The first 100 – a retrospective

The blog has recently been on something of a hiatus – for the simple reason I’ve not done any walking. This is partly intentional – i.e. after finishing off the 100 we needed a bit of a break – and partly due to circumstance – i.e. being extremely busy as well as a run of bad weather. Although we are heading to the North of Scotland for a week in the next few days, the weather forecast suggests that a last hurrah for the year is looking a bit unlikely.

From a numbers perspective we have done very few Munros this year, but hit a major milestone, doing our 100th Munro on Beinn Bhreac in October. Looking back at our Munro bagging career so far there have been definite highs and lows; some glorious days, and some days where it has been a case of grit teeth and get on with it, although there have been relatively few of those given we don’t like walking in poor weather.

The highs:

Our first was definitely a high – not least because given my back issues I had no real expectation of being able to manage one Munro, never mind 100 of the things. It didn’t hurt that we got a glorious spring day for the first, Beinn Ime in Arrochar – with glorious views all round. Finding out that I had managed to dye myself pink because the dye on my top had run was a minor low point not least because it took me a while to twig I didn’t have some sort of bizarre hill walking disease!

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Buachaille Etive Mor was a definite highlight – a hill I always thought would be in the too hard box, but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t that hard at all. Stunning views and an iconic hill.

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The first winter walk on Stob a’Choire Odhair on a stunning January day. First time with the ice axe and crampons.

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The Lochnagar round on a long spring day – most hills we have done in one day, and all on good paths/ terrain! A long walk but a cracker.

Our first wild camp – the Devil’s point, Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochan Uaine – a great round with a wonderful sunset for our camp (although too many midges!)

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Funnily enough although the 100 was a high for the achievement the actual walk could have been better, though that’s mainly due to the megabog we encountered on the hill – always a possibility in Scotland though..

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beinn bhreac

The lows:

Getting beaten back multiple times on Ben Vorlich was annoying, although all of them were for good reasons. At least we got a cracking day when we finally did it.

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Floundering around in bog on Cruach Ardrain with a stinking cold and bailing out with 200m of ascent to go. Still haven’t gone back to do that one!

Our 50th was actually a low point even though it was the highest point in the UK – Ben Nevis on a pretty awful day weather wise. It was a good day overall because a friend completed the Munros, but I found the CMD Arete in bad weather to be way outside my comfort zone, and am not in a hurry to go back.

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Ben Wyvis was probably the dullest hill so far – and I’m not really sure why given it was a nice day – just not inspiring. We’d turned back on that once before as a result of tiredness and a too late start and I think the hill just didn’t inspire us that much.

Ben Klibreck was an unmitigated bogfest from start to finish – the only saving grace being the great views from the top. But we spent so long floundering through bog it was difficult to enjoy them. Definitely a hill we won’t return to, and probably our least favourite day on the Scottish hills despite it being a glorious day weatherwise. Cemented my dislike of bog for good!

I think – as I have said before – that hill walking is what you make it; it’s about finding what you enjoy and what works for you, whether that is the views, the challenge, the exercise or a combination of lots of different things. It depends on fitness too; I’ve never really got hill fit this year, and as a result have had more success, and more fun, on the Wainwrights, bringing up the 50 of those as well. Let’s see what 2016 brings – there are no major numbers targets to aim at, as the next big milestones are a long way off. Fingers crossed though for some good days on the hill, some fun in the process, and of course a few glasses of Malbec to celebrate!

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