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What Is Munro Bagging?

‘Munro bagging’ might be a term that is already very familiar to you. Or maybe it is somewhere on the periphery of your radar, especially if you are the outdoors type, but you are unclear of its exact meaning or origin. Here is a guide to what the term means, for those who are unsure, or have never heard of it before!

A Munro is a mountain in Scotland which is over 3000ft; there are 282 Munros altogether. To put this into some context, a mountain is classified by the UK government as a peak over 2000ft. England only has six mountains over 3000ft; the highest being Scafell Pike in the Lake District, measuring 3,209ft.

So you can see that Scotland is richly blessed with uplands to explore. When a person has scaled a Munro, they have ‘bagged’ the mountain, hence the term ‘Munro bagging.’ Some people take on the personal challenge to bag all 282 within a certain timeframe, or just simply fit them in when time allows in order to enjoy the endless beauty of Scotland.

A person who has bagged all 282 Munros is known as a Munroist, and can enjoy the respect of hill walkers everywhere. But where did the term originate? It was all started by Sir Hugh Munro (1856-1919), who was a founding member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC). In 1891, he made a list of all the mountains in Scotland over 3000ft.

He accomplished this feat through a combination of personal knowledge of the mountains, and avid consultation of large-scale Ordnance Survey maps. The original number of peaks over 3000ft on the list was 283, but since its compilation, the measuring techniques have been called into question, and the number has fluctuated slightly over the years.

It is thought the term ‘Munro bagging’ was popularised during the 1970s, when Hamish Brown published an account of his hike around all the Munros. Since then, ‘Munro bagging’ has become everything from a pleasant hobby to a lifetimes’ challenge.

The highest Munro of them all is of course Ben Nevis, which is 4,413 ft above sea level, making it the highest mountain in the UK. Scaling Ben Nevis is a bucket list achievement for many walkers; the awe-inspiring peak has held a fascination for generations of locals and visitors alike.

Evidence suggests that Ben Nevis was once an ancient volcano, which has been shaped over millennia by glacial eroding. Despite its majestic size, the peak does have an accessible zig-zagging path to the summit, known simply as the Mountain Track, which attracts thousands of walkers each year.

For those who are looking for more of a challenge, there is a steeper route to the summit known as the Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête. This is best suited to more experienced mountaineers who are reasonably fit, and can cope with some rocky scrambles.

At the summit of Ben Nevis, you will of course find stunning views, and also discover the ruins of an old observatory, which was used until the early 1900s to study the mountain climate. For a Ben Nevis guided walk, please contact us today.

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