Now ultra ace Hall tackles daunting Scotland challenge

WEST ultra running star Damian Hall is attempting an audacious record-breaking attempt in Scotland this weekend.

Starting tomorrow morning Hall, who lives near Bath and running partner Beth Pascall, one of Britain’s leading female long distance runners, will line up to run the Cape Wrath Trail from Fort William to the north western outreaches of Scotland.

In a self-supporting effort the pair are aiming to complete the 230 miles and around 12,000 metres of climbing through one of the biggest wildernesses in the UK inside the current record time of seven days and nine hours.

“The Cape Wrath trail goes through a very remote area of the country with virtually no mobile phone signal and crossing just a handful of roads,” said Hall, who works as a freelance journalist specialising on the outdoors in Bath

“If we get into trouble with the weather, illness or injury we would face a least half a day’s walk to get to a road and then we still might not see anyone for ages.

“It is an exciting challenge but also a very daunting one as we get closer to starting it.

“At this time of year the weather is very unpredictable and that far north we will only have six or seven hours of daylight.

“Hopefully it will stay cold and dry as that will be easier for running. If it gets very wet then it becomes even more difficult as running in wet shoes is not good.

“Also, we have several river crossings and after heavy rain they can swell and become pretty dangerous so we cannot afford to be too gung-ho or silly about it.

“It is going to be a tough one that’s for sure.”

Hall and Pascal won’t even carry tents aiming to use the Scottish bothies, which are basic shelters left unlocked and available for anyone to use free of charge, along the way.

“We’ll carry our own bivvy bags as back-ups plus a stove to brew up tea plus provisions and hopefully we can get things as well along the way,” added Hall.

The record attempt is classed as a FKT Challenge – a fastest known time challenge- as against a Guinness Book World record bid due to the nature of the terrain and difficulties in accurately monitoring the attempt.

“Verification of a FKT attempt is obviously less stringent that a Guinness record attempt as we are going through such remote areas but we will be wearing GPS watches, from which the data will be independently verified afterwards and people can track our progress live as well,” explained Hall.

“The attempt is really to showcase that you can still enjoy adventure, whether in winter or summer, in some really remote areas in Britain.

“I think people believe we are a small, over-crowded island but hopefully this will show otherwise. It will be a great adventure and hopefully we can beat the record.”

If so it will be Hall’s second long-distance record as a few years ago he also broke the best time for completing the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path.