Have you ever heard a Scottish person say they are off to bag a Munro? Perhaps you just assumed it was code for something Scottish people did and nodded along like you understood. I’m here to explain it to you as it is an actual popular pastime in Scotland. It occurs when walking enthusiasts challenge themselves to climb one of the 282 peaks in Scotland known as Munros.
Munro bagging dates back centuries but the 1980s acted as a period catapulting Munro bagging into popular Scottish culture. The popularity of bagging a Munro has resulted in path erosion on some Munros highlighting how serious many people take this pastime. A google search of “Munro bagging” leads to numerous blogs filled with advice listing what to avoid on certain Munros. You can also find Esty shops who sell scratch off maps and pocket logbooks to record the Munros you have climbed.
A Munro is a mountain that is over 914 metres tall. The highest of the 282 Munros is Ben Nevis, however some lower Munros are arguably more challenging than this one. All Munros were categorised as such in 1891 after Sir Hugh T. Munro surveyed and catalogued them into a list.
There are 6,000 people who claim to have completed all Munros and are known as Munroists. A fun fact that could come in handy at a pub quiz is Munroist Stephen Pyke bagged all 282 Munros in 39 days, 9 hours, and 6 minutes in 2010!
If climbing a Munro is a challenge, you’d like to take on the first step is planning your trip. Mountaineering Scotland recommend choosing a route that is suited to your fitness and experience. They offer a wide range of advice including appropriate clothing, footwear, and equipment for what you plan to do.
A great place to start is the Sofa 2 Summit online tool with 7 sections to help you learn the basics of hiking. This tool can’t replace a qualified instructor, but you can find some great safety and skills resources online. Another benefit from Munro bagging is the chance to learn about Scottish Gaelic classed as an indigenous language in the UK reported to be spoken by 1.1% of the Scottish population.
If you are looking to get the view from atop a Munro without the hiking part, you can access a few summits in a different way. The Mountain Gondola can take you up Aonach Mòr and the chairlift at Glenshee Ski Centre can take you up The Cairnwell.
Any Strathclyde Munrorists either aspiring or fully-fledged can reach out to the Strathclyde University Mountaineering Club (SUMC)! They organise trips frequently and will be able to give further advice or take you along. Get in contact with them here!