Sport

Student Spotlight. 282: Walking the Munros in a summer

In this student spotlight article we hear from Hillwalking Club member Chris Van Der Merwe on walking up all the Munros, the 282 hills in Scotland above 3000ft, in one summer.

282: Walking the Munros in a summer

Two students walking out from the northern Cullins to Sligachan.

This summer I was lucky enough to be able to get out in the hills for a few months and walk up all the Munros: the 282 hills in Scotland above 3000ft. I started on the 15th of May and was unsupported but drove between the groups of hills. I finished on the 31st of July with friends and family.

The Munros

The Munros are spread out all over the Scottish Highlands and vary greatly. Towards the east in the Cairngorms, they tend to be very broad and have expansive plateaus. Whereas on the west coast, the hills are much steeper and rise up from sea level. My favourite area, however, was the North-West highlands. The hills here are much rougher, more isolated, and provide a great feeling of adventure. I had amazing two-day trips around Loch Mullardoch and the Knoydart Munros, two of the most remote and stunning areas in Scotland. Even though it was summer, there were quite a few days I didn’t see a single person!

The best days of the summer were spent on the Cuillin ridge with Iain Houston, a friend from the EUMC. The Cuillin ridge holds the hardest Munros, requiring scrambling and some rock climbing, so I was grateful for Iain’s company and climbing expertise. We abseiled down the inaccessible pinnacle and the west ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean but otherwise scrambled, bypassing some climbing sections.

Group of walkers on the summit of Ben Lomond.

The final hill

My final hill of the summer was Ben Lomond, and I was joined by my Dad, Matt Shaw, Iain Houston, Louis Mackenzie, and Chris Dent (Munroist number 4475). The cloud lifted as we reached the summit. I was able to look over Loch Lomond to see the Arrochar hills, including Ben Vorlich, where I had begun my summer. Ben Vorlich was also the first hill I did with EUHWC, on a day trip in September 2022.

I am incredibly grateful for the hillwalking and mountaineering clubs here in Edinburgh and the amazing weekend trips they run. The best days of my life have been spent in the Scottish hills, and as cheesy as it sounds, it is an incredible privilege to be able to spend as much time in them as I do. I would encourage anyone with an interest to try out one of the clubs – it was the best decision I ever made.

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