The G-Force bags his Munro Round
It was wet. Very wet. The views were almost non-existent. But the day of walking was one of the best ever. Accompanied by 25 friends and family, the G-Force bagged the final Munro of his first full Munro round. In contrast to the rather deflated Munro bagger a few weeks ago, his mood could not have been more buoyant (especially after the celebratory Champagne at the summit!)
At around 11am on Saturday a highly waterproofed group of us set off to walk Ben Chonzie, near Comrie, Perthshire. This is an easier Munro by Munro standards but for some people it was their first such mountain walk and so the aim was to take it slowly and try to walk as a group as much as possible. The G-Force’s dad, John, was hiking his first Munro, as was Little Miss Outdoors, Wispa the Wonder Whippet and Paddy the Super Spaniel. A few people were walking only their second Munro.
We had hoped that the rain might lift (especially as the rest of the UK was basking in a heat wave) but it only became wetter and more misty as we climbed higher. Fortunately the rain didn’t dampen the mood of our group and while we walked the chat was fun, friendly and spirit lifting. Most people commented on how incredible it seems to walk all 283/2 (still not official) mountains of more than 3,000ft (914m). When the G-Force began his round there were actually 284 Munros but over the past few years one (and maybe two) Munros have been re-measured and proclaimed Corbetts (mountains with a summit more than 2,500ft).
At the outset the G-Force had walked 100 Munros in just six months. He had found himself a hobby that he loved and very little could get in his way of walking Munros every weekend. He then met me and he was fond (I hope it’s fond!) of saying that I slowed his Munro mission because I have a tendancy to suggest other great outdoors activities to do at weekends and so the G-Force ended up side-lining his Munros on occasions. But he still walked Munros and he has achieved a reasonably fast first round of less than three years.
During my time of knowing him my Munros’ tally is somewhere near 100! I’m not convinced I’ll become as addicted to the Munro challenge as the G-Force has been but I’ve certainly loved the challenge of the Munros and seeing so many new places in Scotland. I plan to continue walking the Munros when it fits in around my other outdoors hobbies.
The G-Force has walked a great number of the Munros solo. He has become an excellent navigator and he’s fortunate that he’s only once faced a very dangerous situation (when we were airlifted from an avalanching Munro snow slope). Over the years he’s joined, and been joined, by many of his friends on Munro walks. And as tradition has it, on Saturday while walking his last Munro many of these friends were with the G-Force to help him reach the final goal.
At the summit, numerous bottles of Champagne were unpacked form heavy rucksacks, along with hip flasks of whisky. The G-Force’s climbing club from Cumbernauld presented him with an inscribed hip flask. I gave him a special t-shirt and a poem – When Loves Gets in The Way of a Munro Round.
The G-Force was genuinely moved. He said later that it was fantastic to be able to celebrate his achievement with some of his closest friends – and also his dad who is in his mid-60s and was delighted to have walked his first Munro. (The celebrations went on until the early hours of the next morning in a pub in nearby St Fillans.)
This was my first time at the top of a mountain with a Munro compleatist (that is the proper spelling, apparently!). I am so proud of the G-Force’s achievement, although I do worry about what he’ll plan for his next challenge! All the highest peaks on each continent? A non-stop Munro round? All the Corbetts?
I was also very proud of Little Miss Outdoors and Wispa the Wonder Whippet. Despite my daughter’s reservations before setting off to walk Ben Chonzie (I’m not fit enough, It’ll be wet, It’ll hurt, I don’t like heights etc) she was a superb walker. We enjoyed our time together and the chance to chat without interruptions. We loved having our dog with us. And we can look back on this day: When the G-Force wlaked his last Munro, and my daughter walked her first. This is what Scotland’s great outdoors is all about.