Here's some of the key info, in reply to questions posed by Dan Bailey of UK Climbing / Hillwalking:
OK Finlay, here’s a few Qs:14:24:48 … wow! Did you set out from the outset to try for the winter record?
What time did you start (on Monday, was it?)
You’ve also got the summer record (10:15:30). Would you say you’re pretty familiar with the route?!
The previous winter record of 18:59:06 must have seemed a tall order to top. How confident were you?
Your summer record was solo and unsupported – did you have any company or support this time?
Anticlockwise - finish on the Ben, then it’s ‘just’ the descent back to the Youth Hostel. The neve in the Red Burn extended all the way to the bottom of the Grassy Bank, something I’ve not seen for a long time.Did you go clockwise or anticlockwise?
Firm neve, quite a bit of scouring. No soft snow. Cold. Some old frozen tracks at places; in other places blank and bullet hard.How were ground conditions?
The optimal conditions are something I’ve pondered quite a lot. And particularly how this would vary for skis vs on foot (it’s all mountaineering!). I think skis were the way to go for our 2016 round as there was quite a bit of soft snow that would have meant slow trail breaking on foot. Whereas this time, foot and crampon was totally the way to go due to the scoured solid conditions. I love the fact that it is so entirely dependent on conditions - a traverse earlier this year in the deep fresh snow we had would have been unthinkable either on foot (trail breaking exhaustion and avalanche danger) or skis (even more avalanche danger)For a winter round, what would you consider to be helpful snow conditions, versus unhelpful – how much difference does snow state make to your pace, basically?
Very windy initially, settled to just windy. But clear summits except about 30mins on Sgurr Eilde Mor when cloud passed through. The Grey Corries were in and out of cloud while I was approaching them from the glen, but pretty much cleared by the time I was on the ridge. Finally, in the afternoon, the sun came out and the wind eased further making for a glorious evening on the Aonachs and the Ben.How about the weather?
I suffer from cold feet so have tried various combos. I used Salomon XA Alpine shoes - basically a light trainer with a gaiter - and seal skin socks. Unusually for me, I didnt get cold feet! Although it was cold enough that there was so little water around and no meltage so feet stayed dry, which probably kept them warm. I used a set a aluminium strap on crampons which I took off and on multiple times. Also 2 ski poles and a lightweight axe.What did you wear on your feet?
Can you talk us through the route a bit – how you felt at various stages, energy levels, psyche etc?