Munro-bagging becomes a little easier, again

My Munro-bagging efforts have been lacklustre in 2011 (and, for that matter, 2010). Living in England hasn’t helped. I managed 38 in 2009 (at a time when home was Inverness). My Munro count plummeted to a miserable one in 2010 (not including repeat ascents on the bens Nevis and Wyvis), although the one was at least a good…

A view from Ben Wyvis… at last

I’d never climbed Ben Wyvis on a clear day. A vast tract of the wild north that I knew must be visible from the summit plateau had been elusive during my previous four forays, hidden from view by obstinate walls of mist. Furthermore, life on the plateau had a habit of being wind-blasted and breathtakingly cold, even…

Loch Lochy Munros

I’d forgotten how hard Scottish hill running is. My last outing had been the Ben Nevis race last September; memories of the anguish of the grassy bank, the relentless of the slope, the desperate tiredness of the road, had ebbed away. It took a wander over the Loch Lochy Munros to remind me how brutal…

Ben Nevis Race 2010

Eroded and overcrowded it may be, but I’ve grown fond of Ben Nevis. It was the first Munro I climbed, as a brief walking interlude while cycling between John  O’ Groats and Lands End on a snowy May day in 2003. I climbed it with my girlfriend, now fiancée, two years later, with swirling mist obscuring any…

Ben Nevis Race – good weather prospects?

The 2010 edition of the Ben Nevis Race is nearly upon us. The big question is: What will Mother Nature deliver? The MWIS forecast for the west Highlands predicts an 80 per cent chance of cloud-free Munros, no rain, but quite breezy. Sounds promising. For Fort William, the BBC expects a day of cloud with sunny intervals, with…

Inaccessible Pinnacle

Munro number 59 was a tricky one: Inaccessible Pinnacle, the only Munro that requires climbing expertise. There are two ways up. By the west ridge – a vertical climb, rated vdiff. Or by the east ridge – an airy, exposed scramble, rated moderate. We gained Sgurr Dearg and the base of Inaccessible Pinnacle by Coire Lagan and the An…

283 Munros in 100 days – at 66

Now here is a man that deserves respect: Gerry McPartlin, a 66-year-old retired GP who is attempting to conquer Scotland’s 283 Munros in a continous 100-day journey. Starting at Ben Lomond on April 10 and compleating on Ben Chonzie, he will cover 1,000 miles and climb some 400,000ft. It is a test of endurance that would examine…

Craig Dunain

Up Craig Dunain again, yet again. There is no other hill or mountain I have climbed so frequently, at the moment three times a week. And why not? The hill is a perfect training ground within easy running distance of Inverness. Craig Dunain – all 288m of it – doesn’t look terribly impressive in this photograph, but it’s a…

Ben Nevis Race – in!

I’m in! I’ve got a place in the Ben Nevis Race, the pinnacle of the Scottish hill racing season. I’m excited, yet nauseous.

Ben Nevis race 2010

I’ve entered the Ben Nevis race. That doesn’t mean I’ll get a place. That wasn’t meant to rhyme. I’ve just put an application in the post. Hopefully, the local yobs don’t torch the pillar box containing my neatly folded entry form and cheque tonight, which, in the part of Inverness I live in, is a possibility….

Charging for Ben Nevis

About 160,000 people climb Ben Nevis every year, a quarter of them of them charity walkers. Obviously, their charitable intentions are to be praised. But those 40,000 people – many of them arriving, leaving and scaling the Ben at the same time – left an almighty mess. The car park was strewn with litter and the toilets used…

Meall Gorm

Pigs. Or were they boars? I encountered this lot at Fannich Lodge after walking a loop of the two southernmost Fannich Munros, Meall Gorm and An Coileachan, today. I was eating the last of my food when I was startled by a grunt, which sounded like a rutting stag, although this was disconcertingly close. Moments later, I was surrounded…