Munro Bagging Guide for Beginners

With the loosening of the Coronavirus lockdown clearly on the horizon, now  is the perfect time to start thinking about your new adventures.

If you are a fan of mountain climbing in Scotland, why not consider bagging your first Munro?

People on a hiking trail in the mountains

What exactly is Munro Bagging?

Munros are Scottish mountains that are higher than 3000ft. They were named after mountaineer, Sir Hugh Munro, who was the first person to summit all of Scotland’s Munros.

There are 282 Munros throughout Scotland and the most well-known ones are Ben Hope Ben Lomond, and of course, Ben Nevis which is the highest peak in the UK.

Munro bagging refers to climbing as many Munros as you can but, be warned, you need to be quite an experienced hiker and it is recommended that you have the correct Munro bagging equipment to be successful.

A hiker walking along a ridge

How do I get started with Munro bagging?

Careful consideration should be taken before attempting to climb any Munro as summiting requires a lot of skill and stamina.

Experienced Munro baggers recommend brushing up on your navigation skills and gaining a bit of fitness before you climb your first Munro. This can be done by hiking on trails in your local area and becoming familiar with hiking in challenging surroundings.

You can quickly learn the ins and outs of Munro bagging if you hike with a group of experienced Munro baggers (of which there are many on any given weekend).

Use the right resources

When it comes to Munro bagging, you can’t simply turn up with no preparation whatsoever.

A lot of planning is needed beforehand and we recommend becoming familiar with the route on the map, checking the weather forecast and reading Munro bagging reports before you start.

Most experienced Munro baggers also recommend reading at least one Munro guidebook or browsing Munro bagging websites to become familiar with the concept.

There are many Munro guidebooks available and some of the most popular ones include “Walking the Munros” by Steven Kew and “The Munros: A Walkhighlands Guide” by Paul and Helen Webster.

Munro baggers in a mountainous landscape

What is easy for an experienced Munro bagger may be very challenging for you

Joining a group of experienced Munro baggers is a great idea, but if you can’t keep up with them and don’t understand what your own, unique hiking capabilities are, you could find yourself in trouble.

Novice Munro baggers should select Munros that are easy and don’t require too many skills as this can help build your confidence and improve your fitness slowly.

Invest in the correct equipment

The equipment you’ll need will depend on your skill level and what would make you feel more comfortable.

Generally speaking, most Munro baggers have a decent quality and lightweight rucksack, breathable and quick-dry hiking clothing, a basic first aid kit, a good waterproof jacket and a compass.

Nice-to-haves include a head torch, a walking pole and gaiters. If you are Munro bagging in the summer months, you may wish to bring some midge repellent along with you!

Finally, don’t forget to bring some high energy food on your Munro bagging exploits. Protein bars, sandwiches and energy drinks are all excellent ideas and you should, of course, never forget to pack plenty of water.

Once you have reached the summit, there is nothing better than enjoying a cup of tea or coffee while admiring the view. In this case, a good quality thermos flask will serve you well, in addition to a sturdy enamel mug.

Happy bagging!

Heather and Haggis