within 24 hours: No 31, 23 hours 53 minutes
In 2011 Tom completed the round within 24 hours: No 62, 22 hours 53 minutes
In 2010 Jon completed the round within 24 hours: No 58, 23 hours 07 minutes

Six remarkable achievements in Lochaber winter conditions. Well done

Sub 24 hours Solo Winter Attempt

Jon Gay from Lochaber has successfully completed the round in winter within 24 hours.
In February 2013 travelling clockwise Jon got round in 23 hours 18 minutes.
Jon Gay

Ramsay’s Round 35 years on

To mark the 35th anniversary of Ramsay’s Round, Charlie is delivering a series of Presentations around the country, on the round from its conception to date.In March, whilst delivering the Lochaber talk, there was an opportunity to include and showcase the 1st winter sub 24 hour success by Lochaber man, Jon Gay.Following the conclusion of the talk both Charlie and Jon were presented with pictures from Lochaber A C for their respective achievements.Charlie for establishing Ramsay’s Round in 1978, and Jon for being 1stto successfully complete the round within 24 hours in winter.Charlie and Jon were also awarded Honorary Life Membership of Lochaber A C
Charlie and Jon with Charlie’s picture
Charlie and Jon with Charlie’s pictureCharlie and Jon with Jon’s picture
Charlie and Jon with Jon’s pictureHonorary Life Membership to Lochaber A C
Honorary Life Membership to Lochaber A C

International interest

Rhonda ClaridgeIn the summer of 2010 Rhonda Claridge, an ultra-runner from Colorado in the U.S.A., spotted the round on an international ultra-runner’s website. With plans for a family holiday to the U.K., Rhonda contacted me about the possibility of her having an attempt in August as she would be in Lochaber for about 4 days.

Rhonda made contact with Mark Hartell, president of the Bob Graham club, who has successfully completed Ramsay’s Round (No 16). He has also competed in the 100-mile Hardrock footrace in 2007, where he met Rhonda whilst she was pacing a friend. Mark was able to provide some background of the round and thus a challenge for Rhonda to have a go.

On arrival in Edinburgh Rhonda visited us and together we drew up a provisional plan. This was supported by excellent assistance from Lochaber Athletic Club, in particular John Hepburn, Peter Duggan, Jon Gay and Neil Arnott.

Under time constraints, Rhonda set off at 0900 on the 12th of August on an anti-clockwise journey. All plans and schedules were unfolding well until the night section, when the weather deteriorated, and Rhonda began to slip back a bit. Encouraged by Jon in the later stages she completed the round in 25 hours and 24 minutes, a remarkable achievement given her travel, limited preparation, time scale, and Lochaber’s unpredictable weather.
One hopes that this tremendous effort will inspire others from the international scene to visit Scotland, Lochaber and perhaps have a go at Ramsay’s Round.

Well done.

Haste ye back Rhonda.

A round attempt for Canadian Television

HLP+Partners is a film and television company, based in Toronto, Canada, currently working on an exciting TV series on ultra-racing entitled “Boundless”. This August they will be travelling to Scotland for the purpose of producing an hour-long documentary episode of the Ramsay’s Round.Simon Donato
Paul "Turbo" Trebilcock

The show currently airs across Canada on Travel + Escape Network, and is launching across the USA this summer on Esquire, for a total of 65 million homes.

They successfully produced ten episodes of Boundless in 2012, covering such epic races as “The Sahara Race” in Egypt, “Fire and Ice Ultra” in Iceland, “Molokai 2 Oahu SUP Race” in Hawaii, and “The Amazing Maasai Ultra” in Kenya, the “Ancient Khmer Path” in Cambodia and the “Ironman 70.3″ in Thailand, and others. What they look for are races that are incredibly challenging, unique and surrounded with local culture. Their two competitors, Simon Donato and Paul “Turbo” Trebilcock, are extremely well-trained and have been competing, and performing well, in ultra-racing (running, biking, paddling) for many years. Included in their team will be a producer, a director and two cameramen.

While recently they’ve competed in a lot of large-scale, annually scheduled races, what excited them about the Ramsay’s Round is its ability to take on a whole new challenge in unforgettable landscapes and culture within Lochaber in Scotland. It will be a very unique venture for their show as they haven’t seen anything like it on TV before. Combined with local culture and joined by other willing participants from Lochaber and hill running within Scotland, it should make for an unforgettable episode.

The proposed dates for their challenge are the week commencing Aug 26, 2013 with the attempt being made either Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday.

The Boundless Challenge

Simon and Paul at the Youth HostelAt 12 noon on Saturday 31st August, following an extensive period of on location preparation and planning, both Simon and Paul set off on the Ramsays Round Challenge from the Youth Hostel in Glen Nevis.

For results and full coverage, please watch out for the Boundless series to be shown early 2014 on Travel + Escape (Canada) and Esquire Network (USA).

Ultra–Distance Challenges

Ramsay’s Round is recognised by Ultra–Distance Challenges as one of the UK’s big 3 mountain challenges, which include:

The Bob Graham Round, England
1 The Bob Graham Round: England

The Charlie Ramsay Round, Scotland
2 The Charlie Ramsay Round: Scotland

The Paddy Buckley Round, Wales
3 The Paddy Buckley Round: Wales

Round Detail Bob Graham Charlie Ramsay Paddy Buckley
Distance 60 miles 56 miles 61 miles
Summits 42 24 47
Ascent (Feet) 27,000 28,000 28,000
First Completed 1932 1978 1982
Completions 1,848 within 24 hours 74 within 24 hours 96 within 24 hours
Fastest Time Billy Bland:
13 53: 1982
Adrian Belton:
18 23: 1989
Tim Higginbottom
17 42: 2009
Fastest Lady Anne Johnson:
18 49: 1991
Helene Diamantides:
20 24: 1989
Nicky Spinks:
19 02: 2013

The Big Three

1 The Big Three in one go
Mike Hartley (No 10) completed all three rounds consecutively in 3 days 14 hours and 20 minutes in July 1990, covering a distance of 187 miles with 83,000 feet of ascent to include 113 tops.

2 The Big Three in one season
This challenge has been successfully completed by
No 4 Helen Diamantides
No 6 Adrian Belton
No 52 Jon Chapman
No 62 Tom Phillips

Keri Page3 Completions of the Big Three
To date a total of 33 finishers of Ramsay’s Round have completed the Big Three

4 Completion of the Big Three (walking) within 10 days
In May 2011, Keri Wallace (Nee Page) from Lochaber A C Walked all three rounds (omitting the last 2 summits on Ramsay’s Round Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis. Due to absolute foul weather, and in the interest of her own safety she abandoned the challenge after Aonach Mor). She still however raised in excess of £2000 for local charities.

To find out more visit www.ukbig3challenge.blogspot.com

The Big Three

How did Keri get on?

“Finally the UK Big 3 Challenge is over and sadly I didn’t quite manage to complete it, as I did not reach the final two summits of Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis due to blizzards and 60mph winds on the mountain Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. I completed the PBR and BGR but fell just short on Ramsay’s Round by bailing off Aonach Mor in the snow.”

“Overall I have walked and jogged 177 miles and climbed 111 mountains, totalling an overall height of 24,366m (79,943ft). The weather has been awful throughout. By not reaching the final two summits, I have fallen short of completing my challenge by a mere 10 miles and 932m. To see photos and hear more about my final days and my story of ‘nearly but not quite’ in Scotland, please see my blog

“You can also see splits by clicking the RESULTS tab at the top or clicking here

“At least I have succeeded in raising over £1900 for WaterAid and the john Muir Trust.”

Continued…