Anna Wells Completes the Winter Munros

Today, Anna Wells became the first woman, and fourth-ever person, to complete all 282 Munros in winter. Over 83 days, from Dec. 22 to March 13, she climbed all the Scottish peaks over 3,000 feet.

Astronomical winter ends on March 20, so she finished with seven days to spare. For her very last Munro, Cairngorm Mountain, 16 friends joined her to celebrate her success.

Wells is not only the first woman to complete the winter Munros but also matched the pace of Martin Moran, who pioneered that feat during the winter of 1984-1985.

Day 65 (24/2/24) - Southern Cuillin

Day 65, Feb. 24 — Southern Cuillin. Photo: Anna Wells


Kept pushing

She had hoped she would match his time, but after falling ill a week ago, she thought it might be impossible.

“But after a lot of pushing I was back on track,” she wrote. Once during that last week, she was tempted to wait out a bad weather day.

“In the end, I couldn’t comprehend the idea of sitting around,” she said. So out she went.

Last night too, she ignored heavy winds and rain and went straight from Ben Starav to Beinn Dearg. She climbed overnight as her parents — who supported her that evening as drivers and food purveyors — waited.

Another friend joined with her midnight Munro. They were drenched within an hour and were so wet that by the time they got to their final river crossing, they just waded across, making no effort to keep dry. Then it was home for a warm shower and a few hours sleep before the final Munro.

Day 64 (23/2/24) - Aonach Eagach Munros.

Day 64, Feb. 23 — Aonach Eagach Munros. Photo: Anna Wells


Horrendous weather

One of the biggest challenges for Wells has indeed been the “horrendous” weather.

“We had so many storms that I was quite strategic in picking individual hills [where] I was up high for less time,” she said. “But the weather has been what’s made it! I didn’t want a really easy, soft winter,” she told The Northern Times.

Throughout the last few months, she has had to take several days off from injury or illness. Despite this, she generally covered three Munros a day. In the last week, Wells ramped up her efforts, tackling between five and eight every day. On two occasions, she has managed a staggering nine Munros in a single day, particularly impressive considering how short the days were. She had to navigate a lot of those mountains in darkness.

Wells has mainly based herself out of her mum’s house for the journey. For those peaks further away, she has stayed with friends. She then drove, hiked, or cycled between the various peaks.

Friends, family, and followers have joined her for a variety of sections. Among those was Alex Moran, the son of Martin Moran. Previous finisher Kevin Woods also accompanied her for the first few days.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.