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Glen Shiel Munro photograph
Munro Bagger descending A’Chralaig with the south Glen Shiel ridge in the distance.

What is Munro Bagging?

Munro bagging is the activity of climbing to the summit of every mountain in Scotland that is classified as a Munro. A Munro is a Scottish mountain that is at least 3,000 feet (914.4 meters) high, with a prominence of at least 500 feet (152.4 meters) or “sufficient separation” between the 3000ft tops.

The term “Munro bagging” comes from the idea of “bagging” or ticking off each Munro that a person climbs, similar to collecting stamps or coins. Many people set themselves the goal of climbing all the Munros, either as a personal challenge or as part of a group or club.

Munro bagging is a popular activity in Scotland, with thousands of people attempting to climb all the Munros every year. It can be a challenging and rewarding experience, requiring a good level of fitness, navigation skills, and preparation. Munro baggers often face varying weather conditions and terrain, which can range from easy to very challenging, depending on the specific mountain.
The 1st person known to become a “completer” of all the Munros although did not climb the Inn Pinn, was Rev A E Robertson in 1901.
There are now more than 7000 known entries logged on the completers section of the SMC website. There is no time scale or order in completing all the Munros, some people take over 10 – 20 years and others within 5.
The fastest known time that they have been climbed (self powered between them and up them) was previously held by Donnie Campbell in 31 days, 23 hours, 2 minutes, 1st August to 2nd September 2020, this time was subsequently broken by Jamie Aarons on 26th June 2023 in a time of 31 days 10 hours 27 minutes.

Sir Hugh Munro

Sir Hugh Munro
The very man himself - Sir Hugh Munro

Sir Hugh Munro was a Scottish mountaineer and landowner who is best known for his creation of the first list of all the mountains in Scotland with a height of over 3,000 feet (914.4 meters) and “sufficient separation” between them. This list became known as the Munros and has since become a popular target for climbers and hikers who aim to summit all of them, known as “Munro bagging”.

Sir Hugh Munro was born in London in 1856, but he spent much of his childhood and adult life in Scotland. He inherited the family estate of Lindertis in Angus in 1895, and it was during his time as a landowner that he became interested in climbing the mountains of Scotland. He compiled his list of 3,000-foot mountains in 1891 and published it in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal.

Munro continued to be an active climber throughout his life and was involved in many pioneering ascents in the Scottish mountains.  He died on 19 March 1919 in Tarascon aged 63, during the post-war influenza pandemic. He is buried on the family estate of Lindertis near Kirriemuir in Angus.

Munro Bagging In Summer

Munro bagging in summer. Climbing Ben Wyvis
Ascending Ben Wyvis in the sun.

Munro bagging in summer can be a fantastic experience, with longer days and generally more pleasant weather conditions. Here are some tips for Munro bagging in summer:

1. Check the weather forecast: While summer weather can be more predictable than winter weather, it’s still important to check the forecast before setting out. Thunderstorms and high winds can still occur in the summer, so be prepared for all possibilities.

2. Wear appropriate clothing: Even in the summer, the weather can change quickly in the mountains, so bring warm layers and a waterproof jacket and trousers. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing to stay cool and comfortable in warm temperatures. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.

3. Bring plenty of water and snacks: Dehydration is a real risk in the summer, so bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy levels up. Consider using a hydration bladder or water bottle with a filter to ensure you have access to clean water.

4. Protect your skin: The sun can be intense at higher elevations, so wear sunscreen and consider a hat or headband to protect your face and neck. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day.

5. Choose your routes carefully: Some Munros are more challenging than others, so choose routes that match your fitness level and experience. Consider the length and elevation gain of the hike, as well as any technical difficulties or exposure to the elements.

6. Bring a map and compass: While summer conditions are generally more favorable for navigation, it’s still important to bring a map and compass and know how to use them. A GPS device can also be helpful as a backup.

7. Respect the environment: Summer is a busy time in the Scottish mountains, so be respectful of other hikers and the environment. Follow Leave No Trace principles and be mindful of your impact on the natural world.

Remember, summer Munro bagging can be a wonderful experience, but it still requires careful planning and preparation. With the right gear and mindset, you can enjoy the beautiful Scottish mountains to the fullest.

Munro Bagging In Winter

winter munro bagging
A fine winters day on the hill.

Munro bagging in winter can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but it requires careful preparation and planning. Here are some tips for Munro bagging in winter:

1. Check the weather forecast: Winter weather conditions can be unpredictable, so check the weather forecast and plan your route accordingly. Avoid hiking or climbing in high winds, heavy snow, or other dangerous conditions.

2. Dress in layers: Wear warm, moisture-wicking base layers, an insulating layer, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Choose high-quality materials, such as Gore-Tex, Pertex etc that will keep you warm and dry. Don’t forget to bring extra clothing layers and gear in case of unexpected weather changes.

3. Use appropriate equipment: Make sure your hiking boots have good ankle support and are waterproof and warm. Use crampons and ice axes when necessary to safely navigate icy and snowy terrain. Take an emergency storm shelter as a matter of caution.

4. Bring enough food and water: You will need more energy in cold weather, so bring enough food and water to sustain you throughout your hike or climb. Bring a thermos with a hot drink to warm you up along the way.

5. Use a headtorch: With fewer daylight hours in winter, you may need to use a headtorch to navigate the trail in the dark. Make sure you have extra batteries and bring a backup light source.

6. Know your limits: Winter conditions can be challenging, so be honest about your physical abilities and experience level. Choose routes that match your skill level and always prioritize safety over summiting a Munro.

7. Consider hiring a guide: If you’re new to winter hiking or climbing, consider hiring a guide or taking a course to learn essential winter mountaineering skills.

Remember, winter Munro bagging requires careful planning, preparation, and an awareness of the risks and challenges involved. Stay safe and enjoy the beautiful winter landscapes of the Scottish mountains.

Munro Bagging Clothing

When hiking or climbing Munros, it’s important to wear appropriate clothing that will keep you comfortable and protected in a range of weather conditions. Here are some tips on what to wear:

1. Base layers: Start with a moisture-wicking base layer that will keep you dry and comfortable. Choose synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, or merino wool, which is naturally breathable and odor-resistant.

2. Insulation: Add an insulating layer, such as a fleece or down jacket, to keep you warm in cold weather. Make sure it’s lightweight and packable, so you can easily stow it in your backpack when you don’t need it.

3. Waterproof and windproof layer: Wear a waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers to protect you from rain, snow, and wind. Look for jackets and trousers made from Gore-Tex or similar materials, which are breathable and will keep you dry and comfortable.

4. Headwear: Wear a hat or headband to protect your head and ears from the cold, and bring a waterproof hat or hood to protect you from rain.

5. Gloves: Wear gloves or mittens to protect your hands from the cold, and choose a waterproof and windproof option if you expect wet or windy conditions.

6. Footwear: Wear hiking boots with good ankle support and a waterproof and breathable membrane to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Make sure they’re broken in before you start your hike.

7. Accessories: Bring a backpack to carry your extra layers, food, water, and other essentials. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and glare, and use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Remember, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, so bring extra layers and gear if you’re unsure about the conditions you’ll encounter on your Munro bagging journey.

Munro Bagging Navigation

Silva compass on Harveys map
Silva Compass and Harvey map.

Navigation is an important skill when hiking or climbing Munros, as the mountain environment can be complex and difficult to navigate. The following are some tips for navigating Munros:

1. Familiarize yourself with the route: Before setting out, study the route and make sure you have a good understanding of the terrain, landmarks, and any potential hazards along the way. It can be helpful to use a map, guidebook and this website to plan your route.

2. Carry a map and compass: Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Make sure your map is up-to-date and accurate, and that you have a compass that is in good working order. In addition, it can be helpful to carry a GPS device with the route marked on it as a backup.

3. Pay attention to the terrain: Keep an eye on the terrain around you and use it to navigate. Look for natural landmarks, such as streams, lakes, and rock formations, that can help you stay on course. Be aware of any changes in the terrain that might indicate a deviation from your planned route. 

4. Use your senses: Use your senses to help you navigate. Listen for the sound of running water, which can indicate the location of a stream or river, if visible keep an eye on the suns position as it can give a good indication of your direction of travel. There is a great book on natural navigation by Tristan Gooley  HERE

5. Stay alert: Stay alert and focused at all times, and be prepared to make adjustments to your route as needed. Don’t be afraid to retrace your steps if you become lost or unsure of your location.

Remember, navigation is a skill that takes practice, so make sure to hone your skills by practicing in a safe environment before tackling more challenging Munros.

Munro Bagging Camping

What a view! Summer evening sunset from a tent.

Camping is a popular way to experience Munro bagging, allowing you to spend multiple days in the Scottish mountains and enjoy the stunning scenery. Here are some tips for Munro bagging camping:

1. Choose your camping spot carefully:  Camping next to a fast flowing stream may look good, but the noise of the water at may drive you mad! Think of the weather, wind direction etc, locate your tent in safe and sheltered area.

2. Bring appropriate camping gear: In addition to your hiking gear, you will need a sturdy and lightweight tent, a warm sleeping bag, and a comfortable sleeping pad. You may also want to bring a camping stove and cooking supplies.

3. Follow Leave No Trace principles: When camping in the mountains, it’s important to leave no trace of your presence. Pack out all your trash and waste, and avoid damaging the natural environment by following Leave No Trace principles.

4. Be prepared for changing weather conditions: The Scottish mountains can experience rapidly changing weather conditions, so be prepared for all possibilities. Bring warm and waterproof clothing, as well as extra layers in case of unexpected cold or rain.

5. Plan your meals and water supply: Make sure you have enough food and water for your entire trip, and plan your meals and snacks accordingly. Consider using a water filtration system or water purification tablets to ensure access to clean drinking water.

6. Respect other campers: If you’re camping in a designated campsite, be respectful of other campers and keep noise levels down. If you’re camping in the wild remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles.

Remember, camping can add a whole new dimension to your Munro bagging experience, allowing you to spend more time in the mountains and fully immerse yourself in the stunning Scottish landscape. With careful planning and preparation, you can enjoy a safe and rewarding camping trip while bagging the Munros.

Munro Bagging Bothies

Bothies are simple, often remote shelters in the Scottish mountains that provide basic accommodation for hikers and climbers. They can be a great option for Munro bagging, allowing you to spend a night or two in the mountains without having to carry a heavy tent and camping gear. However, it’s important to keep in mind that bothies are often quite basic and require a certain level of self-sufficiency. Here are some tips for Munro bagging with bothies:

1. Check the location of the bothies: Bothies are scattered throughout the Scottish mountains, but not all of them are conveniently located for Munro bagging. Check the location of the bothies in relation to your planned routes, and make sure you have enough time to reach them before dark.

2. Pack appropriate gear: While bothies provide basic shelter, they don’t usually have bedding or cooking facilities. Bring a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and cooking gear as well as your hiking gear.

3. Respect other users: Bothies are communal spaces, so be respectful of other users and follow any rules or guidelines posted inside the bothy. Leave the bothy clean and tidy when you leave, and be considerate of other users’ needs for space and privacy.

4. Be prepared for changing weather conditions: Bothies are usually unheated and can be exposed to the elements, so be prepared for changing weather conditions. Bring warm and waterproof clothing, and consider bringing extra layers or a portable stove for warmth.

5. Follow Leave No Trace principles: Like camping, bothy use requires a commitment to Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all your trash and waste, and avoid damaging the natural environment.

6. Some bothies can be very popular, especially during peak hiking season.

Remember, bothies can be a great option for Munro bagging, but they require a certain level of self-sufficiency and respect for other users. With the right gear and mindset, you can enjoy a safe and rewarding bothy experience while bagging Munros.

Munro Bagging Scottish Access Rights

access rights in Scotland

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is a set of guidelines designed to help people access and enjoy Scotland’s outdoors responsibly and safely. The Code is based on three key principles: respect for the rights of others, care for the environment, and responsible behaviour.

If you’re planning to go Munro bagging in Scotland, it’s important to be familiar with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and to follow its guidelines. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Access rights: In Scotland, everyone has the right to access most land and inland water, providing they do so responsibly and in accordance with the Code. This includes access to most Munros, but there are some exceptions such as military training areas and some privately owned land.

2. Responsible behaviour: When accessing Scotland’s outdoors, it’s important to act responsibly and not cause harm to the environment or other people. This includes taking care not to damage vegetation or disturb wildlife, avoiding littering and pollution, and being considerate of other people’s privacy and peace of mind.

3. Dogs: If you’re bringing a dog with you when Munro bagging, it’s important to keep it under control at all times and to clean up after it. In some areas, dogs may need to be kept on a lead to protect wildlife or livestock.

4. Wild camping: Wild camping is permitted in most parts of Scotland, but it’s important to follow the guidelines set out in the Code. This includes camping responsibly and leaving no trace, avoiding sensitive areas such as farmland or areas with high conservation value, and keeping groups small.

5. Access restrictions: While most land in Scotland is accessible under the Code, there may be some areas where access is restricted. This may include military training areas or areas with high conservation value. Always check local access restrictions before setting out.

By following the guidelines set out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, you can help to ensure that Scotland’s outdoors remain accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Munro Bagging During Stalking Season

Munro bagging during stalking season (usually from late August to early October) requires extra precautions and awareness due to the potential presence of deer stalking and grouse shooting. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you plan to go Munro bagging during stalking season:

1. Check the local area for stalking activity: Before you set out on your hike, check the local area for any planned stalking activity. You can do this by contacting the local estate office or checking online for any updates or notices.

2. Wear bright and visible clothing: It’s important to wear bright and visible clothing during stalking season, such as high-visibility vests or bright colors. This will help to make you more visible to stalkers and reduce the risk of any accidents.

3. Follow any local guidelines or advice: If there are any specific guidelines or advice for Munro bagging during stalking season in your local area, make sure to follow them carefully. This may include sticking to certain routes or avoiding certain areas altogether.

4. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings: When hiking during stalking season, it’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep an eye out for signs of stalking activity, such as stalking beaters or vehicles, and listen out for any warning shots or whistles.

5. Be respectful of local traditions and customs: Deer stalking and grouse shooting are important traditions in Scotland, so it’s important to be respectful of these customs and avoid any unnecessary disruption or interference.

6. Consider hiking in alternative areas: If you’re concerned about the potential risks of hiking during stalking season, consider hiking in alternative areas where there is no known stalking activity.

Remember, Munro bagging during stalking season requires extra precautions and awareness, but with careful planning and preparation, you can still enjoy a safe and rewarding hiking experience.

Munro Weather Conditions

The weather conditions on Munros can vary greatly depending on the time of year, the altitude of the mountain, and the specific location of the Munro.

In general, the weather on Munros can be unpredictable and can change quickly. It is important for hikers and climbers to be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions, including rain, wind, snow, and even sunny days. It is also important for hikers and climbers to be aware of the potential hazards of the mountain environment, such as rockfall, avalanches, and hypothermia.

Before embarking on a hike or climb of a Munro, it is recommended to check the local weather forecast and to be prepared with appropriate clothing, equipment, and provisions. It is also advisable to let someone know your planned route and expected return time, in case of an emergency.

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