Today was my first proper long-distance mountain run, a 16-mile jaunt across three Monadhliath Munros above Newtonmore. It was also my first run with a bumbag – or beltpack as Inov8 like to jazzily call it – containing water, a little food, waterproof, Helly Hanson, map and compass.
With the wind light, the temperature mild and the going trouble-free, all I needed was the water and food, while I wouldn’t have been without the map for the sake of reassurance in what is isolated, wild country.
Munro number one and the most impressive of the three was Carn Dearg, before a five-mile drag across a high plateau took me to Carn Sgulain, possibly one of the dreariest Munros I have encountered. My final 3,000er was A’Chailleach, where instead of plunging downhill to the glen, I stayed high, climbing Geal Charn and Carn na h-lolare before wearily trudging back to Glen Banchor.
So, the verdict: running versus walking? The run took me a little over three hours, a walk would have taken nearer seven. Yes, running may be more physically taxing, but it was a revelation to be able to move over the mountains so quickly, to be able to stand on the summits of three Munros in the time it takes to play two halves of football.