This blog describes Manny Gorman's successful round of all 219 Corbetts in 70 days, in one continuous journey by running, cycling and sailing.

Manny's 70 Day Schedule

The Corbetts are Scottish hills between 2,500 and 3,000ft, with at least 500ft ascent on all sides.

"You're an idiot, but a truly inspirational one!" (Stuart Simpson)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Around the Corbetts in 70 Days

We all thought Manny was mad, and he has proved us correct by today completing his astonishing self- and wind-propelled round of Corbetts in 70 days.

From the eve of London Marathon on 25th April, until Wimbledon men's semi-final day on 3rd July, Manny has been relentlessly chasing his dream right through the months of May and June. The only 'rest' days in the whole 10 week epic came due to getting stormbound between Jura and Arran at the end of the first week, and then much later 3 days R&R were needed after crashing off his bike just before Strontian.

The first weeks saw some of the coldest wettest windiest early May weather on record, with Manny getting repeated batterings during his progress through Galloway, Moffat and Arrochar. The tide finally turned for the epic trip through from Loch Lomond to Ben Ledi, and the scene was set for a mighty sweeping move north through the southern and central highlands.

But of course Manny was only half the team, and Brenda has been working overtime the past 10 weeks keeping Manny fed, watered and motivated through the countless ups and downs. And just when the finish appeared to be within grasp on the penultimate day, the story saw one final cruel twist with Brenda crashing off Manny's bike and badly breaking her right shoulder. This happened at the base of Foinaven on the track past Gualin House. Brenda was on her own, and when I had returned from Durness found her in the van clearly in pain and distress. I took her straight to Durness, but discovered they could nothing more than put her arm in a sling and give her 2 x Tramadol and suggested we head straight for Raigmore Hospital at Inverness.

Seriously tired and head-nodding, we arrived at Raigmore A&E around 8.30pm where Brenda was fast-tracked through. They put her straight on morphine and off for an X-ray. It was around 11pm when we finally saw the orthopaedic surgeon who seemed quite impressed at the comprehensive damage Brenda had done to her shoulder.

All slighty surreal and shell-shocked I found a bed at a complete strangers house in Inverness courtesy of Brenda, and left first thing Friday morning to head back to Raigmore Ward 3A. It looked likely they would operate this afternoon, so there was no question of Brenda making an appearance at Ben Loyal for Manny's final hill.

After a hospital cooked breakfast I blasted back up the Lairg road followed by single-track to Tongue and found Manny just as he was dropping off Beinn Spionnaidh with Mindy Macleod. Manny then flew off round the coast on a hilly 22-miler on the bike getting paced by Alec Keith for the last few miles. We all reconvened at Ribigill Farm for the final ascent, with a group gathering at the summit of Ben Loyal around 4.30pm.

We were all keenly aware of Brenda's absence, but has we were hunkering down on the summit in the howling wind Brenda was in the midst of a 5 hour operation to re-construct her shoulder. I dropped by at 9pm and she seemed bright enough and good spirits after coming round from the general anaesthetic.

Once again, a massive well done to Manny and Brenda on a truly remarkable achievement, and I hope Brenda is soon up and about and making a speedy recovery.


Alec Keith said...

Congratulations Manny on your fantastic effort, sorry to have to abort 1/2 way up Ben Loyal. While you take the headlines, the real hero is of ourse Brenda for sticking with you through all this madness, and picking up the pieces masquarading as your body. Everybody's thinking about her and wishing her a good recovery. Payback time now, boy. And well done to all your pacers and supporters, particularly Chris on what must have been one hell of a final week. A top man to have on your side!

Squiz said...

Many congratulations. We have been plodding round the Corbetts, hoping to finish them this year....or next, so have been overtaken by Manny on the Auch Five, and again coming off Beinn Dearg Mor and Bheag. We were mightily impressed by the way he powered over these(to us) gruelling hills. I think this is a feat that won't be out-done for many years. Hope Brenda's shoulder will regain full function...Manny wasn't the only one to overtake our bikes en- route to the motorhome. Brenda did too....and she was on foot. Best wishes.

Ellie said...

Well done Manny and Brenda - you're an amazing team - and thank you for the multiple opportunities to play around in the hills with you. Rest and recover well. x

Archie said...

Well done both of you! Like so many others have said it has been a real privilege for us both to be involved in this crazy journey. From the start at the Tarbert Hardware Emporium, through the doldrums of Rum, the snows of Ben an Lochain, the midges of Achnashellach to the summit of Ben Loyal. It has been great to have been a part of it and meet up with all those great folk that have helped you out along the way.

Fantastic achievement by the Gormanator and his Coordinator.

See you both soon

Archie and Sandra

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Manny - that is an incredible achievement and one that will stand for a very long time.
Sorry to hear about Brenda's fall - I'm sure you'll look after her as well as she's looked after you for the past 70 days, although from following the blog that's going to be some effort.

As Stuart S said it's been an inspirational journey following you round the country.

Well done again

Bruce S