A slightly self-indulgent post this one, focussing on what I believe are the biggest plusses to Munro bagging. If you are thinking about starting, you don’t need to set out with the intention to climb them all. I certainly didn’t, but beware, when you start, the bug is soon to bite and it can become a bit of an obsession…
1) Getting out in the fresh air
There is nothing better than being outdoors. It is proven to help with your mental health, keeps you healthy and helps you gain perspective on life’s challenges. Especially now with the various lock downs and travel restrictions, getting out into the fresh air is ever more important. Even if it is not to climb a hill.
2) List Ticking
Lets be honest, without a list, is it really Munro Bagging? I love the feeling of accomplishment that you get after a long hill day to come home and update your log. I always do this and then start planning the next one! Check out my post on how to log your Munros.
3) The Views
Having never climbed in the high mountains, I don’t have much to compare to, but I think the views from the high Scottish tops rival anywhere in the world. They are my favourite place to just exist, no phone, no email, just me, the top and the breeze – perfect. My day in the Mamores was one such day.
4) The Challenge
Climbing over a vertical kilometre for most of the Munros is challenging. There are no two ways about it, whether its your fitness, the terrain or the weather, no Munro climb is without its challenges. Overcoming these challenges throughout the day fills me with an overwhelmingly positive outlook and sense of achievement.
Bagging the Munros includes travelling to far flung places and parts of Scotland. These are places I doubt I would normally visit. I always try and put a little into the local economy when I am there, so its good for the locals too! Scotland is an amazing place, and Munro Bagging gives me the opportunity to explore a bit more of it.
6) It’s a little bit crazy
When you tell the guys in the office or your friends that you spent your weekend conquering a 3,000 ft mountain, you tend to get a few strange looks. Whilst most people will have walked in the countryside, some may have even climbed a Munro or two, not a huge number of people actively seek out hills in all weathers to tick them off a list. I can see why sometimes Munro Baggers are labelled as crazy…
7) Trying New Things
Similar to the travel point above, Munro Bagging has given me opportunities to do things that I otherwise would not have done. I’ve scrambled in the hills and ridges above Glencoe, I’ve camped in the Hidden Valley and I’ve learnt a wide variety of skills that I would not have had a need for without bagging Munros.
If there is one thing that Munro Bagging has taught me, it is that it pays to be self reliant. Being responsible for your own equipment, the planning, your nutrition, navigation, clothing choices, the list goes on and on. As you become more comfortable in the hills and wild places, you come to realise that whatever the day throws at you, generally, are equipped with the skills, knowledge and equipment to deal with any eventuality. Although over-confidence can sometimes come and bite you on the ass…
I think if all Munro Baggers are honest with themselves, all of us are addicted to our equipment. Just a little bit. The boots, the rucksacks, the jackets, if so inclined, you could spend an awful lot of money on outdoor equipment. Who’s to say that’s not money well spent?
There is no argument that walking in the outdoors and specifically climbing Munros helps keep you fit (granted if you then go home and tan 12 beers and smoke a 20 packet of cigarettes, I can’t vouch for your fitness). But for those of us who want it, Munro Bagging can be the central part of a fitness regime that will keep you trim and healthy well into your life. In my opinion there is no way better to keep fit than climbing a hill or two regularly.