Munro Bagging For Beginners

Scotland is famous for its stunning mountain ranges and though many people come to Scotland to admire them, some also come to climb them. 282 of Scotland’s peaks are over 3,000 feet high, making them Munros, and those that climb them call themselves Munro Baggers.

If you’re considering bagging one or a few munros then this guide is the perfect place to pick up some hints and tips and find out which Munros are best for those with less experience. It has to be noted that there are no ‘easy’ Munros to climb, and anyone attempting to do so should be suitably equipped and prepared.

Before You Begin

Ahead of climbing any munro you should let people know where you are headed, when you are going, what route you plan to take, and an estimated time of return. It’s also very important to check the weather forecast for the area you will be in from a reliable source.

Keep an Eye on the Weather Conditions as You Climb

In Scotland the weather can change rapidly, so it is extremely important you monitor the conditions as you climb. The weather can transform from clear, calm and sunny to cloudy, wet and windy within a short period of time, meaning your plans might have to be altered, turning back should always be considered as an option.

Plan Ahead

You should choose a munro that is suitable for your level of experience, fitness, and navigational skills. Children should only be taken on routes that you can retreat from relatively quickly and safely, longer walks with children should be avoided. Scotland has walks to suit a variety of ability and fitness levels, don’t push yourself, or others you’re with, too hard, it is far better to build your experience and skills gradually.

What Should You Take With You?

Clothing

Your clothing should be warm, water-proof and wind-proof. Absolute musts you should also take with you include gloves, a warm hat, and water-proof and wind-proof jacket and trousers.

Footwear

On a long walk it’s important to keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable. You should wear a good pair of hillwalking boots that provide ankle support and a good grip, along with a pair of thick socks to keep your feet warm.

Equipment

An ordnance survey map of the munro you’re climbing is crucial, along with a compass and the necessary knowledge to use them effectively. It’s also important to carry equipment to be used in an emergency, including a first aid kit, torch, whistle and an emergency shelter.

Food and Drink

You should take plenty of food and drink with you for each member of the group, including some extra reserve supplies. Simple food that is easy to carry and energy rich are best, including chocolate, cheese, and biscuits, as well as hot drinks, especially during the colder months.

Climbing in the Sunshine

Despite what you may have heard the sun does come out in Scotland! When you’re climbing a munro you can really feel it beating down on you as you make your way up the mountain with a bag on your back. On sunny days it’s important to ensure you have plenty of water with you, as well as a hat, suncream and sunglasses. A further consideration during the warmer months in Scotland is the midges, be sure to take midge repellent with you!

Prepare For Snow

There will be snow on the Munros for much of the year, especially towards the top, it’s important that you’re fully equipped to deal with these conditions to avoid getting into trouble or having to head back. The boots you wear should be stiff soled and you should have crampons with you. Other items to take with you if you expect to encounter snowy conditions are an ice axe, goggles and spare gloves. We don’t recommend climbing in snowy conditions unless you have plenty of experience either in Scotland or elsewhere.

Your First Five Munros

With 282 Munros to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start, so we’ve put together a shortlist of our favourite Munros for beginners.

Ben Lomond

One of the most climbed Munros and extremely popular with first-time Munro Baggers, Ben Lomond is a fantastic choice for the less-experienced climber. Throughout the climb and from the peak you’ll enjoy incredible views over the surrounding landscape and Loch Lomond.

Ben Lomond - rasilja - stock.adobe.com

Schiehallion

A stunning mountain to behold with a prominent peak set amongst a beautiful landscape. Schiehallion has a very well made path from the start and becomes a little more challenging as you climb.

Schiehallion - Tim - stock.adobe.com

Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Get two munros in the same day, taking on one of Scotland’s highest Munros, Ben Lawers, with the added bonus of reaching the peak of Beinn Ghlas along the route. The high pass takes you between Loch Tay and Glen Lyon, the route can be started at a car park at over 400m, giving you head start on this very popular ascent.

Ben Lawers - mountaintreks - stock.adobe.com

Beinn Ime

The tallest mountain in the Arrochar Alps but a straightforward hike from the south on a day with good weather. There is a clear path much of the way, however, it does become fainter and there is some scrambling required towards the end, but it shouldn’t be a problem for most.

Beinn Ime - Grinner [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)

A munro that is fairly straightforward for an experienced walker and is an ideal mountain for people who are just getting started with Munro bagging. It is located close to the Highland Boundry Fault, offering spectacular views of both the Lowlands and Highlands.

Ben Vorlich - Photo © wfmillar (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Motorhome Hire For Munro Bagging

If you’re keen to go Munro bagging then there’s no better way to do so than with a luxury motorhome hire. Taking a motorhome hire allows you to travel in comfort and provides a place to rest at the end of a long day in the mountains, whatever part of Scotland you’re in. Having a motorhome also allows you to conquer multiple peaks over the course of your across Scotland without having to worry about where you’re going to stay each evening and how to get there. To find out more about our motorhomes visit our motorhome hire page or contact us to discuss your trip.

Header image: andreabzerova – stock.adobe.com