I’m not a Munro bagger, and last weekend reminds me why that is. On the Friday I head up to the Alltbeithe SYHA hostel in Glen Affric with my pal Gary Wroe for a big Munro-ticking walk – three remote peaks sit above the hostel, including the mighty Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan 1151m (think Caravan, Kerevan, and you’ll get it), a hill I have long wanted to climb. On Saturday the weather is changeable – with breaks in the rain and wind – and we go up over the big east-west ridge of the massif, then across the fine coire behind Ceathreamhnan, to get onto the ridge running north-north-east. This is interesting walking, as is the ridge up to the first Munro, Mullach nan Dheiragain.
Coming back along the ridge we climb steeply up the fine arete to Ceathreamhnan, then down the ridge east and back to the point where we came onto it. The most natural thing in the world at that point would have been to head for the hostel, warmth and warden Hanna’s fresh scones, but no, the Munroist is compelled to trudge over a bog and back for an hour more to take in An Socach, a smaller hill to the east. If you come back and do it on its own it takes seven hours from the road, instead of being part of this eight-hour round, so if it has to be done this makes sense, but of course my slight problem as a non-ticker, non-bagger is … it doesn’t have to be done. It’s not a natural part of the walk, and it’s dull. There is a sense of achievement, granted, and I was happy to go with Gary, who’s very close to completing his Munros, but I don’t think I could be motivated enough by a tick-list to be bothered with that extra slog.
So I won’t be joining A E Robertson et al, unless enough of my Munroist friends take me along enough times to accidentally do them. My current count stands probably at more than 120 but there are some lost in the mist of time and some I have been near the top of but never saw a cairn: will I repeat them? I doubt it … Maybe eventually when someone asks if I have done the all the Munros, I’ll be able to honestly say: “I don’t know…”