Join the SMR Munro Challenge

Bag a Munro: Chris Tiso, left with former SMR chair Jonathan Hart and Neil Boyd, of Ian Macleod Distillers.

Bag a Munro: Chris Tiso, left with former SMR chair Jonathan Hart and Neil Boyd, of Ian Macleod Distillers.

Scots of all walking abilities are being urged to take a hike to raise vital funds for Scottish Mountain Rescue.

The SMR Munro Challenge this September calls for walkers to climb one of the 282 Scottish mountains with a summit of more than 3,000ft.

The Munros range from an easy one-hour hike, such as The Cairnwell, Glen Shee, to epic multi-day outings to the Munros of Knoydart or the Isle of Skye.

All sponsorship money will go to buying equipment and training for the dozens of rescue teams across Scotland.

As rescue incidents increase in Scottish mountains, the fund-raising campaign is a lifeline for the charity that is run entirely by volunteers.

The Munro Challenge is also the launch of a three-year initiative with sponsors Isle of Skye 8 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky and support from outdoors retailer Tiso.

In addition, Ian Macleod Distillers, owners of Isle of Skye whisky, are selling a special UK edition SMR whisky with 15p from every bottle sale going direct to the charity.

Tiso’s long history with SMR started with company founder, the now deceased Graham Tiso, who played an instrumental role in the setting up of the rescue charity.

More recently, the Tiso family were also grateful for the assistance of the SMR when son Donald sadly fell to his death on the Munro, Ben Starav, near Oban.

Still reeling from the  loss, his brother Chris, the chief executive of 21 Scottish Tiso stores, wants as many Scots as possible to join the Munro fund-raiser.

Chris said: “Scotland’s countryside offer lots of fantastic adventures for all kinds of people.

“And what happened to Donald will not stop me from going out and enjoying the mountains.

“But sadly accidents do happen, as my family have learned to their huge cost.

“We should all be grateful for what the SMR give to our country in terms of their time and expertise.

“The teams do a tremendous job and with great modesty and professionalism.

“By signing up for the challenge you are literally helping the volunteers with every step that you take.”

Launch day: SMR team up with Ian Macleod Distillers at Ben Nevis for the Munro Challenge.

Launch day: SMR team up with Ian Macleod Distillers at Ben Nevis for the Munro Challenge.

Chris hopes to make a couple of dates with the Munros in September. He has promised his seven-year-old son Angus that they will walk to the summit of Ben Nevis.

He will also hike the infamously tough Glencoe ridge, the Aonach Eagach, with a former school friend.

The Munro Challenge will offer a lifeline to a charity that relies on donations for 70% of its annual finance.

It costs £1.2m annually to run Scottish Mountain Rescue, which comprises 24 volunteer teams and two Search and Rescue Dog Associations (SARDA) with more than 1000 volunteers.

They work alongside three police teams, two RAF teams and Scottish Cave Rescue.

Over the past few years there has been an increase in mountaineering incidents across Scotland with around 600 rescues a year.

Alastair Rose is chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue Resource Group and a member of Killin Mountain Rescue Team.

He said:  “SMR is an invaluable part of Scotland’s great outdoors environment –  and it is run entirely voluntarily.

“On many occasions, these volunteers will brave the elements and risk their lives to help others.

“We are delighted that the Munro Challenge will be taking place and will help with much-needed funds so that teams have access to training and new equipment.

“We urge as many people as possible to sign up to the fund-raiser and make a difference.”



Join the Munro Challenge

The inaugural Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky Munro Challenge is open to everyone. To take part, simply register before 17 August at www.isleofskyewhisky.com/munro-challenge

You will be given details of how to raise funds through the group Just Giving page or setting up your own. Every entrant will receive a branded flag to fly at the top of their chosen Munro in September.

Pictures of the summit flags can be posted to a dedicated Facebook gallery www.facebook.com/IsleofSkyeWhisky

All money raised will go directly to the SMR charity, the team and volunteers.

10 easier Munros to walk

There are 282 Munros spread across Scotland and while some present a huge challenge others are an easier walk.

It is, however, important that you treat every hill and mountain with respect. The weather in Scotland is also notoriously fickle.

All walkers should be prepared for a range of weather and know how to use a map and compass. It is also a good idea to tell someone who isn’t walking where you will be.

The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda

Starting at high-level Glenshee Ski Centre these two Munros can be walked in just two hours and over a distance of just 3 miles (5km). The total ascent is 1,400ft (430m).

Ben Chonzie

A 7.5-mile walk with an ascent of 2450ft, this Perthshire Munro offers a lovely walk on a fine summer’s day and should only take a morning or an afternoon. There’s a path all the way to the top.

Schiehallion

Another Perthshire Munro, Schiehallion offers an easily navigable trail almost to the top. The rocky summit requires care and attention, especially in poor weather. The total walk is 5.5 miles and 2,500ft of ascent.

Beinn Ime and Narnain

Located in the Arrochar Alps on the western side of Loch Lomond, Beinn Ime is an easy-ish ascent that is mostly on well-laid trail. The route becomes a little more sketchy as you approach the summit. You can return to the high bealach to then walk a second Munro Beinn Narnain. Ime and Narnain equal around 7 miles of walking and 4,300ft of ascent.

Mount Keen

This Munro, located south of Ballater, presents a fairly easy day out with 2,250ft of ascent over 10 miles. Mount Keen is also the most easterly Munro.

Dreish and Mayar

You can walk these two Angus-based Munros in half a day. The paths are well-laid and the views are superb. You’ll walk just 8 miles and an ascent of 2,7000ft for the two Munros.

Ben Lomond

The most southerly of the Munros, Ben Lomond is a popular walk. A seven-mile hike to the summit and back includes 3,200ft of ascent.

Tell us if you plan to take part in the Munro Challenge and where you will walk.



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