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)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

God, I need a hill!

It's all a bit odd.
From the best views in the world to spending the night parked up in Inverness, Raigmore Hospital car park then sitting in Tescos watching the crazy world go about its inane business. Looking forward to a very long lie in bed, I of course woke up at 7am, the body still thinking it was about to get it's daily punishment! Not today legs! However, I'm completely knackered mentally & physically and have spent the day doing a frustrating nothing other than seeing Brenny for an hour this morning and again this afternoon - I wish I had just headed off and done a wee hill this morning.
Anyway, many thanks to everyone for the best wishes and kind thoughts for Brenny - needless to say we were both absolutely shattered when she could not get to Ben Loyal. There is absolutely no way I could have achieved the Corbett Round if Brenda had not been there every step of the way to push me out in the rain, feed me, move the van, arrange all the supporters, come up hills with me, washing, cleaning, cooking, wipe my brow etc etc etc.
I was completely crushed on Thursday night with Brenda’s news. I wasn't going to do the final day, it was all very dark. Hills didn't matter then...but they do. They get your head straight again, they clear the cobwebs away and flush the mind clean. I hid the in van that night not wanting to face anyone except my 2 boys, and after the head spinning for hours and virtually no sleep I just had to do what Brenda wanted me to do - finish it.
So it was with heavy heart and legs I set off over Cranstackie and Beinn Spionnaidh, but with just the right company for such a trip with Mindy McLeod for good craic. The day was stunning sunny, hot but windy. The views from the tops were awesome and the last hill within touching distance. We trotted off to the now accumulated convoy of campervans and support cars down by Loch Eriboll with fierce cleg attacks coming in constantly. I hauled myself east on the road bike into a very strong head wind and over some dragging big hills eventually meeting Alec Keith cycling the opposite direction on a classic 1940's bike with scaffold tube framing, and sleek "grab cable & haul" gear shifts. Alec paced me, at a frightening rate of knots through Tongue to Ribigill farm where (apart from an advanced party & sadly Donald with a damaged ankle) the troops had mustered and after a few drinks in the boiling heat we trotted off up the last hill. I enjoyed nipping along the track on foot and bumped into a few of my biking buddies Pete Bennett & Graham Hall & his good lady Margaret, cycling off the hill. Radio Scotland’s Bill Wideford called me on the mobile and an live interview was arranged for the summit. My head & heart wasn’t really into doing an interview but I knew what Brenda (currently in the middle of 5 hour surgery) would be saying so with my 2 boys Manuel & Duncan, we hid out of the strong winds behind a rock and did a 5 minute spiel. (Apologies Bill if I seemed a bit lacklustre at the time) Another 5 minutes and with Manuel & Duncan by my side, and a lump in my throat, I walked up onto the lovely top of An Caisteal, of Ben Loyal and it was over.
Brenda was there with me just the same.
Davy, Christine, Dave, JD, Archie, Sandra, Hamilton, Mindy, and of course Chris were there to cheer me on and a few smashing drams, Cairngorm ales and champers were had in the howling wind along with loads of photos.
Phone calls & texts to a few folk including my Mum to confirm arrival.
A few moments alone.
Even my old Dad didn't miss out on the action, after somehow missing the entourage passing through Tongue, he eventually caught us up on his way up the final Ben with a good dram to help me off the hill, and then carrying a giant rock as a momento from the summit for me!! - thanks Dad.
I didn’t do the Corbetts on my own and could never have made it without the help of so many of my club mates and friends and my parents - from the wonderful week long sailing trip with John & Anne Allan, and the 2 crew shifts, to the hell of the Borders alone with Brenda, through the gruesome west coast with all sorts of Westies & friends, out east with Davy & Donald, back west for more tough weather and mind games but Dots doughnuts to keep me going, big pulls east again with Ken & Clare Rumgay for urgent help and good hill company, to Allan & Tilly Smith and more Westies, and then the massive pull north from beautiful Ardour with our own Charlie Campbell, all be it after nearly ending the trip with a disastrous bike fall, the days growing longer and longer all the time – 12 & 14 hours being the norm; beautiful Knoydart for 3 days, Manuel & Duncan being ferried back & forth to us for weekends, huge days through Torridon, and Poolewe with Dave Riach & Scott Kennedy, and constant encouragement from Archie & Sandra, Brenda bagging more hills every day, and the indomitable Mr Rogers to shove me around Straths Connon & Farrar, and the relief of getting to Assynt after great hills with Geoff, Ali, Pete, Elsie, the ever present Johnston, Andy and Cat, the ac/dc gig as an insane sideshow, and constantly juggling the schedule to suit 14 hour days.
I guess it would have been plain boring if the story didn’t have a final cruel twist.
A tough few days with Don, Elma, and Dave Dave, including the extraordinary venture across Arkle & Fionnaven in a thunder storm led to the end of Brenda’s journey in hellish circumstances, again whilst still trying to help me with a bike a delivery.
I started it just for me, plain selfish me – but in the end I finished it for Brenda and for every single one (I’m sorry if I do not mention you all in these lines but there are dozens, and I am now drunk in Kincraig!) who helped or supported along the way, even just on the blog or with a text.
It wasn’t just about the hills but the people too.
Thank you all for making it, we both enjoyed every minute.

Lots of love
Manny & Brenda

If anyone has any photos at all would you mind putting them on a cd and posting it to us, or even better – give us your written views of the hills you managed with us!
I will get around to doing the stats sometime soon – I know the mileage will be around 2400, but the ascent figure was purposely not pre estimated as it may have done my head in from the start – I expect it to be between 600,000 to 700,000ft!


Archie said...

Brilliant post Manny,you're a master of words as well as the hills, It certainly was an emotional day yesterday! (and we only saw part of it)
All the best to Brenda for a speedy recovery we all missed her badly on he final day.

Fancy a wee trip up Meall a Bhuchaille tomorrow???

Chris said...

I've been following the blog since early in the trip, with all its ups and downs! Well done. Great achievement

Johnston said...

Fantastic stuff Manny, and thanks for pushing me beyond my usual limits too. Also a great chance for me to visit bits of the country I've not been to before. Amazing effort by you, inspiring stuff for the rest of us.

I raised a glass of Cairngorm's Blessed Thistle last night to toast your achievements!

Anonymous said...

We are so glad you carried on on Friday with out Brenda. Imagine the row you would of had if you didn't do it! It's an amazing acheivement and so HAPPY for you and Brenda although the last day wasn't easy for either of you!! Many many Congratulations!!
Katherine & Keith xx

Colin W said...

Congratulations Manny! Fantastic achievement by yourself & Brenda. Just such a huge shame for Brenda to come a cropper right at the end. Joan & I wish her all the best for a quick recovery. It must have been awful for her to miss the finale after all her hard work.

You can rest up now for 9 weeks till The Ben Race!!

Well done again. said...

Manny. What an achievement well done. Really sorry to hear about Brenda and missing out on the finish, not quite what we'd all hoped but it won't be forgotten in a hurry, and she has been a brilliant support to you all the way, have a speedy recovery. I really tried to tie in the last few days but clients would not have appreciated it although we were close to Durness on your final day. I had lots of beer for you over the last few days so enjoy one or two on me.


Unknown said...

Well done Manny and Brenda. Been folowing your moves on your blog, which has been brilliantly put together. What a fantastic achievement. You are a true inspiration to us all.

Get well wishes to Brenda.

Donald, Rhoda, Stuart & William. X

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Manny

Andy Kitchin

Anonymous said...

Always said you were off your trolley! Well done - the blog is nearly as big an achievement as the run!! Now if you wouldn't mind just pootling off and starting something else - I quite liked having something to vary the view from my office window! Peg xxx

Chris said...

That's 2 DVDs in the post with almost 1500 photos.