Far up north, where snowfall coats the jagged peaked landscapes for 100 days a year, you’ll find the utterly magnificent Scottish Highlands. Voted the most beautiful country in the world by Rough Guides, it isn’t exactly hard to see why.
Dramatic skies hang above shimmering dark lochs. In turn, the lochs sit beneath towering slopes, often adorned with striking rock formations, created by the sharp and battering northern winds, or luscious green woodlands, home to a stunning range of life.
The real jewels of the Scottish Highland, however, are even more impressive than that. The Scottish Munros, giants of the British Isles.
What is a Munro?
You’ll probably have heard of the biggest and most famous Munro already: Ben Nevis. The tallest mountain in Britain, it stands at a lofty 1345 meters — more than four Eiffel Towers stacked end on end.
The mighty Ben Nevis isn’t the only Munro, however. Any mountain over 3000 ft (914 meters) is considered a Munro. Essentially, they are just large mountains. There are a total of 291 mountains above 3000 ft in the UK; 282 of them are Scottish Munros.
With so many geological giants packed together so tightly, the majority found in the western shelf of the Highlands, I’m sure you’ve already realized how staggering these ranges of Scotland really are.
Why go climbing the Scottish Munros?
Munro climbing has seen a rise in popularity of late. More and more walking enthusiasts are taking to the slopes of the UK’s most impressive ranges. But what is the attraction?
One of the biggest draws is simply the challenge of making it to the top. The allure of putting yourself to the test and finding out if you’ve got what it takes to conquer such giants is something that many people are inherently driven by.
There are other reasons to climb a Munro, though. Part of the attraction is the beauty of the landscapes in which they are set. A stunning wilderness that oozes color and life, lovers of the outdoors and nature will find the serenity of these cut-off locations nothing short of a British paradise. Sometimes, nothing beats a view of Mother Nature’s finest work — and you’ll find no better view than atop a 3000 ft mountain.
The Scottish Munros are also a great travel adventure for those seeking something different to their usual getaway, or without the funds to travel the globe.
What you should know about climbing the Munros
Climbing the Munros is known to enthusiasts of the craft as Munro-Bagging and it is not to be undertaken without a bit of thought.
With nearly 300 mountains to conquer, there are so many trails in the highlands that take you far above the cloud line that everyone, from beginners to experienced mountaineers, can find something to tantalize their desire for adventure.
That said, you should be aware of a few climbing tips:
Strong walking boots are absolutely essential, as are thick layers, waterproofs and trekking poles for stability on the ridges. The best time to go walking the Munros is during the summer months, although you can go during the freezing winters. If you do venture out in the snow, you’ll need snowshoes — expensive but worth the cost — crampons and an ice axe.
An important note for any time of year is that mists can cloud the Munros very quickly, rolling in without warning. With ridges and craggy landscapes to traverse, it’s always advisable to take a compass, a map and a level head.
Psst. Do(n’t) tell!
About the author
This travel guide is written by Jane Livingstone. A passionate walking enthusiast and qualified international mountain leader, British-born Jane Livingstone is a globetrotting adventurer. Through her tour guiding service, Mountain Walking Holidays, she travels the world exploring the very best walking trails on offer. While her passion has taken her across the globe, she still believes Britain has some of the best walking opportunities in the world.