Preparation

Preparation for a journey of this calibre cannot be taken lightly; any success is invariably a consequence of a lot of meticulous planning, training and sound preparation, supplemented by a number of carefully selected good pacers and an excellent support team.

Navigation

The recently released Harvey’s map entitled “Charlie Ramsay Round” (map scale 1:40,000. 2.5cm to 1km) is consistent with the maps they already produce for the Bob Graham and the Paddy Buckley rounds.

Charlie Ramsay Round MapThese maps have proved to be very popular and user friendly for navigators, pacers, contender and their support teams whilst preparing and participating on these rounds.

The main advantage is that one will only require 1 map which will cover the entire round, whereas with previous maps you had to rely on 2 maps for complete round cover.

Big 3 MapsIt is highly recommended that contenders, navigators, pacers and support teams are all familiar with the route in the first instance, and have sufficient navigational skills to ensure they are not hindered unnecessarily by low cloud, mist, darkness or poor visibility.

Start and finish point

Glen Nevis Youth HostelThe round officially starts and finishes immediately outside Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. Only contenders who successfully complete the round within 24 hours clockwise or anti clockwise, starting and finishing at the Youth Hostel are eligible for inclusion into the Fell Runners Association (FRA) record books and onto the Finishers page of this website.

Supported attempt

Bobby Shields Mel Edwards & Charlie Ramsay 1978
Bobby Shields Mel Edwards & Charlie Ramsay 1978

Opinion falls heavily in favour of the use of a support team and carefully selected pacers.
By using this option, you always have a safety net to be applied in the event of anything unforeseen happening whilst on the hill.
Secondly if your support is in the form of pacers, they will also witness your arrival on every summit, carry your sack, assist with navigation and route finding and most importantly keep you in good spirit throughout the 24 hours.

Unsupported attempt

Unsupported attemptThere is evidence that this round can be completed unsupported.
If this is the preferred option, you are reducing your safety margin by a very large degree.
Additionally, you must carry all of your food, drinks, foul weather clothing and other personal essential items for use on the hill.
It is not recommended as an option worthy of favourable consideration, as the sack will have to be pretty full and heavy before departure, to include all of the necessary fuel for 24 hours of energy output, required to facilitate moving on the hill continuously.

Food Drop

Food DropIt has also been suggested that you can arrange for a food drop. i.e. drop off a package or packages at strategic locations around the route in a safe secure location on the hill for collection en route, thus reducing the quantity of fuel to be carried at any given time, and generally spreading the load carrying process more evenly, whilst on the round.

This is a reasonable option although some purists would have difficulty in defining this option as being unsupported.

Night Section

Head torchYour chosen start and finish time may influence where the night section will be, that is the contender’s choice.
The carrying of a head torch is mandatory although ones eyes can adjust to travelling without the torch being used.
It is recommended that the selected night section is reccied during the hours of daylight to enhance familiarity of that section and to ease progression during the hours of darkness.

Round attempt: time of year

Ideally May, June or July are good options to take advantage of maximum hours of daylight for travel during the night section. Consideration should also be given to the full moon to facilitate enhanced visibility during the hours of darkness. The full moon can be a useful light source
There may be some remaining snow on the high tops even during May, which may restrict early attempts during that month. Snow on the Ben

Pacers

Good pacers are an essential part of the team; they must be carefully selected for their suitability and good knowledge of their designated section.
They must appreciate that their task is to travel on a scheduled pace carrying fuel and clothing for themselves and you.
They must be capable of adjusting the pace to suit your needs, at all times.
Chatty to ensure that your mind is invariably on a lighter wavelength, focused and positive throughout.
They must fully appreciate their roll i.e. they are part of a support team for you and your needs, and that they are not contenders.

Commitment to proceed

A support teamYou must be mindful that once you have committed to a departure time and date, with all your support team briefed as to their roles and responsibilities, it may prove difficult to change or slightly amend your arrangements in the event of bad weather, illness or whatever, more so if some of your support team have perhaps had to apply for leave from work and travel long distances in order to get to Lochaber.

Equipment to be worn or carried

Part of the preparation process is the planning and selection of what must be worn or carried throughout the journey. Gear and equipment

Footwear

Footwear is importantDespite the variations in terrain, running studs can be worn during the entire journey. In the interest of optimum comfort, the selection of good socks is also recommended; this could be further supplemented by a complete footwear change at the end of a section.

Clothing

Contenders, Hill support and Base support must be mindful that they may be operational during the day or during the night, at heights ranging from Sea level to in excess of 4,000 feet.

To that end, the following attire is recommended to be worn or carried: Base Layer, Mid Layer, Outer Layer, Hat, Gloves and full Waterproofs to include a Hood.

Foul weather clothing

Additional support options

Mountain Bike
The use of the mountain bike has recently proved popular with support teams getting into key rendezvous locations at agreed times to refuel, restock or pacer change over as required
Mountain bike

Train Services

The use of the train has also been used to facilitate support options.

For example a train from Fort William to Corrour followed by a few kilometres walk jog or cycle to the south side of Loch Treig,

ScotRail train
an excellent changeover point or refuelling stop, prior to the ascent or following the descent of Beinn na Lap, depending on direction choice (clockwise/anticlockwise) Loch Treig Path
The use of train will be determined by the contender’s start time from Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, their arrival time at the South end of Loch Treig and ScotRail train timetables.

See Useful Contacts page

Corrour Station
Corrour Station House has excellent eating facilities and accommodation.

However due to the remoteness of this location, pre-booking is highly recommended.

Retiring pacers and support team can either return to Glen Nevis youth Hostel via a long Westbound trek to Glen Nevis or by train, from Corrour to Fort William, train timetable permitting.

Corrour Station House
Signpost
The use of the Gondola at Aonach Mor
The gondola at Aonach Mor
This facility has also proved popular with a bit of a novelty thrown in.To gain access to or escape from the Aonachs for either supporting or route familiarity within the area
Nevis Range Gondola facilities are open every day from 10 00 until 17 00 with variations during July and August.

Access to Nevis Range from Fort William is via the A82 Northbound for approx 5 miles miles, turn right and continue for a further mile to the Nevis Range car park situated at 100 metres.

At the reception area you can purchase a single or return ticket for the Gondola taking you to the Ski and Mountain Centre at 650 metres.

Depending on the time of year (during the ski season) you can walk a short distance to the chair lift and continue to 900 metres, leaving a comparatively short walk/climb onto the summit of Aonach Mor 1220 metres and onto the main route.