After a few days of radio silence, Dan and I have had an evening of sporadic updates and conversation, beginning as he summited Moruisg at about 7pm this evening. He's doing good, aware there's still much to do and that a belt of bad weather could still interfere with the success of his mission. Earlier in the week he'd got excited at the prospect of finishing, but that foolishness has since passed. He's obviously a little touched by everything he's endured, he shared the names of his favourite Munros with me tonight - Loony Bin and Cheescake.
Today he's climbed 10 Munros in 14 hours, starting at 5am, covering about 30 miles, with approximately 15,000 ft of ascent along the way. The weather has been reasonably settled, just starting to clag in as him and Chris Upson finished a brutal day, descending to the van. The plan was to camp tonight in the hills, but the longer day rewards Dan with a chance to shower, and give his shredded feet some much needed attention. I bet the crew in the van will be delighted to witness that spectacle.
It's worth mentioning the fun John and Phil had this morning when cycling up the locked estate road to collect Dan and Chris' camping kit. John's bike punctures, and punctures again after repair at about 8 miles in. This left Phil the rather uninspiring task of cycling the 35 miles alone to collect 2 full packs of camping kit. Phil is hurting tonight too.
Dan was keen to recollect a few key moments of the past few days. Skye was a dark time from the minute Aled and him crossed onto the island. Dark skies and lashing rain. The night alone in the bothy caused Dan, as unsuperstitious as Richard Dawkins, moments of irrational panic, with him admitting that at times, he struggled to stay calm, alone in the darkness. Cuillin was epic, and people know that Dan really appreciates everyone's help but Matt Reedy was the difference that day. Without Matt, Dan would probably still be up there now. Day 2 on Skye was also difficult. Simon and Chris had shared the moment when Dan slithered up a broken, craggy slab into the mist, in a howling damp wind, to summit Blabhein. He admits, he used up one of his nine lives in that moment. The boys would have been mad to follow him. On reflection Skye was awful, but also a special part of the trip, a defining experience
Tomorrow is a steadier day. Dan heads north east on his bike to then climb Fionn Bheinn, then heads back west, again on his bike, and begins his traverse of the Torridon hills, ticking off the south-west 3 in the afternoon. We are working on the tracker as I know many of you are now sat at work, twiddling your thumbs, wondering how you filled your time before Dan set out on this great adventure. I'll let you know as soon as it is back online.
A final thought. I've just managed to update Dan's pin map which kindly illuminates the 38 hills left to climb and in doing so I got a real taste of just how epic this challenge is. If you want, in some way, to experience the pain and hardship, the sheer physical endurance needed to somehow empathise with Dan and feel what it is like to do something very hard, both mentally and physically challenging and not give up, follow these simple instructions; choose 30 Munros at random and write each one of their names correctly. I've just had to do it, not learn them, just write them! And it's epic! My hand is killing me.