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.