Mountain Rescue Magazine Winter 2021

A very big four at forty

backs on this part of the route but, as we turned to head west for the Mamores, we were running into 90mph winds and I genuinely thought my accompanying runner was going to get blown away! We managed as far as the second Stob Bàn on the route and then had to retire but we’d completed so much of it, I decided to carry on to the next stage. I could always come back to Scotland once I’d completed the others.’ Second of four: The Denis Rankin Round connects the 39 tops over 400 metres in the Mountains of Mourne in County Down and it was named as a tribute to Denis Rankin, who died during the Slievemoughanmore mountain race in May 2013. ‘It’s a similar length to the Ramsay,’ says Ross, ‘but the landscape is very different: rolling hills with granite torrs on top and not too different from my home hills, the Howgills, just with added rock! The route starts from a white arch in the Donard car park in Newcastle and we arrived during the early hours of the morning as the wind was easing, with a promise of beautiful sunshine when the sun rose. With such a change in the weather, I was hopeful I’d have a much better day.’ Unfortunately, that better weather was a temptation and Ross now realises he set off too quickly and, after several miles, began to suffer with tendonitis. ‘I was being supported throughout by Lagan Search and Rescue team members as well as a local Norwegian mountain runner, a friend from Dublin and other local runners. We made good time and I completed the route in under 24 hours but I was in a lot of pain by the end, hoping a rest on the trip to Wales would sort that out.’ T hird of four: The Paddy Buckley Round was devised by the eponymous Paddy Buckley and first completed in 1982 by Wendy Dodds. It features 47 tops over a 61- mile route and covers Snowdon, the Carneddau, the Glyderau and the Moelwynion. ‘I’d planned to start at Capel Curig and had great support in place, including Simon from home and Nikki Summers, another ultra

Photos courtesy of Ross Jenkin and friends.

by his wife, Maria. She would rest while Ross ran and he would sleep in the car as much as he could while she drove. The plans were all set and ferries booked but then Covid happened. ‘We knew we’d have to postpone and decided to plan for late August,’ says Ross. ‘I thought heat might be an issue but it turned out to be wind and rain. Strong winds and a lot of rain!’ First of four: Ramsay’s Round was first completed by Charlie Ramsay, in July 1978. It starts at the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel and finishes back at the same point, 56 miles and 23 Munros later. ‘It can be done in either direction,’ says Ross, ‘and we did it clockwise, heading off up Ben Nevis and then east beyond Loch Treig to Beinn na Lap near Corrour Station. So far, so good, as we had the wind at our

Ross, a police officer in Cumbria, has been fell running for nearly seven years and the idea for the ‘Big 4 at 40’ started when he supported a friend, Simon Mounsey, on his Bob Graham Round. ‘We were talking about how it was a shame to waste all that fitness and training after just one of the 24-hour mountain challenges,’ explains Ross. ‘We joked about doing the three in Great Britain in one season. Then I found out about the Denis Rankin in Northern Ireland, which would bring the total up to four, and that got me thinking. Had anyone done all four in a season? And was it remotely possible to do all four in a week?’ Two years later, with sponsors, equipment, clothing and supporters in place, the plan was for Ross to attempt all four national mountain rounds in one week in June 2020. Ross would be driven between each location


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