Anna Wells Starts Winter Munro Challenge

This winter, 34-year-old Anna Wells is attempting to climb all the Munros — the 282 mountains in Scotland above 3,000 feet. If successful, she will be the first woman and fourth person ever to achieve the feat.

Hiking on the Isle of Skye

Hiking on the Isle of Skye. Photo: Anna Wells


The Munros are an incredibly popular hiking challenge in summer. Some try to complete it in a single run, others tackle a few of them each weekend until they have completed them all. But doing them all in winter is immensely more difficult, which is why only three others have ever managed it.

Martin Moran was the first person to complete the winter Munros in 1985, followed by Steve Perry in 2006, and Kevin Woods in 2019.

Wells will be tackling the Munros during astronomical winter, between December 22 to March 20. In all, she will cover 2,000km and climb 140,000m. She hopes to complete them in 60 to 70 days — that’s four to five per day despite short winter days. However, she has taken three months off of work, just in case. The Scottish Highlands are not known for their easy or predictable weather.

Anna Wells ice climbing.

Anna Wells ice climbing. Photo: Anna Wells


Began yesterday

Yesterday, she began with the four Strathfarrar Munros. Previous winter Munro finisher Kevin Woods kept her company. She is particularly looking forward to the simplicity of this challenge. Unlike her usual winter activities of ice climbing, skiing, and paragliding, this is, in one sense, uncomplicated. She does not need endless kit, simply a backpack and hiking boots.

Wells was inspired to take this on when she read Martin Moran’s book from his winter round, then watched the movie about Kevin Woods’s own success earlier this year. She recognizes that three months of complete solitude will be hard.

Wells grew up in Fort William and has always been outdoorsy. The climber and ex-mountain guide lived in Chamonix for a season, spent a summer climbing 38 peaks in the Alps over 4,000m, and two summers guiding in the Cuillin on Skye.

Recently, she left guiding behind for a more stable life. She sees this as her last big adventure.

You can follow her journey here.

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.