Roly Peto ‘bags the munros’ and over £8,000 for Marie Curie

Roly atop of the Ben Lomond munro
Roly atop of the Ben Lomond munro

Scotland’s 282 munros (mountains over 3,000ft) have long attracted the adventurous to attempt to summit the lot – a feat known as ‘bagging the munros’. On Sunday, Roly Peto finished bagging them all in just 54 days, raising almost £8,000 for Marie Curie.

Roly hadn’t planned to do a charity fundraiser or to take on a huge physical challenge. In fact, it came about as the result of a wager made amongst friends at an annual reunion. Having recently read about Stephen Pyke’s record for bagging the munros in 39 days, Roly speculated that he could manage them in a more reasonable 60 days. Being a person more focused on running his small businesses than running marathons, several of his friends doubted this could be done, and by the end of the evening the wager was set. Roly was to climb all 282 munros in under 60 days, with a support crew of one – his friend Geordie Hilleary.

Roly was initially reluctant to do his challenge in aid of a charity, as he wasn’t sure he would complete it. He wasn’t an experienced hill climber and was preparing to scale the munros fuelled by sandwiches and chocolate rather than protein shakes and energy bars. However, once he’d scaled 100 munros, he felt confident enough to set up a JustGiving page and emailed friends and family. Generous donations soon came flooding in.

Roly chose to support Marie Curie because both he and Geordie have lost their mothers to terminal illness, and both were cared for by Marie Curie Nurses. Reflecting on that time, Roly said that when nurses come to your house to help care for a loved one, you don’t realise it at the time, but their kindness and attentiveness makes the inevitable loss of a parent that little bit more bearable.


How to climb 282 mountains in 60 days

In the end, it took 54 days for Roly to climb all 282 munros. It required 6am starts, covering an average 20km on foot each day. Roly went through two pairs of walking boots, but amazingly managed to avoid any blisters. He ate constantly, amazing himself by packing away huge nutella and banana sandwiches followed by a round of bacon first thing in the morning. However, despite consuming about 5500 calories a day, he still managed to lose 1.5 stone.

Occasionally Roly would be able to stay at a friend’s house after a long day’s climb, but usually he and Geordie would stay in hostels, bothies - sparsely equipped hunting lodges that travellers are free to stay in, or just pitch their tent up and wild camp.

During the two months, Roly had just two days of rest. Sometimes, the biggest challenge was just carrying on. After completing a chain of munros and descending 3000ft, the thought of driving for an hour or so and then facing another ascent was enough to make Roly want to quit for the day. But Roly knew that to do so would mean that the challenge would fail, so he pushed himself on. Geordie’s supporting role was invaluable for Roly’s morale too, as he rustled up meals, accompanied Roly up several munros, ferried him between mountains, and remained in good spirits even when Roly was tired and somewhat moody after an arduous day.

His longest day could impress some of the most seasoned munro-enthusiasts. Starting in Kinlochewe, Roly took in six munros, including the outlier Siloch, and finished in Dundonell. It took 14 hours, and involved hiking around 54 km.

What now?

Roly completed his challenge on Sunday 20 July, after 54 days, 5 hours and 12 minutes. On Monday he was back at work, catching up on his trio of small businesses –  Key Structures, Fulling Mill, and Galloway Woodlands – and not feeling too much worse for wear after two months of intense exercise.

Roly’s still collecting in sponsorship money. You can see his fundraising progress and read the heart-warming messages of support on his JustGiving page.

Roly’s route is shown on this GPS map, and you can share the highs and lows of his adventures on his YouTube channel and Twitter feed.