Guest blog: The A-Z of Anne Butler

Anne is a self confessed hill bagger having completing a round of Munros from deepest darkest England (Devon). She has since moved up North to Scotland and is closing in on her 7th round of Munros. Her previous dog Mollie the collie was the first dog on record to complete a round of Corbetts and even the legendary Hamish Brown came along for the Canine Corbett Completion where champagne made way for cocktail sausages. Now Anne is very close to finishing the full round, this involves doing all the Munros, Munro tops, Furths, Corbetts, Grahams and Donalds. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing quite a few hill days with Anne across Scotland, Wales and Ireland and Anne is my first guest blogger taking on my 26 outdoorsy based A-Z questions, without further ado here goes:

Ascent: What is the most ascent you’ve done in one day?
It is probably a toss-up between 3 long hill days all giving about 2,220m of
ascent. I have climbed the South Glen Shiel ridge from Cluanie to Shiel Bridge
over the 7 Munros 7 times now. The round of 5 Auch Corbetts has only been
climbed once and split into shorter outings on subsequent revisits. I have
climbed the Glen Affric Munros of Mam Sodhail, Carn Eighe and Beinn
Fhionnlaidh plus a couple of Munro Tops a few times.
No wonder my knees are trashed.

Best friend: Who is your best hillwalking friend?
It would have to be my dog Molly. She was my companion on the hills for 9
years and some of the most memorable days of my life were shared with her.
She died last year and l still miss her terribly.

Molly the collie

Camping: Favourite camp spot?
Camping and I really don’t get on and I try to avoid ever having to do it at all!
Whilst l was climbing the Corbetts I camped on Rum and l am still mentally
scarred by the experience. The midges were horrendous and it was in the
middle of a heatwave so I nearly suffocated from heatstroke in the tent. The
midges were crawling out of Molly and attacking me all night whilst she slept
soundly and didn’t even notice them.

Dinner: What’s on the menu after a walk?
Usually something salty and unhealthy. Steak or a burger and chips (as long as
they are skinny fries and not those horrid fat chips favoured by people from
the north). Anything involving chocolate will do for pudding.
All washed down with an ice-cold Diet Coke.

Essential: What is your essential item of gear you always take?
For me it is always a good waterproof jacket and overtrousers. Walking in the
rain is depressing enough and getting wet down to my underwear makes me
even more grumpy.

Films: What is your favourite film?
Monty Python’s Life of Brian is my all time favourite and it still makes me laugh
out loud over 30 years since l first watched it. I really don’t rate any
mountaineering films as they are always so farfetched and unbelievable.

Greatest achievement: What is your great achievement?
Climbing my first round of the Munros was my greatest achievement without a
doubt. I lived in Devon at the time, it took me 7 years to climb them and I
completed on Sgurr Eilde Mor in the Mamores in 2005. This is very closely
followed by Molly climbing all the Corbetts. This was a journey we undertook
together and it was something l will never forget. We visited so many
memorable places, we camped and stayed in bothy’s, she abseiled and
kayaked and climbed to the top of The Cobbler……………..and l am sure she
enjoyed every minute of it.

Anne and Bill with Molly on her Corbett completion. 

Highest mountain: What is the highest mountain you’ve climbed?
Apart form the Rock of Gibraltar l have never climbed outside the UK so it is
Ben Nevis.

International: Where abroad would you most like to walk?
To be honest I don’t have any desire to walk abroad at the moment. Bill (my
husband) was born in Zambia and would like to revisit someday. I wouldn’t
mind going to Iceland eventually but l really don’t like the heat so that cuts a
huge amount of the world out. I’m a bit of a home bird really.

Joke: What’s your favourite joke?
Two Nuns in the bath. One says to the other ‘where’s the soap?’ and the other
replies ‘yes it does doesn’t it’

Kilometres: What’s the longest distance you’ve walked?
40km (25miles) all on foot. The walk was unplanned, hence the lack of bikes.
Robin and l had bailed out of Glen Dessary in abysmal weather and followed
the good weather east to climb Robin’s remaining two Cairngorm Munros (Ben
Avon and Beinn a’ Bhuird from Invercauld). Blethering all day and an enjoyable
scramble up the summit tor took our minds off our sore feet. The day was only
spoilt by trying a deep-fried Mars Bar from the chip shop in Ballater on the way
home. I still feel sick when l think about it.

Lost: Have you ever been lost?
Never lost as in I didn’t know where I was but l have been ‘temporarily
misplaced’ on many occasions. The Essians were our 9th and 10th Munros and
we walked off the wrong ridge and realised that Ben Nevis was actually getting nearer and realised we were descending into the Lairig Leacach. It was a very
long walk back to the car. Obviously it was Bills fault.

Mountain: What’s your favourite mountain?
Beinn Alligin in Torridon. It has everything, ever changing views and a bit of a
scramble if you are feeling adventurous.

Nickname: What’s your nickname and why?
Nursie. Well l was a nurse for over 25 years so quite obvious really.

Outdoors: What got you into the outdoors?
When we lived in Devon I owned a horse and spent most of my free time riding
over Dartmoor. When l met Bill, we started walking on Dartmoor. Then on a
trip to Scotland where Bill was based for a few months with the Navy we
visited Nevisport in Fort William and l brought the Munros book. We climbed
Ben Lomond and never looked back.

Pub: What is your favourite pub after a walk?
Kintail Lodge Hotel or The Old Inn at Carbost. Always a good meal after a long
day. But to be honest l prefer a good café with cake and Diet Coke…………….the
Mountain Café in Aviemore fits the bill perfectly.

Quiet: How do you get your solitude?
Over the last 3 years l have spent the vast majority of my time on Grahams and
Donalds so rarely meet anyone and solitude is almost guaranteed. Walking
with Molly and Ralph l don’t really feel alone and l am enjoying getting back to
the Munros where you do actually meet people which is a bit of a novelty.

Reading: What was the last outdoors book you read?
I am currently re-reading Manny Gorman’s ‘The Corbett Run’ about his 70 day
self-propelled trip over the Corbetts. I have just finished (again a re-read) the
chapters in Mike Cawthorne’s ‘Wilderness Dreams’, describing his continuous
Munro round. I always prefer to read books l can relate to.

Season: Which one?
Summer for me every time. The colours, long unrushed days, the snow has
gone and the wildlife is abundant. The clegs and midges are the only down
side. I’ve never seen the almost fanatical obsession some people have with

Tent or bothy: What do you prefer?
Bothy every time. Not just the practicalities of sharing a tent with a dog, l
dislike carrying a bigger pack. For me, bothy’s are ideal to use as a base for
several hill days and l always enjoy the social aspect of meeting so many
different people and learning about the history of the buildings.

Useful: What useful advice would you give to beginners?
Do your own research. Planning a walk by yourself from books, maps and the
internet is invaluable in building your skills and confidence.…………..and boots,
don’t buy cheap boots. Get the best you can afford and get them fitted by
someone who knows how to do it. Nothing will ruin your day more than
painful feet.

View: What’s your favourite view?
The view from Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda on Skye looking out to sea.

Anne’s favourite view.

Wildlife: What is your favourite wildlife?
Mountain hare. Such an amazing creature, their adaptability to such extreme
conditions and watching them on the hillside standing stock still to avoid the
attention of the dogs (and it works)!
I would also like to visit some of the Hebridean islands to see Puffins close up.

X-Files: What scares you?
Weather extremes such as gales and thunderstorms will keep me off the hills.
People underestimate the power of the wind. A friend of mine was walking in
Coire Lochain on Cairngorm and got picked up and blown 20m horizontally
across the boulders by a 50mph gust of wind. He fractured his ankle, had to be
airlifted out of the corrie and was off the hill for 9 months recovering.

Yuck: What disgusts you?
Animal cruelty. But on a more personal level people who crap on the hills and
don’t bury it…………and then the dog rolls in it.

Zzz: What bores you?
Politics, gardening and housework.

So there you have it, Anne Butler in a nutshell. Can’t believe she doesn’t like camping or deep fried Mars bars!

If you’d like to be my next guest blogger answering the 26 Outdoorsy A-Z questions, please drop me a email or leave a message in the comments box below with your email and I’ll be in touch.



10 thoughts on “Guest blog: The A-Z of Anne Butler

    1. It really has nothing to do with what you have done in life.
      Some people get OA of their hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, neck or ankles and some don’t.
      Why do some people get it and some don’t is one of life’s great unanswered questions

      1. From all the walkers I know who are having hip replacements at the same age, while our lazier colleagues aren’t, it’s definitely wear and tear!

      2. Carol. I spent the majority of my nursing career in orthopaedics and l have probably nursed more patients having hip and knee replaements than you. Most people needed surgery due to everyday wear and tear from their very unremarkable and very normal lives. There were very few athletes, cyclists or hill walkers. Most of these types of activity resulted in soft tissue injuries or fractures with some requiring inpatient treatment.
        The Munro Society has a huge amount of eldery hill walkers and only one has had a THR.

      3. All the walkers I know are having one and they’re my age – if they’re not, they need one. Mine wouldn’t have worn out without all the bashing it had over the last 13 years – well, not for a good many more years anyway.

  1. I think hill walkers who’ve had hip replacements would have had them sooner or later, but years of hillwalking has exacerbated an underlying problem that would have caught up with them in later life.

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