Walking one or two Munros is enough for some people. Going on to walk a complete round of the 283 Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft has become a big hobby for others. But increasingly there are walkers who challenge themselves to walk more than one round, or a quickest round, or a round in winter, or a continuous round. It seems that in the last decade, Munro bagging has become a top pursuit for many, many walkers.
To date, 5056 people are recorded by the Scottish Mountaineering Council as having walked one full round of 283 Munros. Almost 100 have gone on to complete a second circuit, while a few dozen have made it their goal to reach every Munro summit a total of three times.
For one extraordinary Munro bagger there appears to be no end to the pursuit of Scotland’s most famous list of mountains. Having already become a world record-breaking Munro finisher at 11 rounds in 2003, self-confessed Munro addict Steven Fallon last year finished his 14th round.
What is a Munro?
Scotland’s 283 highest mountains are named after Sir Hugh T Munro, who in 1891 set out to make the first survey of all the country’s mountains with summits more than 3,000 feet (914.4 metres). In his Munro Tables he listed 236 individual mountain peaks.
Thanks to more modern surveying techniques, there have been several official revisions to Munro’s original listing and the current Munros collection totals 283.
The first recorded person to walk a full round of Munros was the Rev A E Robertson in 1901. Since then the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) has recorded 5056 Munroists, although it’s likely there a many other unrecorded rounds.
While Fallon holds the world record, The SMC list includes a couple of dozen walkers who have completed a non-stop, non-car round, walking or cycling between each Munro.
It was Scottish walker Hamish Brown who became the first, in 1974, to walk a full Munros tour in one go covering 1639 miles and climbing a total of 449,000ft in 112 days. He also claims a “calendar round” (walking a different Munro on a every day of the year) and was the owner of the first dog to walk a Munro round. Brown has walked the full round of Munros some seven times.
The first woman to complete a continuous round was Kathy Murgatroyd in 1982. In September 2005, Lorraine McCall claimed to be the first woman to do a non-stop “self-propelled” and unsupported round. Later in 2005, Steve Perry became the first to complete a non-stop winter months round. He is also the first to have walked a continuous double round.
Other completions include the fastest of 48 days, set by Charlie Campbell, and a Munroist who claims to have danced a jig on every summit.
Next year, two men plan to take on Challenge Munro with the aim of walking the Munros in just 37 days with no motorised transport for help. We will be keeping an eye on their progress in future months!