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Will you catch the Munro bagging bug?

Have you heard of Munro bagging? Or the sister pursuit of Corbett bagging? Then there’s Graham bagging, once you have completed the Munros and Corbetts, or perhaps as an introduction to the Munros. What on earth are we talking about here? Well, a Munro is a Scottish mountain with a summit of more than 3,000ft (914m). It was Sir Hugh Munro who first compiled his list of hills known as Munros Tables in 1891. In the last decade or so, Munro Bagging, which sees walkers heading to the top of every one of the 283 Munros, has turned into a hot Scottish pursuit. To date the Scottish Mountaineering Council of Scotland, which is the official holder of recorded Munro "rounds", shows that more than 4,000 walkers have "compleated" a round. (Compleat is the word used in Munro terms, rather than complete.)

Munro bagging extraordinaire

  • There are Munro baggers who have compleated a continuous round of all 283 summits, either walking or cycling between each of the Munros. Given that the geographical spread of Munros is from Ben Lomond in the southern Highlands to Ben Hope in the northern Highlands this is some feat.
  • Other Munro hikers have compleated a "winter" round. This is a tough challenge, and often dangerous, as snow usually covers the highest mountain tops in Scotland all through the winter.
  • Some people have walked a Munros round with their dog, or partner. Some have done a jig on the top of every Munro, or walked with their children. One man is aiming to be the first to walk a round with two metal replacement hips.
  • The youngest walker to be in pursuit of all the Munro is reportedly a four-year-old boy, who is walking them with his dad.
  • Other, more driven, hikers have compleated several Munro rounds. To date, the Munro Bagging record holder is Steve Fallon, who is working his way through his 15th round. Yes, you did read that correctly! Steve started out reasonably fit and now is so fit he can run numerous Munros in one day.

Why record breaker Steve likes the Munros

Steve has a simple explanation for all his Munro rounds: "I just like getting out on the Scottish hills." He says: "Munro Bagging gives you a goal, it keeps you fit, it gets you into the outdoors and it takes you to some amazingly beautiful and dramatic places that you would otherwise never come across." While ticking off his 15th round of Munros, Steve is now also aiming to compleat a round of the smaller Scottish mountains called Corbetts.

What are the Corbetts?

Corbetts are Scottish mountains with a summit height of between 2,500ft  (762m) and 2999ft (913m) and there are 221 of them. Corbett bagging is a popular pursuit for people who have already completed a Munro round. In many cases the Corbetts can be a tougher challenge because they are less well-walked. Then come the Grahams. These are Scottish hills with a summit of between 2000ft and 2499ft. These hills, whether Munros, Corbetts or Grahams, offer an ideal goal for all kinds of walkers.

First Munros for starters

There are "easier" Munros, some of which have a starting point of several hundred metres above sea level, and offer a have a well-defined trail to the top. Check out the Munro, Carn Aosad, or The Cairnwell and Glas Maol. There are others that present a big challenge, such as the infamous ridge walk along the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe  or the Cuillin Ridge, on the Isle of Skye. Most people who attempt these lofty and remote peaks require a guide, or at least a large amount of experience. In between, there are a host of other mountains to suit all fitness levels, desires and abilities. The daddy of them all is Ben Nevis, which is the highest mountain in all of the UK.

Walk a Munro or two in 2012

Whether you live in Scotland or further afield why not challenge yourself to walk a Munro or two in 2012? It takes most walkers many, many years to compleat a round of 283 Munros and no-one is saying you have to walk them all in record-breaking time.  We reckon that once you have walked a few you’ll be hooked by the Munro bagging bug. Please do tell us about your Munro bagging endeavours and adventures.