Fancy bagging a Munro? Or conquering a Corbett? Or perhaps grabbing a Graham? Don’t panic, we are talking about mountains in Scotland and here’s our guide to the best climbs.
Munros are Scottish summits over 3,000 feet, which were first catalogued by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. There is some debate as to what is a Munro and what isn’t, but the current list was made by a committee of the Scottish Mountaineering Council and that’s good enough for us. According to them, there are 284 Munros and 517 tops – secondary peaks over 3,000 feet.
Since the list was first published it has become something of a sport to ‘bag’ them. Climbing every Munro is the aim of the game, something that over 6,000 climbers have achieved. They are known as Compleatists or Munroists.
We’ll leave the complete set to the Compleatists and tell you about some of the best Munros to start your collection, near to our lochside locations of Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre in Scotland. We have included links to WalkHighlands, which has a wealth of information as well as walkers’ own stories.
Ben Lomond 3,196 feet
Bagging a Munro is not for the faint-hearted but Ben Lomond is a relatively easy start. There is a clear path taking you to the summit and the views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding area are worth every step of the ascent. As are the chance sightings of peregrine falcons, merlin and even golden eagles. Ben Lomond is the most southerly of the Munros and it is about an hour’s scenic drive from Strathyre along the Duke’s Pass.
Ben Vane 3,002 feet
The mountains that provide the backdrop to Ardgartan Argyll are known as the Arrochar Alps, their steep and rocky peaks resembling a scaled down version of their namesake. Here you can bag a few Munros, including Ben Vane, which qualifies with just 2 feet to spare. Its height is deceptive though, and it’s a rugged little mountain that will test your stamina. Ben Vane is just a 20-minute drive from Ardgartan Argyll.
Beinn Ime 3,317 feet
While in the Arrochar Alps, cast your eyes heavenwards for the next Munro, the highest in the Arrochar Alps. Beinn Ime, in English ‘Butter Hill.’ This conical, often snow-capped mountain, has four routes to the top, and the one to opt for if you are staying at Ardgartan Argyll, is from Loch Long car park, a three-minute drive from our cabins. The other Munros you can bag in these peaks are Beinn Narnain and Ben Vorlich.
Ben Vorlich 3,232 feet
We don’t want to confuse you but there are two Ben Vorlichs! There is one in the Arrochar Alps and there is this one, which overlooks Loch Earn and our own Loch Lubnaig at Strathyre. Ben Vorlich and its neighbouring peak, Stuc a’Chroin are, for many, the first Munros they see as they head North past Stirling. Ben Vorlich, is best climbed from the north at Ardvorlich and is a moderate climb with rewarding views.
Stuc a’Chroin 3,199 feet
Ben Vorlich’s neighbour, Stuc a’Chroin looks very similar from a distance but closer up it presents more of a challenge. The two Munros are usually bagged as a brace, with the climb to the summit of Ben Vorlich being followed by a dip to the bealach, or mountain pass, and then a difficult and rocky ascent to the summit of Stuc a’Chroin.
It really takes a whole day to bag one of these Munros and you should take advice to ensure that you are prepared for all kinds of weather and have enough provisions for the expedition. As we head into late summer and the early autumn it’s a great time to head out, before the more treacherous winter conditions approach.
Don’t forget the Corbetts
You might be wondering what on earth a Corbett, or a Graham is, having read this far with no mention of them since the beginning. Well, broadly speaking – and we could make it a lot more complicated - Corbetts are mountains from 2,500 feet to 3,000 feet and Grahams are 2,000 feet to 2,499 feet. There are other lists too, but let’s keep this simple.
We mention these for two reasons: one is that you might not be up to the commitment required to climb a Munro and this gives you a welcome alternative. The second reason is that we don’t want you to miss our beloved local mountains The Cobbler at Ardgartan Argyll and Ben Ledi at Strathyre. They both just miss Munro status and fall into the Corbetts category. And, in our humble opinion, they both offer the most glorious walks and the best views!