Life after the Munros and the bagging epiphany.

I recently read Ed Byrne’s piece ‘Confessions of a Munro-bagger’ and having compleated the Munros myself, I found myself nodding and smiling in agreement. But the dust has long since settled on my Munro compleation on a cold, damp Ciste Dhubh back in September 2014. I have since found myself naturally moving onto the Corbetts, but something wasn’t quite right, I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I had set a date for my last Munro and booked the accommodation. With the invites sent, I couldn’t back out. But I still had to visit areas like the Grey Corries, Glen Dessarry, Fisherfield and Torridon. These are big names in the Scottish hill walking scene for the stunning scenery and remote locations. My remaining Munros were about quality, not quantity. This wasn’t intentional though, it just panned out like that.

Post compleation, I was walking in areas where I started off bagging Munros. It felt as though as I was starting my apprenticeship all over again. Whilst I was still enjoying being out, I wasn’t getting the same bagging bug as I did during the Munros. But I continued on, ticking off the Corbetts.

Little did I know that I was about to get an epiphany in the very place where I fell in love with the Highlands of Scotland… Glen Coe! On of my favourite days out, was the traverse of the infamous Aonach Eagach ridge in Glen Coe. I had been along the ridge twice before and greatly enjoyed both occasions. I decided to drop the Corbetts for one weekend only and do the ridge again. I got two volunteers wishing to join me; Kenny and Peter.

The summer of 2015 was a wash out, but this weekend would be a crisp cold, sunny weekend in October. I took a half day off from work but it wasn’t until I reached Crianlarich that I realised that I left my lunch stuff in the fridge at work. It wasn’t worth turning back for.

I was listening to Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 and the topic was Motor neurone disease (MND).  Here was I travelling up north in glorious weather, for a weekend of hillwalking, whilst the chap on the radio read out a poignant poem of each step of how MND robbed him of his mobility and life. How harsh can life be and I felt lucky to be alive; cherish every moment as you never know what’s around the corner.

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Loch Achtriochtan and the Aonach Eagach.

 

I reached the Red Squirrel campsite, pitched my tent and nipped along to the village to buy more food for lunch, seeing as my original supplies were sitting in the fridge at work. Returned back to the campsite to knock up some pasta for dinner before meeting Kenny at the Clachaig.

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Pitch at the Squirrel…

I met Kenny outside the pub, he was making  dinner in his campervan. We then popped in for a couple libations. With an early start in the morning, we didn’t go overboard.

Woke up after a comfortable night in the tent, despite the temperature dipping to -2°c, a lair of frost covered my tent and I struggled to get the butane gas stove lit for my porridge. I gave up and ended up driving along to the car park by Loch Achtriochtan. Kenny kindly made me some porridge and Peter arrived not long after me.

A most enjoyable day was had scrambling along the ridge in good weather and company. Peter posted a detailed report of our day which can be found on the ScottishHills website, here.

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After the exploits on the ridge I headed back to the campsite for a shower. Then  along to the Clachaig pub for something to eat. Kenny and Peter both travelled home after the walk, so I only had myself for company. The Clachaig is one of those pubs, where if you’re on your own, you always end up meeting someone to blether to. This weekend was no different.

Waking up in the morning feeling slightly hung-over. I had to get ready quickly to meet my friend Anne to walk the two Grahams, Sgorr a’Chiose and Meall Mor. I had always wanted to do Meall Mor as it offers splendid views east, down Glen Coe. Anne is currently bagging Grahams so we hatched a plan to leave a car in Glen Coe and start the walk in Ballachulish.

The fine weather continued until lunch time, until it clouded over a bit. As usual we both chatted away about various topics. Occasionally stopping to take in the views.

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From the summit of Sgorr a’Choise

The view from Meall Mor didn’t disappoint. But due to Meall Mor’s domed summit, I had to descend quite a bit to get the view I wanted. For more pics, check out my ScottishHills trip report here.

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Glen Coe, the view from Meall Mor’s eastern slopes.

Back in Glen Coe, Anne shuttled me back around to my car in Ballachulish. We said our goodbyes and I began my journey back home. Sadly I had work in the morning!

It was the drive home where I began to think.. is bagging for me? The epiphany hit home. It was great to pick hill walks that I wanted to do purely because I wanted to and not just to tick them off a list as a peak bagger. From thereon in, I decided to do what I fancied doing, whether it be a Munro, Corbett, Graham or low level. If I get to tick something off, then bonus.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll tick off new hills as and when I do them. But I don’t want to have the same bagging intensity as I did during my round of Munros. Meaning I can walk or camp where I want without letting a list dictate my choices.

Fast forward nine months and were now into July and I’m finally ready to release this article from my drafts. I thought I may have changed my mind and started bagging Corbetts again and I do take a bit of stick from my hillwalking friends who think I’m in denial. Nevertheless so far  I have enjoyed my walking this year; doing a variety of Munros, Corbetts and Grahams. Not to mention a few wild camps and bothy nights thrown into the mix for good measure.

Cheers

Robin

 

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4 thoughts on “Life after the Munros and the bagging epiphany.

  1. Mark

    And you’ve been to Ireland which was great fun. I’ve a few lists in me yet but one………….

  2. Good post. I did wonder what had triggered your non bagging declaration on FB.

    I think the whole thing has to be about fun and if you aren’t enjoying working through a list then don’t. There’s no rule that you have to complete a round of Corbetts, or a 2nd round of Munros because you did one round.

    I’m thinking a bit about bagging myself now as I’ve realised we are highly unlikely to finish the Munros. I could probably do a round of Wainwrights but whilst there are some cracking hills in that list there are a lot of boring boggy lumps too.

    As you know I had a very serious back injury a number of years ago. It could have been a hell of a lot worse; I could easily have ended up in a wheelchair. I have to try and remind myself that I’ve a lot to be grateful for and in that context not getting a tick really doesn’t matter much. (I still like to though. May be an accountant thing :lol:)

    Continue to enjoy 😀

  3. Butane isn’t great in cold weather – you know to shake the container don’t you? Propane is much better but I don’t know if you can get those mini-cartridges for hiking stoves or not.

    I’m not sure how I’ll be after I ‘compleat’ my Munro Tops but think I’m pretty much going to be giving up the big stuff in Scotland as I’m finding it just too hard – my chest seems to have almost given up this year and I’m not really enjoying ascents. I’ve just had an x-ray so will have to see what the results say but there’s definitely something very amiss as it’s been bad all year now 😦

    I’m definitely not going to be bagging Corbetts but, as they’re the next size down as it were, if I’m in an area, I’ve been picking them off in preference to other stuff. Only got about 30 so far though…
    Carol.

  4. Pingback: The TGO Challenge and my route. – Robinho Outdoors

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