Andy, centre, with Gilly and Graham after his record run of the West Highland Way
An Ultra runner from Pitlochry in Perthshire has run a new record time for a winter completion of the West Highland Way. At the weekend, Andy Campbell ran the 154km (96-mile) from Milngavie to Fort William in 19 hours 54 minutes. His run was 31 minutes faster than the previous winter record holder Jonny Kilpatrick.
Andy, who is 35 and ran the route supported by his wife Gilly and friend Graham Johnston, told us: “I am really, really happy with my new fastest winter time for the West Highland Way.”
Record runs on West Highland Way
There are other records for this route including Rob Sinclair’s supported run in 2017 of an impressive 13h 41m. Lucy Colquhoun’s 2007 run of 17h 16m remains the fastest female supported time for the West Highland Way.
Meanwhile, Pawel Cymbalista holds the fastest unsupported time for the route in 17h 57m, which he set in 2022. All of these records were set outwith the winter months.
Andy sets off at the start of the West Highland Way.
Andy's winter run of the West Highland Way
Andy was already familiar with the iconic Scottish trail having walked it many times. He also run it during the summer some five years ago in a time of 22:39.
He says: “I felt that after running the route in summer, the pinnacle for me would be to run it in winter.”
Andy set off at 8pm on Saturday January 6 from Milngavie, north of Glasgow. He ran north and found the first section to Balamaha in the dark and cold very tough.
Then, at around the 10-hour mark, Andy started to suffer mentally. He said: “My body was moving quite well but my mind felt very tired. This meant I couldn’t motivate my body to go any faster and this slowed me down a bit.”
When the sun began to rise, Andy felt a sudden boost of energy. He says:”The sunrise was beautiful and I suddenly found a bit of extra energy. It was lovely to feel some warmth in the sunshine, too.”
Andy also found the section climbing the Devil’s Staircase in Glencoe hard. He said: “It is always a hard push up the Devil’s Staircase and I really felt it on my recent run. I suddenly felt too warm after feeling so cold earlier on. The sun was at my back and I was far too hot for a while.”
Support for Andy on West Highland Way
Gilly and Graham Johnston met Andy at a number of checkpoints to provide food and hydration. Graham ran with Andy on the final section from Kinlochleven to Fort William to help with his pacing.
Andy said: “I was struggling toward the end and especially after descending the Devil’s Staircase. My knees were hurting because I needed to run on the heather at the side of an icy and snowy trail. It was great to have Graham alongside me and to keep me going.
“Reaching Fort William in a new fastest time felt amazing.”
Why not walk or run the West Highland Way with us?
A non-stop running record is not for everyone but plenty of people enjoy a walk or run along the classic Scottish route. We can support you with luggage transfers. Please do get in touch to find out more.