Scotland

First woman completes all UK's 'Marilyn' hills

Jenny Hatfield on An Cruachan on Skye Image copyright Jenny Hatfield/Rick Salter
Image caption Jenny Hatfield on An Cruachan on Skye

A hillwalker from Cumbria has become the first woman to complete all of the UK's "Marilyns" - hills with a drop of at least 150m on all sides.

Jenny Hatfield completed the list with an ascent of the 632m Cruinn a'Bheinn, near Ben Lomond, on Sunday.

There are 1,556 Marilyns across the UK, though most of them are in Scotland. They include two St Kilda sea stacks.

The term Marilyn is a play on Munro - the name for mountains in Scotland that are at least 3,000ft (914.4m) high.

Ms Hatfield reached the summit of her final Marilyn with her partner Rick Salter, who becomes the 9th man to complete the list.

Together, they enjoyed a glass of champagne at the summit and have become the first couple to tick all the hills. Ms Hatfield said she was "absolutely over the moon" at the achievement.

"It just feels amazing to have that huge list of hills complete," she told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme.

"In the last year, myself and my partner Rick Salter have actually managed to climb 500 of them, so that's been a huge ongoing every day commitment."

Image copyright Jenny Hatfield
Image caption Jenny Hatfield and Rick Salter are the first couple of complete all the Marilyn hills
Image copyright Jenny Hatfield
Image caption Bishop Hill in the Lomond Hills, Fife
Image copyright Robert Kerr
Image caption Stac an Armin (pictured) and Stac Lee are considered the toughest Marilyns to tick

The list was created by hillwalker Alan Dawson in 1992, when he published The Relative Hills of Britain. The first completer was Rob Woodall in 2014.

Ms Hatfield, who was joined by about 40 hill-bagging friends on Cruinn a'Bheinn, said she first saw the opportunity to become the first woman to complete the Marilyns last October, when she climbed the St Kilda sea stacks, Stac Lee and Stan an Armin.

The St Kilda archipelago lies 41 miles (66km) west of the Western Isles. An ascent of the stacks requires a difficult climb up slippery rock.

There is generally a narrow window of time to bag the stacks, in between the nesting season and poorer weather over the winter months, and they are widely regarded as the hardest Marilyns to tick.

Ms Hatfield said they were the "ultimate challenge" for anyone wanting to complete the Marilyns.

"Just landing on the stacks is the first challenge you face and of course the climbing that goes on after that," she said.

Image copyright Jenny Hatfield/Rick Salter
Image caption The venture took Jenny Hatfield and Rick Salter to St Kilda

Ms Hatfield estimates she has climbed about 243,000m to achieve her goal - the equivalent of climbing Everest from sea level 28 times - covering about 5,370km as well.

"Hill-bagging days are often tough either due to poor weather, or difficult terrain. When doing the Marilyns both often conspire against you," she said.

"The list is great because it covers the whole of the UK, with hills of all sizes, and a huge range of character. It's a massive list too, but not so big as to be unachievable."

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