Jamie Aarons Sets Overall Record on Munros

Jamie Aarons has completed Scotland’s Munro challenge in record time. The 43-year-old woman started on May 26 and scaled all 282 mountains above 3,000 feet in 31 days, 10 hours, and 27 minutes. That’s faster than all previous men and women.

To qualify for the record, she couldn’t use any motorized vehicle between the peaks. The ultrarunner zigzagged her way by running, cycling, and kayaking. Overall, she ran 1,315km, cycled 1,249km (830km on a road bike and 370km by mountain bike), and kayaked 11km.

She summited her first Munro on the Isle of Skye and did her last, Ben Kilbreck, on June 26.

Donnie Campbell held the previous record. The former Marine completed it in 31 days, 23 hours, and two minutes in 2020. Libby Kerr and Lisa Trollope set the previous female record of 76 days and 10 hours in 2017.

This is not the first time Aarons has completed the Munros, but it is the first time she has attempted to do so in record time. She had climbed them twice previously, with her partner. This time, she set a staggering pace. On average, she summited an astonishing nine Munros a day. Her maximum was 14 in a 24-hour period.

Photo: Jamie Aarons


At the start of the journey, she told the BBC, “My journey will take me across the length and breadth of Scotland, across sea and lochs, from remote glens to the highest point in the United Kingdom, and across more miles of bog than I care to think about.”

One of the main difficulties was the weather. It was, for Scotland, too good. At first, she found herself in the middle of a heatwave. Avoiding sunburn and dehydration was difficult.

Then she found herself contending with flooding and storms. She was even in the vicinity when a lightning strike took down the stone pillar on Ben Nevis on June 12.

Photo: Jamie Aarons


The storms made river crossings particularly difficult. Once, she had to reroute and add an extra kilometer to the journey.

She had planned her route meticulously for two years. During the challenge, a six-person logistics team made sure every piece of equipment was in the right place at the right time for her.

She received advice from previous Munro runners, had support runners to help her keep pace, and used previous record holder Donnie Campbell’s numbers as a guide. He had slept for eight hours a night, for example, so Aarons cut this down to four hours. Although she was exhausted by the end, she thought that the time she saved would be enough to clinch the record. She was right.

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.