To date, a total of 282 Munros have been recorded. At the top is Ben Nevis, with stunning views and an amazing climb. It stands at 4,413 ft in elevation. Much lower peaks also exist throughout Scotland. However, their height has no effect on the difficulty they pose in climbing. How many Munros in Scotland you can climb depends on your skill with mountains.
Shorter peaks in Scotland include the Black Cuillin on Skye. It stands at 3,250 ft, though it is not the shortest Munro. It is, however, one of the most challenging peaks. Conquering this peak requires a good amount of skill and experience. The Aonach Eagach in Glen Coe stands at 3,170 ft. This, too, is one of the most challenging peaks to climb.
What is a Munro?
Any mountain in Scotland over 3,000 ft. is a Munro. These are all listed on the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC)’s official Munro list. Other than their height, there are no topographical features to distinguish Munros. Named after Sir Hugh Munro, the Scottish Munros attract many mountaineers.
The list of Munros has undergone many variations over the years. The 2020 list by the SMC is the most updated account of known Munros in Scotland. Before their classification, a lot of uncertainty surrounded the number of such peaks. Now you can find the regularly revised list to see how many munros in Scotland there are.
Munros come with varying difficulty levels. Some offer a lot of challenges and can take a full day just to walk to. Others offer a much easier hike. The easiest Munros take only a few hours to climb. The most notable feat has been climbing 7 Munros in a day.
Why are they called Munros?
Munros are called as such after the man who first compiled a list. Sir Hughes Munro produced Munro’s Tables in 1891 as the most comprehensive list at the time. His list also included what he called Munro Tops. These are peaks above 3,000 ft, but smaller than the tallest nearby primary mountain.
Since its publication, the SMC has kept the list updated. Its first publication is thought to have set modern bagging into motion. The list also includes the names of mountaineers who have climbed these Munros.
The Munros listed span all across Scotland. Interestingly, Sir Munro was unable to summit all the peaks he had listed. The Rev. A. E. Robertson was the first individual to climb all of them in 1901. Today, the SMC registers over 5000 compleaters.
The history of Scotland’s Munros
The uncertainty regarding high Scottish peaks made a record of them necessary. The SMC, upon its establishment, undertook this arduous task. Sir Hugh Munro, as a founding member, took upon himself to accurately record peaks over 3,000 ft.
Sir Munro used his own mountaineering experience to aid the list. His analysis also included the study of Ordnance Survey maps. The Munro table originally consisted of some 538 peaks. 282 being separate mountains or Munros. The list also included Munro tops.
Sir Munro did not include any topographical distinction between Munros and Munro Tops. As such, they are a cause for much debate. The SMC has since regularly revised the tables with updated data. The revisions are also intended to address inconsistencies.
How many munros in Scotland are in record changes with each revision. Other classifications for peaks have also emerged since. Corbetts are peaks at a height of 2,500-3,000ft. classification. Grahams are classified between 2,000-2,500ft. classification. Munros are added to the list with new discoveries. Many Munros have also lost their status over the years with reevaluations. For example, the Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh was reclassified as a Corbett when found to be 2,998.8 ft tall.
How high are Munros?
The classification criteria for Munros is over 3,000 ft. peaks. That said, Munros can vary widely in height beyond that mark. Any peaks just below 3,000 ft fall under a different classification. Munro Tops are also peaks over 3,000 ft, but are distinguished from Munros. This is on the basis that they are not sufficiently separated to qualify as a Munro. You will be surprised to see how many munros in Scotland just barely qualify as such.
Ben Nevis is the tallest Munro on record. It towers at 4,413 ft. It can take over 6 hours to reach the summit. There are some easier tracks available, but the North face brings the most excitement. The crags and cliffs host snow year round and provide an interesting challenge. On a clear day, it offers wide-ranging views of the surroundings.
This Loch Lomond peak is the shortest known Munro in Scotland. It stands at a solid 3,000 ft. This peak is the shortest on the list, but fairly tricky. The climb is steep, and you will have to scramble here and there. It does offer amazing views of the Arrochar Alps and the Loch once you reach the top.
What is Munro bagging?
Munro bagging is an enthusiastic pastime and undertaking for many. Both casual climbers and abject mountaineers take on the challenge regularly. Munro bagging is the task of climbing as many peaks as one can. This challenge has been seen to lead to many adventures over the years.
Individuals who are able to climb all listed Munros can register with the SMC. They are known as compleaters, whose names are also listed by the SMC. To date, over 5000 individuals have achieved this feat. It also makes one eligible to join the Munro Club.
Munro bagging is a fun adventure and can be a great learning experience. It does require some preparation, especially if you do not climb often. Make sure to carry proper and sufficient equipment. Also ensure you have more than enough food and water supplies for your climb.
Munros can present challenges even in the best conditions, so plan ahead. Check out routes and forecasts, and plan your ascent. Accidents can sometimes happen, so come prepared. Inform someone of your whereabouts just in case. That said, this can be a great, stimulating and breathtaking experience for you.
Some Munros get a lot more attention from climbers than others. All of these peaks are unique in what they offer. From scenic views, to interesting trails, there is a lot to experience. Some of the most popular ones are listed below. See how many Munros in Scotland you can check off the list.
This is the most climbed Munro in Scotland. It has seen over 30,000 ascents to date. It is the most southerly Munro, on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond. Once at the top, you have undisturbed views of the Loch and its islands. Towards the north, you can see the Highlands.
Your ascnet is likely to be smooth up the well-made path. The return can be a bit tricky, especially along the Ptarmigan ridge. It offers a more steep and rocky descent. It generally offers a clear path to climb, with some rocky parts.
The Jeweled Mountain in Torridon is a truly remarkable peak. It most popularly boasts its own ridge, the Horns of Alligin. From the top, you have an amazing view of the sea and the Skye. The other side shows neighbouring peaks beyond the ridge.
The ascent is reasonably easy and straightforward. Among the Torridon peaks, this is the easiest to climb. Your path on the ascent and descent is pretty smooth. It is rather steep, which may give you trouble either way.
This is one the best peaks for a view of surrounding islands and Cuillin Ridge. It rises over loch Slapin at just over 3,000 ft. The ridge does not present any challenges during the ascent. You are likely to find a smooth path up. An alternative route along the South Ridge offers great views.
The descent on Bla Bheinn can be a bit more tricky. Along the north side, you will be met with a scrambling way down. It does feature a rocky slope not entirely suited to beginners. The climb has been graded “Difficult” so take caution before taking on this peak.
In the rugged Knoydart area of the Highlands lies this peak. Its remote location means there is no access to this mountain. Moreover, it does present some pretty challenging walking. The views it offers make up for the effort though. Views of Barrisdale Bay and Loch Hourn make the climb every bit worth it.
It is popularly regarded as one of the finest Scotland has to offer. Along with its amazing views it offers plentiful ridges and crags. Both the ascent and descent make for rough walking. There are no paths for the climb. You will also experience some short scrambles.
Munros for Beginners
Munros present many challenges to climbers. Even with easy walking, other factors like weather conditions play a role. Some munros do offer a much easier experience. Beginners are recommended to start with these Munros and make their way up.
Ben Lomond is a popular choice among climbers for the ease it offers. It’s a great first choice for people looking for a starting point. The path is fairly easy to master, and the ascent is simple. At the top, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views. Read on to see how many munros in Scotland offer an easier climb.
This peak is a well-known choice for climbers. Much of the reason is owed to the many activities you can engage in here. Other than simply climbing on foot, there’s a lot else to do. It is well-developed for skiing, and features the Ptarmigan restaurant.
The ascent starts from the ski center car park. It provides a fairly easy and simple climb. There are many accommodations, such as hotels in the area as well. The summit boasts some incredible views of the Highlands.
On a summer day, this easily qualifies as the easiest Munro in Scotland. It rises over Loch Rannoch, with a classic conical shape. From the top you can enjoy views of the Loch along with the Tummel and Glen Mor. This peak is easily visible, and can be seen from Edinburgh on a clear day.
The trail on this mountain is easy and well-maintained. The most difficulty to be faced is in the final stretch. Here is a boulder field that requires some care to cross. In winters, the presence of snow may pose some climbing difficulties.
The Hardest Munros
Some Munros present serious challenges to the most skilled climber. Rough terrain and tricky conditions give plentiful trouble. There are many munros who have gained such a reputation.
Known as the “inaccessible pinnacle,” it obtained its name for good reason. It is considered the most difficult mountain to climb in Scotland. Standing at 3,230 ft, it is the second-highest Skye Cuillin peak. It requires sufficient rock-climbing experience before any attempt can be made. The descent is almost impossible without an abseil. It also requires expert help for climbing.
This is known as one of the narrowest ridges in Scotland. This Glencoe ridge is known for giving plenty of trouble to climbers. The Grade 2 difficulty level requires some expertise before a climbing attempt. There are few escape options on this peak. It also challenges the climber to a significantly long scramble. The narrow ridge also threatens a great deal of exposure.
Located in a remote location, this northern peak offers excellent views. Easier than many others, it still offers some very tricky spots. It challenges a long walk, with both possible routes being lengthy. A wide, vast ridge makes up the summit to this peak.
Some sections along the path are difficult to navigate, especially in poor visibility. Some sections are rough and virtually pathlass, making for a challenging walk. Much of the route is also rather steep, with exposed sides in many places.
Munro bagging is by no means an easy task. You are likely to face many challenges in your adventures. However, it is a great experience of the nature and wilderness of Scotland. Start small and have fun, and enjoy the scenery along the way.