I met Marc Patullo and his dad Gus in 2017 while walking the Liathach ridge in Torridon. Marc was only 16 and he had already walked around 200 Munros with Gus. Last weekend, I was delighted to accompany him, with friends and family, to walk his last Munro of his first round, Ciste Dubh.
Meeting at a lay-by close to the Cluanie Inn, we headed first over the Corbett, Am Bathach (798m), before walking to Ciste Dubh summit at a height of 979m. The return was along the glen.
The route is around 13km and includes a total ascent of 1100m. This is not a challenging walk if you have experience of Munro and Corbett bagging but for many of Marc’s friends, this was their first Munro.
Marc’s last Munro walk with friends
With the exception of one friend, the group of young people, aged 16 to early 20s, enthusiastically took on the walk and many talked afterwards about how keen they now are to walk more Scottish mountains.
For Marc’s girlfriend, Michelle, it was a hard outing due to a previous knee injury. She pushed on with determination and it was impressive to see her fight the pain because she really wanted to make it to Marc’s last Munro summit. Her up-beat demeanour was a huge credit to her.
Marc and Gus have walked around 250 of the 282 Munros together since the youngster’s first summit aged 11. It took him nine years and nine days to reach all 282 Munros although various injuries and commitments to his other favourite activity of football had slowed his progress at points.
Lockdown cased further frustrations and Marc was very keen to finish his round as soon as he was allowed to this year. He ran many of his final Munros solo with his dad somewhere nearby (and usually on a Corbett!). Gus finished his own round of Munros a few years ago.
As he walked to the top of Ciste Dubh, Marc said: “It feels surreal that this is my last Munro of my round. It is great to have friends and family here with me. It is quite emotional actually.”
Marc would not be pushed about whether he will do another Munro round or move on to the Corbetts. He said: “I can”t think about that yet. I am just pleased to have finished my Munro round. The last Munro has been held up quite a bit by the restrictions of Covid and I am happy just to have got there now.”
It was a pleasure to be part of Marc’s day – and to meet his friends and family. We were also very lucky with the weather and the views over the landscape and down to Cluanie Loch were fantastic.
I had previously walked Ciste Dubh, while Am Bathach is my 53rd Corbett.