Friday 13 May 2016

The Munros & Tops Twentieth Anniversary

Two decades ago I was preparing for one of the toughest long-distance walks I've ever done, a round of the Munros and their subsidiary Tops. I'd been inspired to start Munro bagging by Hamish Brown's account of the first ever continuous walk over all the Munros, Hamish's Mountain Walk, and had completed my first round in a series of backpacking trips. It was years later though before I felt confident enough to attempt the Munros in one walk and when I did I decided to add the Tops as well to make it a little more interesting and challenging. At the time no-one else had done this.

Linking 517 summits made for a route that looked like a jumble of string on the maps. On the ground it meant I couldn't take low level routes in bad weather. This wasn't a walk from A to B. I had to join those 517 dots. That made for some strenuous and exciting days.

Looking back now the first memories that come to mind are of the many wild camps - above a cloud inversion on Glas Maol, watching a brillian red sunset from the slopes of Seana Bhraigh - , of days of sunshine on the Grey Corries, Mamores and Ben Nevis, and days of storm on Bidean nam Bian, the Cairngorms and the Blackmount. Mostly though I remember the joy of being out in the hills for months on end.

In the twenty years that have passed since that walk I've never tired of the Scottish hills or long-distance walks. Indeed, I'm about to head off on the TGO Challenge and cross the Highlands from coast to coast. I'll be climbing some Munros along the way.

The Munros and Tops, my illustrated book on the walk, published by Mainstream, is still available if anyone is interested in reading some more about my trip.

1 comment:

  1. A great book Chris, I often think to myself when backpacking the Munros just what a huge physical and mental effort a continuous round must take. You have my admiration for adding the Tops too!