A SCOTTISH couple are celebrating after completing a 20-year mission to climb all Scotland’s 726 classified mountains – Munros, Corbetts and Grahams.
Sheila and Bill Simpson, aged 65 and 69 respectively, reached the milestone after finishing the list of all 223 Grahams.
Over 12 years, the pair climbed all the peaks, completing the 282 Munros by 2005 and the 221 Corbetts four years ago.
Their chosen final summit was Meall a’Mhuic in Glen Lyon, Perthshire. The Simpsons were accompanied by members of the Friockheim and District Walkers’ Club on their climb.
Mr Simpson said: “We started hill walking about 20 years ago.
“We saw people coming back from the hills – and the idea blossomed from that.
“The Munros we completed in three years, Corbetts in five, Grahams in four.
“We finished the Munros and we thought we wouldn’t be doing much in the next X amount of years. We got to the end of the Corbetts, then needed to do something next, so we did the Grahams.
“It was like a drug really, to keep going and finish climbing them all.”
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Mr Simpson said: “My wife is scared of cows. We had to detour or turn back to get away from them a lot because she really was terrified.
“I don’t know why she is scared of cows, because she was brought up in the country.
“I don’t know what we’ll do next, I do a lot of road cycling – we are both outdoorsy. I’m a member of a cycle club in Forfar, and I like to do a lot of cycling. We keep ourselves busy.”
Colin Sinclair, president of Forfar’s hill walking club, said the achievement of the couple, who are from Arbroath, Angus, was really impressive as they had climbed more than 700 hills and mountains. He said their pursuit of the Grahams had been interrupted due to Mr Simpson having heart surgery, but he recovered within a few months and they carried on with their quest.
Mr Sinclair said: “Their walks involved many detours due to Sheila’s fear of cows.
“This remarkable feat was made doubly so by the fact that all the Munros, Corbetts and Grahams were climbed by Sheila and Bill together, sometimes as a couple and sometimes with other groups.”
The Simpsons are active members of two walking clubs. They are both now retired and also enjoy cycling and Scottish country dancing.
They also spend time with their four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In May this year, the couple completed the TGO Challenge, a walk from the west coast at Oban to the east coast at St Cyrus.
Munros are mountains which are more than 3,000ft high. There are 282 in Scotland, and it is thought about 4,000 people have climbed all of them.
Corbetts are 2,500-3,000ft and there are 221 of them, while the 223 Grahams are 2,000-2,500ft.
The “lesser” climbs in Scotland are the 89 Donalds – hills in the Lowlands with a height of 2,000ft. Any hill in the UK and Ireland with a drop of 492ft on all sides is called a Marilyn – there are 1,218 of these in Scotland.