Published 31st October 2013, 01:50

    IT started on the island of Mull on May 2nd and ended 100 days later in the far north of Scotland.

    Kevin Woods, a 21-year-old student from Glasgow, stood at the summit of Ben Hope to complete his mission of climbing all 282 Munros in one continuous round.

    In that time, Kevin had clocked up more than 2,000 kilometres, all under his own steam. No motorised transport, just walking and cycling every foot of the way.

    Kevin was doing his walk to raise funds for Diabetes UK, a cause close to his heart. His brother has Type 1 diabetes.

    Planning was crucial. He’d spent the previous year climbing many of the hills, scouting out routes and familiarising himself with the terrain and the task ahead.

    Even then, working out his route took a lot of time and patience, planning that Kevin says wore him out more than the actual journey. 

    He posted out food caches to pick up along the way. These would be vital - sometimes he would be off the grid for days. Then he would emerge, trademark smile on his face, having seen off another dozen or so mountains on his list.

    Bananas and energy bars kept him going during the day, travelling light was important. Most of the time he walked in shorts. He got through three pairs of trainers and a pair of boots. Big meals were taken at night whenever he could fit them in.

    Some of the days were massive, eight or nine huge mountains. Glen Shiel, Mullardoch, Affric, Monar, big rounds that are beyond the comprehension of ordinary walkers. But when you see Kevin Woods in action this doesn’t come as a surprise. 

    He doesn’t so much walk up a mountain as bounce, moving ever upwards springing from foot to foot at an astonishing speed. Going downhill, his speed and movement seem more suited to an athletics track.

    To find out that he studied cartoon animation at university only underlines the fact. He’s like the roadrunner. You’re heading up the mountain, then: Beep! Beep! What was that? Kevin Woods, heading off for the next Munro.

    But even the best plans have their problems. The prolonged winter conditions saw Kevin ploughing his way through deep snow at times long after it should have been gone.

    Along the way he lost a couple of days, and a little anxiety crept in near the end as he faced days of thunder and lightning. The solution was to climb early morning before the heat built up and the sky let rip.

    By the time he rolled up for his final climb, there was a good crowd of family and friends waiting to go the extra mile for him and accompany this likeable lad to the top. His mates had even managed to bring along some hot pizza as a reward to go with the Champagne at the summit.

    But there was no overwhelming sense of relief that it was over, just another big smile and another hill day to enjoy. 

    He looked fit and healthy, like he had been holidaying in the Med for years - 100 days of Scottish snow, wind, rain and sun, 50 shades of brown.

    *The current record for a round of Munros is held by fell runner Stephen Pyke who managed to do them in an incredible 39 days and 9 hours, shattering the previous best of 48 days, 12 hours.

    (First published Daily Record, August 15, 2013)