On a high: ‘Only’ 99 Munros to bag
When I met the G-Force I had walked only a handful of Munros. In fact, on the very day that we first clapped eyes on each other I added three summits to my tally and boosted my Munro bagging tally by about 20%.
Six years later and I have 99 Munros left to walk of the 282 total. I never envisaged this happening and I really didn’t have any great plans to compleat (correct spelling) a round.
I knew, from my walk of the Five Sisters of Kintail back in 2009, that I had found an outdoors activity that I very much enjoyed. I had been more of a short-distance runner and cyclist until that point but I discovered there was something very rewarding about the challenge of hiking for a full day up and down big Scottish mountains.
When the G-Force and I then got together as friends and then partners I spent a couple of years following him up Munros. He was keen to bag a full round and I was happy to follow. I found that I enjoyed being out in the mountains and I learned a lot about navigating and hill safety.
But even when the G-Force finished his first round on Ben Chonzie in the autumn of 2011 I still had no intentions of compleating a round myself. For the next couple of years, we walked more Munros but more as a passing hobby that we could do together.
The G-Force became a dedicated climber and I concentrated on triathlon. Yet, when we did walk a Munro I usually chose to walk a new one.
Reaching the half way mark
Last summer I decided to make a list of all the Munros I had walked. I realised, without trying to do so, that I had walked more than half of the full 282 summits. And that’s when I started to become a little more focused.
There was something about reaching the half-way point that made me want to finish all of the Munros.
Since then I have been aiming to hike 182 Munros so that I had 100 left to walk. This felt like a bit of a milestone.
Now I have only 99 to hike
This weekend I walked the 182nd and then the 183rd Munros in my own bagging list. It felt incredible to think I was this far into my first round.
Yet, when I say that I have only 99 to hike this is still a huge challenge. Many of the Munros are a long and tough hike and I have already walked most of the “easier” 3,000ft-ers.
I now have some epic Munros to hike. There are Munros in very inaccessible locations and the mighty (and scary) Cuillin Munros to tick off on Skye. The next 99 could easily take me years yet I still feel proud of what I have achieved so far.
A round of the Munros is not an easy challenge but it does feel like I might one day realise it.