The Munros

Munros: A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, A' Chailleach, A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), A' Chralaig, A' Ghlas-bheinn, A' Mhaighdean, A' Mharconaich, Am Basteir, Am Bodach, Am Faochagach, An Caisteal, An Coileachan, An Gearanach, An Riabhachan, An Sgarsoch, An Socach (Affric), An Socach (Braemar), An Socach (Mullardoch), An Stuc, Aonach Air Chrith, Aonach Beag (Alder), Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Meadhoin, Aonach Mor, Beinn a'Bhuird, Beinn a'Chaorainn (Cairngorms), Beinn a'Chaorainn (Glen Spean), Beinn a'Chlachair, Beinn a'Chleibh, Beinn a'Chochuill, Beinn a'Chreachain, Beinn a'Chroin, Beinn Achaladair, Beinn an Dothaidh, Beinn Bheoil, Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Bhrotain, Beinn Bhuidhe, Beinn Chabhair, Beinn Dearg (Blair Atholl), Beinn Dearg (Ullapool), Beinn Dorain, Beinn Dubhchraig, Beinn Eibhinn, Beinn Eunaich, Beinn Fhada, Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Carn Eige), Beinn Ghlas, Beinn Heasgarnich, Beinn Ime, Beinn Iutharn Mhor, Beinn Liath Mhor, Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich, Beinn Mhanach, Beinn Mheadhoin, Beinn na Lap, Beinn nan Aighenan, Beinn Narnain, Beinn Sgritheall, Beinn Sgulaird, Beinn Tarsuinn, Beinn Teallach, Beinn Tulaichean, Beinn Udlamain, Ben Alder, Ben Avon, Ben Challum, Ben Chonzie, Ben Cruachan, Ben Hope, Ben Klibreck, Ben Lawers, Ben Lomond, Ben Lui, Ben Macdui, Ben More, Ben More (Mull), Ben More Assynt, Ben Nevis, Ben Oss, Ben Starav, Ben Vane, Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Ben Vorlich (Loch Lomond), Ben Wyvis, Bidean nam Bian, Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor, Bla Bheinn, Braeriach, Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, Broad Cairn, Bruach na Frithe, Bynack More, Cairn Bannoch, Cairn Gorm, Cairn of Claise, Cairn Toul, Carn a'Chlamain, Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn a'Gheoidh, Carn a'Mhaim, Carn an Fhidhleir (Carn Ealar), Carn an Righ, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Carn an Tuirc, Carn Aosda, Carn Bhac, Carn Dearg (Corrour), Carn Dearg (Loch Pattack), Carn Dearg (Monadhliath), Carn Eige, Carn Ghluasaid, Carn Gorm, Carn Liath (Beinn a'Ghlo), Carn Liath (Creag Meagaidh), Carn Mairg, Carn Mor Dearg, Carn na Caim, Carn nan Gabhar, Carn nan Gobhar (Loch Mullardoch), Carn nan Gobhar (Strathfarrar), Carn Sgulain, Chno Dearg, Ciste Dhubh, Cona' Mheall, Conival, Creag a'Mhaim, Creag Leacach, Creag Meagaidh, Creag Mhor (Glen Lochay), Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Creag nan Damh, Creag Pitridh, Creise, Cruach Ardrain, Derry Cairngorm, Driesh, Druim Shionnach, Eididh nan Clach Geala, Fionn Bheinn, Gairich, Garbh Chioch Mhor, Geal Charn, Geal Charn (Monadhliath), Geal-charn (Alder), Geal-charn (Drumochter), Glas Bheinn Mhor, Glas Maol, Glas Tulaichean, Gleouraich, Gulvain, Inaccessible Pinnacle, Ladhar Bheinn, Lochnagar, Luinne Bheinn, Lurg Mhor, Mam Sodhail, Maoile Lunndaidh, Maol Chean-dearg, Maol chinn-dearg, Mayar, Meall a'Bhuiridh, Meall a'Choire Leith, Meall a'Chrasgaidh, Meall Buidhe (Glen Lyon), Meall Buidhe (Knoydart), Meall Chuaich, Meall Corranaich, Meall Dearg (Aonach Eagach), Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Garbh (Carn Mairg), Meall Ghaordaidh, Meall Glas, Meall Gorm, Meall Greigh, Meall na Teanga, Meall nan Ceapraichean, Meall nan Eun, Meall nan Tarmachan, Monadh Mor, Moruisg, Mount Keen, Mullach an Rathain (Liathach), Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Mullach Fraoch-choire, Mullach nan Coirean, Mullach nan Dheiragain, Na Gruagaichean, Ruadh Stac Mor, Ruadh-stac Mor (Beinn Eighe), Sail Chaorainn, Saileag, Schiehallion, Seana Bhraigh, Sgairneach Mhor, Sgiath Chuil, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Sgor Gaibhre, Sgor Gaoith, Sgor na h-Ulaidh, Sgorr Dhearg (Beinn a'Bheithir), Sgorr Dhonuill (Beinn a'Bheithir), Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (Aonach Eagach), Sgorr Ruadh, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg, Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr a'Choire Ghlais, Sgurr a'Ghreadaidh, Sgurr a'Mhadaidh, Sgurr a'Mhaim, Sgurr a'Mhaoraich, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain, Sgurr Ban, Sgurr Breac, Sgurr Choinnich, Sgurr Choinnich Mor, Sgurr Dubh Mor, Sgurr Eilde Mor, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach), Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, Sgurr Mor, Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Sgurr Mor (Loch Quoich), Sgurr na Banachdich, Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciche, Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe, Sgurr na Lapaich, Sgurr na Ruaidhe, Sgurr na Sgine, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, Sgurr nan Clach Geala, Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glen Dessary), Sgurr nan Coireachan (Glenfinnan), Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Sgurr nan Each, Sgurr nan Eag, Sgurr nan Gillean, Sgurr Thuilm, Slioch, Spidean a'Choire Leith (Liathach), Spidean Coire nan Clach (Beinn Eighe), Spidean Mialach, Sron a'Choire Ghairbh, Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin, Stob a'Choire Odhair, Stob Ban (Grey Corries), Stob Ban (Mamores), Stob Binnein, Stob Choire Claurigh, Stob Coir an Albannaich, Stob Coire a'Chairn, Stob Coire an Laoigh, Stob Coire Easain, Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Coire Sgreamhach, Stob Coire Sgriodain, Stob Daimh, Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Ghabhar, Stob na Broige (Buachaille Etive Mor), Stob Poite Coire Ardair, Stuc a'Chroin, Stuchd an Lochain, The Cairnwell, The Devil's Point, The Saddle, Toll Creagach, Tolmount, Tom a'Choinich, Tom Buidhe, Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)
Corbetts: Beinn Tharsuinn, Sgurr an Fhuarain

Date walked: 02/05/2013

Time taken: 2350 hours

Distance: 2000km

Couldn't help myself! The grand tour, 2 May (Ben More, Mull) to 7 August (Ben Hope).

I started on Mull 2nd May, right at the very moment two months of March and April sun turned to torrential rain ... could my timing have been any worse? Ben More was climbed under leaden skies then with that done, things turned nasty and wet. I cycled to the pier in some insane rain and got the ferry over. The second day was my hardest day of the entire 98 day summer (tied with Bridge of Orchy). I guess it's good to get the bad one out the way first! I was stunned to find myself stretched to psychological breaking point on day 2, as I fought in torrential, numbing rain to stay on schedule. It's hard to emphasize what a fight it was and I'd woken up to a horrific reality of an entire summer fighting.

The weather stayed horrendous for the following weeks, always struggling to stay on the all-important schedule. On Bidean nam Bian I was turned back by bad snow: the snowfields were thawing and the Lost Valley headwall cornices were dripping and ready to collapse. My legs bled with wet rubbing on Ben Starav which took days to recover from (painful!). While immensely difficult, some part of me was surprised and pleased at how hard I could fight for this whole thing. I guess unless you take on the challenge you're never really going to know how hard you can push... however, it's not a content place to be.

A couple weeks in, my body was getting steadily run down and I woke up in Crianlarich YH one morning to hear someone in the dorm; "it's snowing outside". Yep, thick snow down to 300m in mid-May. What's going on?

A few days later I had my lowest moment on the Bridge of Orchy bunch - Dorain to Chreachain. Pure purgatory, all day. That evening I couldn't really imagine going on, but equally couldn't imagine giving in; an agonising mid-ground with no resolution and no way out. Well, I guess things come clearer at your lowest moment, and I rose from the depths of self-pity and agony to literally rise out into the highest 'high' of the entire summer. My evening on Beinn Mhanach after so many hours of hell won't be forgotten.

For weeks I'd been curious about an unending sense of impatience I was feeling. I wasn't feeling my mountains the way I normally would, and why was I doing this if I couldn't travel with feeling? Luckily, things seemed to calm down with the last snowfields. The weather settled into vast blue skies, I slowly picked my way through mountain chains eastward. My body seemed to power up with a previously unseen fitness and my mind settled down. Immense effort must be matched by immense pleasure, and this I eventually found in the vast blue skies and brown moors of the east. Rain-drenched western mountains were now just a memory. I cycled and walked huge distances every day. My ever-noticed Munro-tally began to swing higher until I crested 100 on Lochnagar. Real progress!

The Grampians and Cairngorms came and went beneath my feet and I linked up bothies, waking to blue skies and falling sleep to sunsets. It got pretty good, but there was always the gnawing in the back of the mind; how long will this last? Will the weather break? The difficulty of the beginning was fresh in the mind and I had little desire to return to that.

But things never really changed. I broke through to Aviemore and worked westward through Laggan toward Nevis. Immense days piled one through another, each mountain range would be stressed over then subsequently tackled. The high ridges would fall before me, I'd power through with the lightness of coming success. The Five Munros of Creag Meagaidh were done in as many hours, I had a simply incredible day on the Grey Corries and Nevis and the ten Mamores fell in a single sweep. Knoydart was dispatched in mist and rain. My Munro-tally was climbing, and it was on Skye where I passed 200, on Sgurr na Banachdich.

I'd had wet periods but in truth the weather had stayed fine for about a month. Not every day was sunny, but it actually rained very little - and it's the rain I really don't get on with. Skye was just an extension of the current theme, and they were all done on warm sunny days.

But don't let the thought of long hot days linking up ridges distract from the fact I was always on edge. I was always tired. I was always aware I was teetering on the brink of falling way behind schedule, and I'd be waking up with legs that felt like lead. Most morning I couldn't really walk for the first ten minutes. I was always paranoid a single failed day would put me down on schedule: it's really easy to drop days and it's hard to work them all back (it's easy to halve a planned day and almost impossible to double up days).

After a hot week on Skye, the weather broke down again for a couple of days in Kintail. Down on schedule by several days I was linking up peaks, doing the 12 North Shiel Munros in two days, then cramming the 12 Mullardoch Munros into two days. It was all done without pause, without a break, and while the Shiel hills gave fairly good walking conditions, the temperature rose and I got cooked around Mullardoch by an endless intense, hellish heat with clegs to prevent you stopping and drive you mad.

Searing heat turned ugly in Torridon and the skies grew dark and heavy as storm clouds brewed. The end was getting really close (a couple of weeks) and I'd told everybody I'd be on Ben Hope on the 7th August. They'd all taken time off work to come so missing my own party was not an option.

Paired with the ever present threat of thunder, I had many days of stress as I fought conflicting emotions of trying to climb mountains every day and trying to stay low to keep safe if the electric storms hit. The air was always hot and heavy, clegs were ever-present and it was easy to worry...

The suspense was maintained right to the end, but the threat died down and the mountains delivered well. I had great crossings of all the north west ranges; Fisherfield, Inverlael, etc., motoring over huge miles every day and feeling as though I was eating up the peaks. Some days were frustrating, but many, many days were incredible and unforgettable.

I finished on Ben Hope on the 7th August with friends and family and got home the following day. The trip really did include every emotion you can imagine from the very best to the very worst. But it was absolutely worth it and wouldn't have been if the good times hadn't outnumbered the bad. Quite an experience. Can't wait to do it again.

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Comments: 18


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Location: Glasgow
Interests: Mountains n' music (of the playing variety) www.kevinwoods.co.uk
Place: Loch Maree area
Gear: Camera
Member: www.bealachmc.co.uk
Camera: Canon 500d

Munros: 21
Corbetts: 133
Grahams: 54
Donalds: 4
Hewitts: 5
Sub 2000: 70


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Trips: 1
Distance: 2000 km
Munros: 282
Corbetts: 2

Joined: Sep 13, 2008
Last visited: Sep 19, 2019
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