A SCOTS pensioner couple have completed a 20-year mission to climb all 726 of Scotland’s hills over 2,000ft.
Sheila, 65, and Bill Simpson, 70, from Arbroath recently finished their mammoth feat – climbing the equivalent of around two million feet – or 30 Mount Everests.
To do this they tackled all 282 Munros – peaks over 3,000ft – all 221 Corbetts – peaks over 2,500ft – and 223 Grahams – peaks over 2,000ft.
It is thought to be the first time anyone – let alone a couple – have achieved the task.
Remarkably, Bill managed to finish the project even after he underwent open heart surgery last November.
The couple – who have seven daughters – celebrated their final ascent of Meall a’Mhuic in Glen Lyon, Perthshire, this summer with whisky and biscuits.
Mr Simpson said: “We were elated. The weather was terrible but it was a beauty to finish on.
“After our first climb at Glen Esk [in 1994] we were smitten, and decided to try and climb all of Scotland’s Munros. Then we thought we would do all the Corbetts and then the Grahams.
“We have seen some amazing views. Scotland is such a beautiful place, it really takes your breath away.”
He said that their worst climb was in Glenfinnan and took over 16 and a half hours, finally finishing at 1 o’clock in the morning.
“We were walking in the pitch black, we thought we were buggered,” he said. “Sometimes you lose your way altogether and it can be scary, but it’s all a big life experience. Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself again.
“I’m 70 and it’s something I can put on my CV.”
The couple say that their seven daughters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren are very proud of them.
“They also think we are mad,” Mr Simpson added.
Both Sheila and Bill are active members of the Friockheim and District Walker’s Club, and of Forfar’s hillwalking club.
Colin Sinclair, president of Forfar’s Hillwalking club said: “The Simpson’s are quite a couple. It’s very unique that they have done all the Grahams as well as Munros and Corbetts. They climbed all as a couple, sometimes with other groups as well. It’s really special.
“Their pursuit of the Grahams was interrupted due to Bill having heart surgery, but he quickly recovered within a few months and they carried on with their quest.”
The couple, who are both now retired, also enjoy cycling and Scottish country dancing.
In May this year they also completed the TGO challenge, a walk from the west coast at Oban to the east coast at St Cyrus
By Xantha Leatham