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Sir Hugh Thomas Munro (16 October 1856 to 19 March 1919)

It goes without saying that the Bloody German Munro Baggers (aka Frank and Cord) pay tribute to the man whose work of listing and categorizing the highest Scottish mountains created the background for our hill-walking adventures in Alba since the mid-1990s. More than seventy years after Sir Hugh’s passing away in Provence in France, we climbed our first Munros (Ben Alligin and The Saddle, respectively). Ninety-eight and a half years after his death we completed our Munro round in 2017.

Sir Hugh’s list was first an item of curiosity, then of interest, later it became a daunting task and then finishing it off turned into a mild obsession. From the short biographical texts and media available on the web it seems that Sir Hugh was a meticulous worker. Fulfilling the job of listing the Scottish mountains higher than 3000ft assigned to him by the SMC was certainly only doable because he had some compulsive character traits plus considerable will and stamina. Compiling such lists is not art, it is tough work. Ticking off the list – after having climbed the hills, that is (!) – involves tough work as well. But there is more to lists:

Deer, eagle, fox, dog, hare, spider, frog, toad, ptarmigan, grouse, weasel, pine marten, owl, otter, adder, fish, highland cattle, crow, raven, worm, sheep, owl, squirrel and yes, capercaillie. And oh: midge. Gneiss, sandstone, granite, quartz, hornblende, gabbro, dolerite, rhyolite, feldspar, schist, shale and limestone. Burn, firth, river, reservoir, lochan, loch and allt. Ben, Beinn, Sgur, Sgurr, Sgor, Sgorr, Pap, Meall, Carn, Mullach, Spidean, Tom, Creag or Aonach.

Dreich days, foggy days, snowy days, sunny days. Frostbite, soaked skin, blisters and sunburn. OS maps, the compass dangling from our necks, GPS helping in white out conditions and letting us down after a few hours of steady rain. Gentle breezes, light winds, blustering gusts, raging storms. A Brocken spectre, halo rainbows, cloud inversion.

Evenings spent in holiday cottages, inns, hotels, b&bs, pubs, tents and at least one bothy. Post-hike Coca Colas bought … [Read More]

2019-03-18T08:30:53+01:00March 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Clisham

Route No. 100 in Ralph Storers Book 100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains formed a fitting end to our excursion to the Outer Hebrides in spring 2018. The 2018 trip to Scotland was the first in 25 years during which we climbed no Munro at all having finished our first – and likely last – round of the coveted 282 hills in September 2017 on A’Mhaighdean.

The relatively modest height of these island hills is more than compensated for by their unique setting: The blue Atlantic Ocean in almost every view from the summits, the sea lochs snaking into the heart of North Harris, the white sand and emerald-coloured water of Luskentyre beach, to name but one of them.

The Clisham circuit of course forms the most challenging and most rewarding high-level trip in Harris. With Tomnaval, Clisham, Mulla bho Deas, Mulla bho Thuath and Mullach an Langa surrounding Loch Vistem and Glen Scaladale this is a ridge walk that need not fear comparisons with many a mainland classic.

We opted for doing the whole circuit in exactly the way Mr Storer describes it. This meant a start at the bridge over the Scaladale River where there was enough space to park our car beside the A859. The hike along the A859 to where the easy path towards Tomnaval branches of to the right took us less than 10 minutes. With the crags of Castail Ard to our left we headed up this hikers highway to the three lochans which appear one after the other close to where the path reaches its highest point. Leaving the path behind we took a line avoiding the crags above Lochan a’Chleit Ard which led us through thick heather up onto the broad shoulder of Tomnaval. Once on the open grassy shoulder it was an easy tramp over successive bands of rock to the summit region of Tomnaval. Before we reached the summit we headed due west to the bealach between this hill and Clisham.

At the bealach we rested for … [Read More]

2019-02-08T13:20:25+01:00May 24th, 2018|2018|

Alba 2017 – A Video

I started carrying a quadrocopter with me while bagging the Munros since 2016. The first results were horrible, i struggled with the wind, with the fear to loose the copter and always with the constantly changing conditions on the Scottish hills – you know what i mean. I am still far, far away from good results – it is still difficult for me simultaneously concentrating on flying and filming. But this clip with recordings from our two trips to Scotland in 2017 is good enough to show it to whomever it may interest.

2018-12-27T19:39:35+01:00December 30th, 2017|2017|

COMPLEATED!

We did it finally! Munrocount 282! Munros left 0! Compleation! A lot of exclamation marks! After 25 years of visiting Scotland we finally ticked our final 2 Munros Ruadh Stac Mor and A’Maigdhean in Fisherfield Forest. Not everything went as planned. If you want to know more about read Cord’s nicely written article below. For now this will be one of the last entries at this blog. It was fun while it lasted!

2019-01-04T09:43:44+01:00September 18th, 2017|2018 - 2010, Compleation|

A’Mhaighdean

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” as the text from a poem by Robert Burns says. The intention to bag our final Munros in June 2017 had come to nothing when less than perfect tour planning and even less perfect weather conditions had seen us do only six successful hill walks during the nine days we spent in Alba. The sub-optimal use of our time left us with a total of 280 Munros bagged and A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor still unticked when we left Scotland in early June. After a few days back in Germany it became clear to us that we did not want to wait until 2018 for the compleation to take place. We checked our calendars and decided that the weekend of 9 and 10 September 2017 would see us back in Scotland to return to the Fisherfield Forest.

So when we landed at EDI on Friday 8 September we were looking forward to our compleation weekend. Off we went in our cosy little Audi A1 towards the Northwest Highlands. We stacked up on provisions for the weekend and on gas for our stove in Aviemore. At around 5:45 p.m. we reached Corrie Hallie, slipped into hiking clothes and shouldered our really heavy rucksacks. At 6:10 p.m. we left the parking and embarked on the hike towards Shenavall Bothy some eight kilometres away in Strath na Sealga.

The going on the track was good but the heavy load slowed us down considerably. It took us about one hour to reach the cairn beside the Landrover track that marks the starting point of the footpath to Shenavall that skirts around the lower slopes of Sail Liath of An Teallach. Rain kept coming down on us. In fact the whole week had been very wet in the West. Soon after the highest point of the footpath had been passed the track dissolved into a muddy and boggy quagmire interspersed with the all so well-known slabs you can find … [Read More]

2019-01-04T09:40:55+01:00September 9th, 2017|2017, 2018 - 2010, Compleation, Loch Marree to Loch Broom|

Ruadh Stac Mor

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” as the text from a poem by Robert Burns says. The intention to bag our final Munros in June 2017 had come to nothing when less than perfect tour planning and even less perfect weather conditions had seen us do only six successful hill walks during the nine days we spent in Alba. The sub-optimal use of our time left us with a total of 280 Munros bagged and A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor still unticked when we left Scotland in early June. After a few days back in Germany it became clear to us that we did not want to wait until 2018 for the compleation to take place. We checked our calendars and decided that the weekend of 9 and 10 September 2017 would see us back in Scotland to return to the Fisherfield Forest.

So when we landed at EDI on Friday 8 September we were looking forward to our compleation weekend. Off we went in our cosy little Audi A1 towards the Northwest Highlands. We stacked up on provisions for the weekend and on gas for our stove in Aviemore. At around 5:45 p.m. we reached Corrie Hallie, slipped into hiking clothes and shouldered our really heavy rucksacks. At 6:10 p.m. we left the parking and embarked on the hike towards Shenavall Bothy some eight kilometres away in Strath na Sealga.

The going on the track was good but the heavy load slowed us down considerably. It took us about one hour to reach the cairn beside the Landrover track that marks the starting point of the footpath to Shenavall that skirts around the lower slopes of Sail Liath of An Teallach. Rain kept coming down on us. In fact the whole week had been very wet in the West. Soon after the highest point of the footpath had been passed the track dissolved into a muddy and boggy quagmire interspersed with the all so well-known slabs you can find … [Read More]

2019-01-02T22:23:14+01:00September 9th, 2017|2017, 2018 - 2010, Compleation, Loch Marree to Loch Broom|

Compleating The Munros – Next Try

After failed compleating in June we didn’t wailed for long but put ourself together and planned our next trip to Scotland. So we are going again in September, fly in to Edinburgh, drive to Corrie Hallie, walk in to Shenavall, built up our tents, will have a nice outdoor meal and of course a wee dram or two, sleep well, get up early in the morning AND will hopefully finally bag Ruadh Stac Mòr and A’Mhaighdean. Then we will walk out and drive to Ullapool and will have a compleater curry and hopefully lots of beers. And while we are in that marvellous area there should be a return to An Teallach, one of our first Munros. Definitely looking forward to that microadventure.

2017-09-19T14:14:55+01:00June 29th, 2017|2018 - 2010, Uncategorized|

Munro Count 2

It is as it is. We missed our compleating goal. 280 in the sack, 2 Munros left: A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor in Fisherfield Forest. We blame organizational faults and of course the weather. So another last trip is what we need to compleate. Nothing planned yet but we will for sure come again.

2017-09-19T14:14:55+01:00June 16th, 2017|2017, 2018 - 2010, Uncategorized|

Sgurr Dearg – The InPin

In 2007 Frank and I had been acting under the delusion of being able to summit the Inaccessible Pinnacle on our own when we had first visited the Sgurr Dearg summit area. But we soon had realized that climbing the Pinnacle without professional help would be foolhardy to say the least. So on 7 June 2017 we met our friendly guide Ian at the Glen Brittle Memorial Hut (why is it called ‘Memorial’ Hut?). Ian handed us our climbing gear (harness and helmet) and soon we were on our way on the path that leads up towards the Eas Mor and the west ridge of Sgurr Dearg.

After a short test of our stamina and fitness on behalf of Ian, who stormed up the path like a torpedo, we settled into a more leisurely speed suited to our limited energies and lower lung capacities. Anyhow, we made good progress on the excellent path and soon left the grass behind. The lower part of the ridge between Coire na Banachdich and Coire Laggan is quite steep and in the middle of the ascent a chimney of sorts catered for some very mild scrambling in order to avoid an alternative path in the unpleasantly steep scree slope. Soon we topped out on a slightly flatter section of the ridge and continued on the obvious path towards Sgurr Dearg. Ian pointed out the highest source of fresh water in the Cuillins, a little spring where cold water was merrily dripping from one of the rocks. Delicious. The views into the corries below and out towards the sea were stupendous! Only the summits hid in the clouds on this otherwise sunny day.

Then we were getting close to the rocky upper section of Sgurr Dearg’s ante summit(s). Due to the traffic on the ridge and the possibility of someone above us dislodging stones we put on our helmets before we entered into the more scrambly section of the climb towards Sgurr Dearg. Over boulders, along the ridge and along … [Read More]

2019-01-02T22:06:31+01:00June 9th, 2017|2007, 2017, 2018 - 2010, The Islands|

Sgurr Dubh Mor

June 2017 was a rather wet month in the Northwest Highlands. Frank and I had experienced what it means to be scrambling in the Skye Cuillins in bad weather in 2007 when we climbed five Skye Munros in clag, got drenched to the bones on more than one occasion and turned back a few dozen metres below the summit of Sgurr Dubh Mor because the rocks were wet and slippery on the more exposed parts of the scramble. So this time we patiently waited for a weather forecast predicting acceptable conditions in the Cuillins.

Thursday 8 June 2017 was such a day. At about nine o’clock we parked our car at the end of the public road in Glen Brittle and set off towards Coire a’Ghrunnda. The going on the broad path was easy until we rounded Sron na Ciche and the steep rocky climb into Coire a’Ghrunnda proper started. Once the first steep section was completed at about 400m the lip of the upper corrie girt by large rocks, boulder fields and the outflow of the loch cascading down over a succession of slabs came into view about 250m above our present position. We continued the climb up the steep path on the very left-hand side of the corrie through scree and over boulders in the passing company of three or four other groups of hikers. Some minor scrambling was called for before we reached the Loch Coire a’Ghrunnda at about 700m. This is a real gem of a corrie! We sat close by the shoreline of the loch and marvelled at the scenery trying to name the hills which encircle the loch.

Our aim was Sgurr Dubh Mor which is not visible from the corrie since its slightly lower sibling Sgurr Dubh an da Bheinn and Caisteal a’ Garbh-choire line the main Cuillin ridge and block the view towards the Munro located on a side ridge leading towards the east. From the loch we climbed up towards the Bealach a’ Garbh-choire but … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:56+01:00June 8th, 2017|2017, 2018 - 2010, The Islands|