Record-breaking climber closes in on tenth circuit

Munro record-breaker Hazel Strachan has just one more mountain to climb before completing her tenth circuit of Scotland's highest peaks.

Munro record-breaker Hazel Strachan has just one more mountain to bag before completing an incredible 10th circuit of Scotland's highest peaks. Picture: Cascade News

The 50-year-old government scientist says she has no plans to hang up her boots and is set to embark on her 11th round of all 282 mountains over 3,000ft high.

Weather permitting, she will bag her 2,826th Munro when she reaches the top of Carn an Tuirc near Braemar on Saturday. That will break her own record for the most Munro rounds completed by a woman.

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Mrs Strachan has held the record since 2015 when she became the first woman to complete seven rounds of Scotland’s highest peaks, breaking a 20-year six-rounds record held by the late Geraldine Guestsmith.

She went on to finish round eight in 2016 and round nine on 30 September 2017.

She said: “There will be an 11th round of Munros. There are still lots of routes which I would like to climb in different weathers and seasons.

“I’m glad I didn’t stop at just one round, I’ve had the time of my life.”

She fits her hobby around a full-time job and climbed 14 Munros in a single day in June last year.

But she insists it is not just about the number of hills she has climbed.

“It’s all about the experience in the mountains for me, not the numbers.

“I’m always concentrating on the best of the mountains and camping or bivvying.

“I would hate for it just to be about ticking the box to get another one done. There’s a lot more to it than that.

“You’ve got to have a fire in your heart to do it. It involves some really long days.”

Her weeks revolve around checking the weather forecast as she only plans her trips at the last minute. But the key to her success is the dedicated support of her husband Ian, 67, and their trusty motorhome.

The couple, from Bathgate, West Lothian, bought their first motorhome after Mr Strachan retired from his job as a civil servant.

They have climbed around 30 Munros together, although Mrs Strachan is usually a solo walker and while she is out in the hills her husband spends his time reading or driving to a pick-up point.

Mrs Strachan bagged her first Munro when she climbed Ben Vorlich on Loch Earn with the hillwalking club at Currie High School in Edinburgh in the early 1980s.