The Bob Graham 24 Hour Club

The Lake District 24 Hour Fell Record

The first stated criteria for what we now know as the 24 Hour Fell Record were set down by Dr A W Wakefield in 1904. Dr Wakefield said the aim was to ascend the greatest number of peaks over 2,000 feet and return to the starting point within 24 hours.

Strangely, Bob Graham's own round of 42 peaks contained 2 peaks (Steel Fell and Calf Crag) that didn't meet the Wakefield criteria. As Bob Wightman has pointed out, the 42 peak round that the vast majority of successful contenders follow now is the round that Alan Heaton completed in 1960.

During the 1960s, the men's 24 Hour Fell Record was extended by Alan Heaton, Ken Heaton and Eric Beard.

The women got in on the act first in 1977 when Jean Dawes became the first lady to complete Bob Graham's circuit of 42 peaks. Jean's time for the 42 peak round was reduced by Anne-Marie Grindley in 1978, and then by Ros Coates in 1979. Anne-Marie then completed a 58 peak round later in 1979.

The progression of the record for men and women can be seen on the Records page.

With so much focus on the Record during the 1960s and 1970s (there were 2 further extensions of the men's record by Joss Naylor in 1971 and 1972), there was a need for potential contenders to be clear about the parameters of the challenge that they faced. The committee of the Club was asked, in the informal way that things are done in the fell running community, to establish some formal criteria for the challenge.

In 1971 criteria were set down that in order to break the record, a contender must traverse on foot the same summits as the current Record holder in a faster time and/or with the addition of a separate summit or summits of 2,000 feet or over within 24 hours.

Controversy about whether certain summits over 2,000 feet were "appropriate" for Record attempts led to the criteria being refined in 1978, when the Club committee (again having been requested to bring further clarity to the issue) added an additional requirement that to qualify, a 2,000 foot peak must have a minimum of a 50 foot drop in all directions between it and any neighbouring peak.

In 1989, the criteria were amended again so that additional peaks must be over 2,000 feet requiring ascent and descent of at least 250 feet and being at least 0.25 miles from the previous peak.

To summarise, here are the current criteria. In order to break the existing 24 Hour Fell Record, a contender must either traverse the same peaks as the current Record holder in a faster time, or traverse the same peaks plus at least 1 additional peak. For these purposes, a peak must be over 2000 feet high, be at least 0.25 of a mile away from the nearest other peak on the round and involve at least 250 feet of descent/re-ascent from the nearest other peak. The round must be completed within 24 hours. It must also start and finish in the same place, which does not have to be the Moot Hall.

Back in early 1989, without the benefits of Memory Map, Sat Nav or other gadgets, Fred Rogerson produced a listing of the 76 peaks traversed by Mark McDermott in his 1988 Record round and noted all other Lake District peaks which qualified (in accordance with the 1989 criteria) for future Record attempts. Fred asked for his additional peaks list to be approved by the then BG Club committee, which it was. Mark Hartell added 1 of these additional peaks (Catstycam) for his 1997 Record.

Below is a list of the peaks ascended by Mark Hartell on his Record round, section by section, together with listings of the qualifying peaks that were not ascended by Mark and which were approved in 1989. In the list the traditional 42 Bob Graham Round summits are indicated thus: "Skiddaw (1)" and so on.

Keswick to Threlkeld

  1. Lonscale Fell
  2. Skiddaw Little Man
  3. Skiddaw (1)
  4. Little Calva
  5. Great Calva (2)
  6. Great Sca Fell
  7. Knott
  8. Coombe Height
  9. Bowscale Fell
  10. Bannerdale Crags
  11. Blencathra (3)
    Additional peak: Carrock Fell

Threlkeld to Dunmail

  1. Clough Head (4)
  2. Great Dodd (5)
  3. Watson's Dodd (6)
  4. Stybarrow Dodd (7)
  5. Raise (8)
  6. Whiteside (9)
  7. Helvellyn Low Man (10)
  8. Catstycam
  9. Helvellyn (11)
  10. Nethermost Pike (12)
  11. Dollywagon Pike (13)
  12. Fairfield (14)
  13. Hart Crag
  14. Greatrigg Man
  15. Seat Sandal (15)
    Additional peaks: St Sunday Crag, Red Screes, Sheffield Pike

Dunmail to Wasdale

  1. Steel Fell (16)
  2. Calf Crag (17)
  3. Sergeant Man (18)
  4. High Raise (19)
  5. Thunacar Knott (20)
  6. Pavey Ark
  7. Harrison Stickle (21)
  8. Pike O'Stickle (22)
  9. Loft Crag
    (Descend to Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel)
  10. Pike O'Blisco
  11. Cold Pike
  12. Little Stand
  13. Crinkle Crags
  14. Shelter Crags
  15. Bowfell (24)
  16. Rosset Pike (23)
  17. Esk Pike (25)
  18. Allen Crags
  19. Great End (26)
  20. Ill Crag (27)
  21. Broad Crag (28)
  22. Scafell Pike (29)
  23. Scafell (30)
  24. Lingmell
    Additional peaks: Ullscarf, Coniston Old Man, Swirl How, Glaramara, Dow Crag, Grey Friar, Wetherlam, Harter Fell

Wasdale to Honister

  1. Yewbarrow (31)
  2. Red Pike (32)
  3. Steeple (33)
  4. Scoat Fell
  5. Pillar (34)
  6. Kirkfell (35)
  7. Great Gable (36)
  8. Green Gable (37)
  9. Base Brown
  10. Brandreth (38)
  11. Grey Knotts (39)
    Additional peaks:High Stile, Haycock, Seatallan, Fleetwith Pike, Great Borne

Honister to Newlands Hause

  1. Dale Head (40)
  2. Hindscarth (41)
  3. Robinson (42)
    Additional peak: High Spy

Newlands Hause to Keswick

  1. Ard Crags
  2. Scar Crags
  3. Causey Pike
  4. Sail
  5. Crag Hill
  6. Wandhope
  7. Whiteless Pike
  8. Grassmoor
  9. Sand Hill
  10. Whiteside
  11. Ladyside Pike
  12. Hobcarton Pike
  13. Grisedale Pike
    (No additional peaks)

Additional peaks in the Far Eastern Fells:

  • High Street
  • High Raise
  • Harter Fell
  • Caudale Moor
  • Ill Bell
  • Froswick
  • Branstree
  • Rest Dodd
  • Tarn Crag
  • Place Fell

A schedule giving detailed timings for Mark's Record round is available at: www.mh.k313.com/mh/fell/bg/24HourRecord.html
As can be seen form his schedule, Mark had intended a 78 peak round, to include Fleetwith Pike, but omitted it on the day.

The current holder of the Women's 24 Hour Fell Record is Nicky Spinks with 64 peaks in 23 hours 15 minutes in 2011.

With the permission of both current record holders, we are able to make available the reports of their respective record-breaking achievements: Mark's account; Nicky's report and Nicky's schedule.