Monday, 8 August 2011

A landmark day, and a changed perspective (posted by James)

A blustery and cold day above Glen Lyon

Glen Lyon's Meall Buidhe is by no means an interesting hill, but it is significant for me as it marks my mid-point in the Munros.

I've done a fair bit of thinking in the last 3 months as I've hurtled full-throttle to the top of almost 60 of the buggers, and now would be a good time for me to share my thoughts on the Munros.

My attitude towards "Munro-bagging" has changed a lot since I moved to Glencoe in April 2009. Then I was all about improving my climbing, single-pitch cragging…and I suppose I shared many climber's arguably snobbish view of Munroists. At the time I couldn't really see the point - I saw it as ticking a list and little else.

But I've come to realise that I wasn't doing much different whilst climbing. I was ticking my climbs in my UKC logbook, I was trying to improve my grade.

As humans we love to collect things. It doesn't necessarily matter what, but we feel a sense of achievement in collecting something that is a challenge to attain. Is "Munro-bagging", (a term I have mixed feelings about) so very different from any other hobby?

And it is a hobby that has countless positive attributes. It takes you to wild, beautiful places. It teaches you patience and perseverance. And it requires fitness and determination - it is a hobby that must almost become a life-style if you intend to complete all 283 in much less than a decade.

From my own perspective, I enjoy it as what I do during the summers. Although it is obviously still very energetic, for a few months I like the contrast that I feel from the often extreme physical and mental challenges of solo Scottish winter climbing.

I have a simple philosophy - that we should all enjoy the hills in whichever way we see fit. I gain far more satisfaction now that I mix between winter climbing, Munro-ing and scrambling than I ever did when I was still looking down on Munro-baggers.

I think only now that I'm half-way through have I truly realised the sheer vast scale of the undertaking of doing all the Munros. My hat goes off to everyone who has completed them all.

Whether you are only a grade-pushing trad climber and nothing else, or only a winter-climber, only a skier or only a Munro-bagger….or if you are a little bit of each ….then if you are enjoying it, carry on. These are all hobbies that require commitment and risk-taking, and I think all of them can be equally magic.


1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the half-way mark. My next Munro (maybe next weekend) will be the same. Absolutely agree with you, what an enlightening post. As a Munno-bagger (I agree with the dodgy connotations) who likes to climb, I've done my fair share of looking down at others... from the Munro-ing perspective! But some walk and have the the time of their lives, others climb hard drowned in doubt and denial. And the other way around.

    Live and let live in this case. I think to an extent the activity is irrelevant but the emotional response means everything.

    Again congrats on the half-way. Just have to complete them now. :)