How do you bag your Munros?

The joy of bagging a Munro. Friends on Ben Chonzie.

Munro bagging is increasingly popular, but how do you go about bagging your rounds? Are you a banker, a golfer or even a blagger?

Most walkers in Scotland will be aware of the Munros. And many people enjoy the goal of bagging these 282 mountains with a summit of at least 3,000ft.

Records kept by the Scottish Mountaineering Club reveal that almost 5,690 Munro walkers have compleated (that’s the correct term for walking a full round) a first round to date.

A growing number of people are also going on to walk two or three rounds and some people have completed even more rounds.

The record breaking Munros compleatist is Steve Fallon, who has walked an impressive 15 rounds and is rumoured to be close to his 16th compleation.

For the ladies, Hazel Strachan is the current Munro rounds chart leader with six rounds, although she is yet to overtake the first record-breaker, the late Geraldine Guest-Smith who was the first to reach six Munro circuits. Hazel, of Bathgate, West Lothian, has her sights set on her seventh round by October 2015.

Another committed Munro bagger is Anne Butler, of Aviemore. She has recorded five rounds to date but has another challenge in mind that will, she hopes, see her compleat rounds six and seven in tandem by 2016.

Munro bankers and golfers

Although Munroists are a friendly bunch there are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to walking the rounds.

There are “golfers”, who walk every round from Munro one to Munro 282. These can be walked in any order and over any length of time but the aim of each round is to tick off all 282 Munros one after the other.

Then there are “bankers”, who walk multiple rounds at once. They could walk one Munro twice and “bank” this extra Munro summit for their second round. Or, during the course of walking one full round, they might hike to the top of some Munros several times and bank these extra Munros for several subsequent rounds (if they end up walking that many circuits).

If you ask a Munro compleatist who is on their second – or more – round they will immediately tell you whether they are a golfer or banker. Of our two female Munro rounds leaders, Hazel is firmly a golfer, while Anne is a banker.

The SMC does not stipulate how people should walk Munros and so it is up to the individual to decide how they will walk each round.

Hazel compleats her sixth Munro round.

Hazel compleats her sixth Munro round.

Hazel, who has walked a round of Munros every year since 2010 as well as two previous rounds, says: “I wouldn’t say people were right or wrong to be a banker or a golfer, but I prefer to take the purist approach.

“I start each round with a clean slate and in 2010 to 2014 I walked a full round in roughly a year each time. I began my seventh round before Christmas and I hope to compleat by October 2015, all going well. I love the simplicity of walking and I enjoy the goal of the Munros. I never get bored with walking these mountains and it’s my treat after a hard week of working to grab every chance at the weekends and in holidays to walk.”

Going for the full house

After walking five Munro rounds Anne, who is always accompanied by her faithful bagging dog Mollie, has decided to change tack. She says: “I love walking and I really enjoy the planning aspect of the routes and getting to the top. But after walking five Munro rounds I have decided I want to do things a bit differently. I wanted a new challenge and now I plan to compleat rounds six and seven as part of a bigger goal: a Full House.”

The Full House refers to all the mountains and hills that qualify as Munros, Munro tops, Furths, Corbetts, Grahams and Donalds.



Definition of the hill groups

If you aren’t sure, here are the hill bagging categories.

Munros: The 282 Scottish mountains with a summit of at least 3,000ft

Munro tops: A Scottish summit that is not regarded as a separate mountain and which is over 3,000ft. There are 227 subsidiary tops.

Corbetts: A Scottish mountain between 2,500 and 3,000ft with a prominence of at least 500ft. (That is a drop on all sides of at least 500ft).

Grahams: A Scottish mountain between 2,000ft and 2,499ft, with a drop of at least 150 metres (492 feet) all round.

Donalds: Mountains in the Scottish Lowlands over 2,000ft.

Furths: The mountains in Great Britain and Ireland that would be Munros if they were in Scotland. There are 34 Furths in total – six in England, 15 in Wales and 13 in Ireland.

Ann on Garbh Beinn.

Anne on Garbh Beinn.

Anne already has a round of Corbetts under her belt. Hazel has two rounds of Donalds to her name.

Anne says: “In 2015 and 2016, I plan to finish all the Tops, the Furths, Grahams and Donalds and also my sixth and seventh round of Munros. I’d like to finish my seventh Munros round and the Full House, too. To have a new challenge is exciting and I am already busy planning how I will do all the walks. It’s the whole package that I like, the planning, arranging with friends and the walking.”

And then there’s the Munro blagger

Bobby Motherwell is walking the Munros for charity – but with his tongue firmly in his cheek he won’t quite make it to the top of any of them.

Bobby, of Howwood, Renfrewshire, explains: “My not quite getting to the top of hills started a while back on Arran. I was enjoying a weekend with the Paisley Hillwalking Club and while most people were walkers I was a climber.

Bobby Motherwell, aka the Munro Blagger.

Bobby Motherwell, aka the Munro Blagger.

“My priority was to get to the climbs as quickly as possible and to get my rope out. A few of us climbers were heading towards North Goatfell with the intention of dropping back down the other side and heading to Chir Mhor where the beautiful Arran rock is at its most majestic.

“My climbing buddies and I stopped just short of the summit where the path descended towards Chir Mhor. We rested long enough for some of the hillwalkers to catch us up.

“One of them asked if we were not ‘going to the top’, pointing to the summit 50ft above us. Eric piped up: ‘Bobby’s not a getting to the top kinda guy.’ The reputation stuck and when I was looking for a way to raise funds for a charity close to my heart, Finding Your Feet, I thought the Munro Blagger was perfect.”

To date, Bobby has “blagged” 39 of the 282 Munros. He says: “There is no firm rule as to how close or otherwise I need to be from the summit, but as a general rule I should be at least within five minutes of the top and preferably have a view of the summit cairn.”

Bobby, who is 53, has a target to raise £2,000 for Finding Your Feet and to compleat by the time he’s 55. You can support him at Just Giving and find out more at the Munro Bagger.

So tell us how you bag your Munros.



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