Sunday, June 15, 2008

Munro bagging

A Munro is a Scottish mountain with a height over 3,000 feet (914.4 metres). They are named after Sir Hugh Munro (1856–1919), who produced the first compilation of a catalogue of such hills, known as Munro's Tables, in 1891. Sir Hugh Munro's original list, published in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal in September 1891, listed 538 summits over 3000 feet, of which 283 were regarded as "separate mountains"; the term Munro applies to the latter, while the lesser summits are known as tops. Some hillwalkers climb Munros with an eye to climbing every single one, a practice known as "Munro bagging". Having climbed all of them, a walker is entitled to be called a Munroist. Munro-bagging is the most popular form of peak bagging. - source: Wikipedia.

Ben More (Scottish Gaelic: Beinn Mhòr, meaning "great mountain") is the highest mountain and only Munro on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. Despite their modest height the Scottish Mountains have quit an Alpine character due to the latitude and exposure to Atlantic weather systems. Even in summer, conditions can be tricky: thick fog, strong winds, driving rain and freezing summit temperatures are not unusual.
On Thursday 29. June we broke up the tents at the Killiechronan campsite to take the ferry from the Isle of Mull back to Oban for the second part of our kayak journey (to the Slate Isles). But before leaving Mull we walked upon the Ben More for an overview of what we paddled the days before an of what to come the next week.
We started the walk in the morning at sea-level in Dhiseigh in T-shirt with sunshine and very pleasant temperatures, above 600 meters we walked into the clouds and on top of the Ben More, after a walk of less than 2 hours, it was freezing cold and visibility was less than 20 meters... In the fog on the top we met a couple that was celebrating their first Munro too. Packed in fleece and jackets, enjoying a warm cup of tea (with the delightful Tesco-Chocolate Muffins) we paused, hoping that the fog would disappear. After half an hour sky suddenly broke open - offering fantastic panoramas between breaking clouds.

The first Munro tastes like more (but the number of 283 is a bit excessive, beyond normal limits ;-)!


That Hideous Man said...

I am a 'sad Munro Bagger' - not that I have done them all - still more than 100 to go...

Munro bagging is of course much derided by purist mountaineers who see themselves as above all such trivial preoccupations!

In his book "The Joy of Hillwalking", Ralph Storer is very rude about Munro Baggers and explains that despite having spent thousands of days in th Scottish hills, he always avoided one peak - to avoid becoming a Munroist!

Later in the book he amusingly descibes how the one he was avaoiding was de-classified as a Munro and down-graded to a 'top' making him by default a member of the derided bagging fraternity!

I started bagging because when I moved to Scotland as a teenager, I was confused by the lack of footpaths on the OS maps compared to England and bought a hill-walking route book - it happened to be a Munro book... and then I got addicted to it and am just back from Ullapool having been up around Beinn Dearg.

Hans Heupink said...

Hi Hideous man!
I have just enjoyed scrolling your weblog. You are very lucky living in such a great place! It's a heaven for climbers and Hillwalkers (and for seakayakers of course ;-),