Until recently, I had not been paying much attention to the Corbetts. I know I had walked a few as random outings, such as Ben Ledi because it’s a fabulous and accessible route; the Cobbler, because it is close to home and close to two Munros in the Arrochar Alps; and Ben Vrackie, well, just because I spotted it on a map one day and fancied it.
But, in the main, I have been ticking off Munros. I have actually been bagging Munros for about a decade and I have just 25 left in my first round. The problem is that most of these Munros are in the far north-west of Scotland and they require commitment of time, as well as a favourable weather window. I will get to them in due course, although I don’t feel like pressuring myself to finish them in a certain time limit.
So, for a while, I simply dotted about the country, walking repeat Munros, some Donalds and Grahams (the smaller siblings of the Munros and Corbetts) and going where friends fancied walking.
In the process, I walked a few Corbetts because a couple of friends had embarked on their Corbetts list after finishing a round of Munros.
The dawn of my Corbett bagging
Then, one day this summer, I suddenly decided to start walking my own Corbetts round. I have no idea why I didn’t think of this before but when I did I saw the list as a great new challenge.
There are 222 Corbetts and, to date, I have walked 27.
I may have walked other ones but I haven’t fully checked all the summits in the list to see if I have previously summited some of these.
In fact, I walked the Corbett Beinn Each the other day only to realise I had done the same walk last year. I did work this out fairly quickly as my friend Rob and I climbed through woodlands at the start of the walk but because I had not been seriously ticking off Corbetts I had forgotten I had already summitted this one. No matter, because it was a nice day out anyway.
What I like about the Corbetts
As I walked Corbett 27, Creag Uchdag (879m), on New Year’s Eve in gloriously fine weather with my friend Ben, we started talking about what we like about these mountains.
One of the best things is that they are much less walked. In many cases, we rarely bump into another person while on a Corbett.
At the start of Creag Uchdag from Glen Lednock near Comrie, for example, there were about 25 cars parked on the roadside and in a small car park. Yet, we met only three other walkers in a group. I expect that all the other walkers had headed up the neighbouring Munro, Ben Chonzie.
The Corbetts are also more geographically spread than the Munros, which means I am visiting new and different places.
The Corbetts present new challenges because they have fewer well-trodden or worn paths and this requires greater navigation skills. There are also fewer straightforward route descriptions, in my experience.
Smaller but not easier
There are easier Munros and easier Corbetts but just because the Corbetts are smaller in height, it doesn’t mean they are easier to summit. I have noticed that there are many Corbetts that stand on their own with long walks to reach them, too.
So far, so beautiful
Many of the Corbetts I have walked so far have been in beautiful locations. I have been fortunate with the weather, too, and this makes it seem like the Corbetts are just a bit more special.
The Corbetts offer some amazing views of many Munros that I have already walked. It’s lovely to see many more familiar mountains from the Corbetts.
Because I had so many Corbetts still to tick off the choice of where to walk seems deliciously fresh. I look at the map and I have so many to choose from.
It is good to have friends who are walks bagging the Corbetts so we can make joint plans on where to go. My to-do Munros list is so small now that it is not always easy to find people to walk with who have not already walked my limited “supply” of Munros.
A future walking goal
I had been wondering what I might do after I finish the Munros and while I was fairly sure I would continue to walk, I wasn’t sure what I would do. Now I know I will be ticking off Corbetts where I can.
Hubby G finished his first round of Munros many years ago and then moved on to doing a second round. He said he would never walk the Corbetts (I am not sure why but he mentions “too boggy” a lot). Now that I am walking Corbetts he does seem to be a little more interested in these mountains. I think I even heard him say that after his second round of Munros he might well start on the Corbetts!
What do you like about the Corbetts?