Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mountain Hiking in Scotland




When you hike a mountain with Peter Walker, be prepared to climb every last inch!

In this photo, Peter stands on top of a munro in Scotland. 'Munro' is the Scottish term for any mountain with a height greater than 3,000 feet (914.4 meters).

A History

The number of 3,000 + foot peaks in Scotland remained unknown for many years until a man named Sir Hugh Munro published a comprehensive list of the peaks in 1891. Known throughout the hiking, climbing and geography communities as the 'Munro Tables,' Munro’s list opened the door to the Scottish highlands and paved the way for mountain exploration in Scotland.

Today, people from around the globe visit Scotland to hike, climb or simply photograph a munro. "Munro bagging," an activity that involves climbing as many munros as possible, has also become a popular pastime.

According to the Scottish Mountaineering Club, there are 282 munros in Scotland, with another 227 subsidary tops. A subisidary top is any summit greater than 3,000 feet that doesn’t actually qualify as a separate mountain.

Hiking in Scotland with Ryder-Walker

Our new hiking tour in Scotland crosses some of the country’s most famous munros. Beginning in the historic town of Callander, on the east side of the Trossachs National Park, we’ll spend an entire week hiking across the most interesting peaks of the Scottish Highlands. We’ll climb mountains with names like Ben Vorlich (3,232 feet), Ben Lomond (3,196 feet), Ben Alligen (3,235 feet), and Ben Eighe (3,314 feet), the last of which is actually a complex mountain massif containing a long ridge with numerous spurs and subsidary summits.


While every munro boasts something special, from sweeping views to interesting geological formations, the Munros on Scotland’s Isle of Skye are perhaps the most mysterious and intriguing. Part of a rugged mountain group called the Cuillins of Skye, the munros in this part of Scotland are black, (due to the composition of the rock), jagged and satisfyingly remote. Hiking into the Cuillins, we’ll discover a world of bare rock, steep cliffs, and deep cut gullies.

Three thousand-foot summits might not sound very high when compared with the European Alps, (Mont Blanc is over 15,000 feet, for example), but it should be remembered that many of the surrounding villages in Scotland sit at, or slightly above, sea level. With this in mind, hikers should be prepared for ascents up to 3,000 feet during this tour. Side note; the views of Scotland's inner lakes, including Loch Ness, are pretty amazing!

Check out our website to learn more about the Scotland hiking tour. While the munro hiking is certainly the haggis and tatties of this tour, it’s the castle visits, the accommodations in stately manor houses (à la Downton Abbey), the cozy peat fires and the velvety glasses of scotch that make this trip an authentic Scottish experience. This is also a great excuse to try your hand at Munro bagging. There is one caveat to munro bagging, however. You must climb to the top of each marker cairn, (Peter Walker style), or the summit doesn’t count.

Please read our itinerary for more details.

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