Where: Highlands, Northern Scotland, Great Britain
Best Season: Brief Scottish summer – July or August
Remember to Bring: Water, compass & map
Best Sights: Barren heather fields, snow capped mountains and crystal clear air
Watch Out For: Fatigue, dangerous inclines
Scotland doesn’t exactly have anything quite like Mount Everest, but they do have something unique called a Munroe, which were named by Sir Hugh Munroe in 1891 to classify any mountain that’s 3,000 feet or higher. Sadly, Munroe himself died on the battlefront of World War I.
A.E. Robinson first completed all of the Munros after 10 years hard climbing in 1901, and many today are trying to recreate his mission.
Scotland has 284 Munroes, and there are some people who are fanatical about walking and climbing them. Once you have climbed a munroe that means you have ‘bagged’ it. Some people are obsessive Munroe baggers, and some have bagged all of Scotland’s munroes. On a leisure trip, you could expect to ‘bag’ about 7 average size Munros a day, the speed record is 51 days for the lot or 28 munros in one day! The most famous Munroe is Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, around 5,000ft high.
If you’re blanning on putting a few in the bag, remember the following:
– Plan your trip carefully, make sure you have a compass, map and guidebook as some munros may have steep descent or dangerous inclines. Work out how you would cut short your trip in the event of problems.
– Go with someone else. If you must hike alone, tell someone at your lodgings where you are going and try to bring a mobile phone (if you can get any reception).
– Bring fresh water. There will usually be fresh mountain streams to fill up your bottle along the way.
– The best season for bagging is the mild summer – May – September. Bagging during the harsh winter should be undertaken at your own peril.
– Do not undertake too much walking unless you have carried out some training beforehand.
– Check the weather forecast before setting out. The weather in Scotland is extremely changeable. Bring waterproof coats and trousers and plenty of layers to compensate for a drop in temperature as you head further up in altitude.
– Bear in wind that in winter, it becomes dark very quickly (around 5pm) so plan to come back before then and bring a torch.
– Read up on individual bags before going out to see if the route is suitable and at a suitable level for your ability.
Complete listing of Scotland’s Munroes
Illustrated excerpts from a Munro baggers diary.
By Lorna Musgrove