The Munros probably don’t need any introduction, but just in case… The Munros are a list of mountains in Scotland that are 3,000ft or over, catalogued by Sir Hugh Munro and published in 1891. There are currently 282 Munros and the pursuit of ‘compleating’ the Munros has become very popular over the last few decades and around 250 people compleat each year.
But what exactly does it take to complete the Munros? How many miles will you walk and how long will it take? If you’re just starting out on your Munro-bagging adventure be sure to check out my ‘Munro Bagging for beginners’ article. Otherwise read on for some Munros stats…
How long does it take to complete the Munros?
On average it takes 23 years to bag all the Munros, this works out at just over 12 Munros per year.
What is the average age to complete on?
The average age to compleat on is 54.
How many days walking will it take to complete the Munros?
If you followed all the standard route descriptions from the Walkhighlands website it would take 148 separate walking trips to bag all the Munros. This doesn’t include any over night stays in bothies or wild camping trips. For example you may choose to do the Fisherfield Munros with a night or two in Shenavall bothy.
Of course there are other factors to consider:
- You may do bigger multi bagging trips reducing days needed
- You may have to abort a trip due to bad weather and will have to return another day to get a Munro you missed.
I asked 20 Munroists how many hill days they needed and it averaged out at 145 days, which is 3 days off my calculation from my data gathering from the Walkhighlands website.
What is the total ascent and distance for a round of Munros?
This is incredibly difficult data to gather. I wish I’d taken note during my round. So to work this out I’ve based my stats on all the standard routes from Walkhighlands. A round of Munros would involve 167,905 metres of ascent or for those who prefer old money, that’s 550,869 feet. This is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest from sea level 19 times!
You will also walk around 2,720 kilometres (or 1,690 miles). That’s the equivalent of walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again.
How many people have completed?
At the time of writing this article (27 June 2017) 6,154 people have registered their compleation with the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC). However it’s unknown how many people have chose not to add their name to the list. To see the latest count visit the SMC website.
Since the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 where numbers dropped below 200, the amount of new Munroists has steadily climbed and remained above 200 per year. 2007 holds the record with 257 completions registered.
Believe it or not many Munrobaggers are not happy with just one round and will begin a second, third, fourth.. well you get the picture!
- Steven Fallon currently holds the record of 15 rounds of Munros.
- Hazel Strachan currently holds the female record with 8 rounds.
- Stephen Pyke holds the fastest time for a continuous round of Munros. Bagging all of them in 39 days, 9 hours and 6 minutes.
Multi round baggers have two techniques to bag; you’re either a ‘Banker’ or a ‘Golfer’.
Bankers will bag Munros they need for a future round to save time and effort. Whereas a Golfer will only do one round at a time and reset the clock at the end and begin a fresh round.
What is the split between men and woman compleatists?
In 1999 the Munro Society began collating stats of the male/female split. Out of 3,834 compleatists, only 751 of those were female. This would suggest that hill walking is a male dominated hobby, or perhaps the ladies are less inclined to register their completion.
Life after the Munros
So how do the other hill categories compare against the Munros? Analysing the compleation list of the 6,154 Munroists, I have collated the stats below for each hill category:
|Full House (all of above)||43||0.70|
Many Munroists may still be actively bagging other hill lists or haven’t bothered to register these with the SMC. Or perhaps they’ve hung up their boots?
Looking at a snapshot of total ascents recorded on Walkhighlands for each hill category paints a similar picture with the other categories dropping significantly.
Top Ten Highest Munros
9 of the 10 highest Munros are over 4,000ft, with Ben Lawers being a mere 17′ off the magic 4,000′ marker. Apparently locals built a huge cairn on the summit to get Ben Lawers up to 4,000ft. Of course this is cheating and the cairn has long since been removed.
4 of the 10 highest are in the Nevis Range and the other 5 are in the Cairngorms. Leaving Ben Lawers in 10th place.
|5||Sgor an Lochain Uaine||1,258m||4,127.3ft|
|9||Carn Mor Dearg||1,220||4,002.6ft|
Ben Nevis is the highest Munro and the highest mountain in the British Isles. Beinn Teallach is the smallest Munro only just making it by a bawhair (few centimetres)!
Top Ten most popular Munros
Cue the chart countdown music…
|6||Ben Vorloch (Loch Earn)||8115|
The ten most popular have a common theme; they are all easier and have paths, which make them ideal for beginners.
Ben More (Mull) and Beinn na Lap remain two of the most popular Munros to compleat on. With Ben More being an isolated, singular Munro on the Isle of Mull it makes it an obvious choice to leave until last. Whereas Beinn na Lap makes for a short ascent as you start at over 400 metres above sea level, making it a nice short day out for family and friends who want to attend a ‘compleation’.
The easiest and most difficult Munros
This is down to each individual because a Munro may be deemed easy because it has gentle gradients and a path all the way to the summit, for example like Ben Lomond. You could also argue The Cairnwell becuase you start the walk at 600m and can reach the summit in less than 30 minutes.
Again many Munrobaggers would say the InPinn is the most difficult Munro as it requires climbing with a rope and an abseil. Others may argue a remote Munro in the Fisherfield or Atholl Forest was the most difficult due to the distance and terrain.
So there you have it, some useless but interesting stats on the Munros. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your round even more now… If you’ve noticed I sometimes spelt completion wrong. It was intentional:- Compleat is an archaic spelling of complete.