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The High Mountains of Britain & Ireland The Munros - Scotland's Highest Mountains The Munros and Tops Magic of the Munros Wilderness Walks The Munros - Scotland's highest mountains Scottish Mountains - 100 Best Routes Hamish's Mountain Walk

Climb aboard and bag a Munro

Carrying a heavy backpack may yield a sense of achievement and satisfaction but it is certainly not a pleasure and can totally destroy one's appreciation of even the most magnificent of mountain scenery. While it may be a necessary hardship on multi-day Alpine ascents and in reaching remote objectives such as Kebnekaise in arctic Sweden or Djebel Toubkal in the High Atlas, such purgatory is best avoided in a round of the Scottish Munros where the inevitable bog trots are bad enough without the added encumbrance of a 20Kg load of overnight camping gear - other options exist.

Walkers doing the West Highland Way can avail themselves of the "Travel-Lite" rucksac-ferrying service provided by Gilbert and Marion McVean from the trailhead in Milngavie, a local substitute for a Himalayan porter system.

Bicycles and skis ( the "magic slippers" of Hamish Brown, the ultimate Munroist with his umpteen rounds ) enable day trips to many of the far flung tops in the vast sprawl of the Cairngorms, while on one summer tour I used a canoe in bagging 11 of the most inaccessible of Scotland's peaks, the load carrying potential of canoes having been discovered on an island-hopping course on a choppy Loch Lomond.

Scottish Munros by Canoe, Ladhar Bheinn

Ladhar Bheinn from Barrisdale Bay on Loch Hourn

Ladhar Bheinn  is the highest mountain in the Knoydart region 

It is the most westerly Munro on the Scottish mainland.

My first water-borne assault on a Munro was a day trip down a tranquil Loch Treig beneath rugged, forested hillsides to reach the isolated Beinn Na Lap embedded deep within a great mountain wilderness and a long, long walk from all possible roadheads ( but in striking distance of Corrour Railway Station ).

A second, more ambitious foray, was a three day expedition to the secluded western end of picturesque Loch Monar.

Several trips were necessary to ferry all my camping and climbing gear from the car to the canoe - a full 30Kg load - maybe possible for a Nepalese porter but not for me.

Only an attack by a voracious swarm of midges then spoilt a leisurely paddle under a warm, summer sun reflecting brightly from a ripple-free surface on a perfect, windless day.

Near the head of the loch I pitched my tent in splendid, silent solitude on a grassy terrace ensconced beneath a great cirque of rocky buttresses and towering ridges.

Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr A'Chaorachain across Loch Monar

Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr A'Chaorachain across Loch Monar

On successive days two craggy and complex, high-level traverses on narrow, pinnacled aretes and over broad, flat plateau claimed the six summits of Lurg Mhor, Bidean A' Choire Sheasgaich, Sgurr Choinnich, Sgurr A Chaorachain, Creag Toll A' Choin and Maoile Lunndaidh - a superb cluster of hills.

Loch Treig

Some days later, I re-launched my canoe at the small village of Kinloch Hourn in the Knoydart peninsula. Crystal-clear waters revealed a multitude of fish darting among the rocks deep on the sandy bottom of the narrow inlet.

Beaching the canoe in a small bay I clambered to a rocky promontory to admire the surrounding grandeur and check my progress. Returning only a few minutes later, I was shocked to see the canoe drifting several yards out from the beach. I had failed to appreciate I was on a sea-loch and the in-coming tide had re-floated my canoe. In a panic, I splashed out and only just managed to retrieve it.

Rounding the headland into Barrisdale Bay a grassy, flowering meadow, above a wide sandy beach provided an idyllic campsite with a fine outlook across Loch Hourn to the long ridge and conical summit of Ladhar Bheinn.

Two challenging and strenuous days negotiating the rough bounds of Knoydart with its great cliffs and corries and three mighty Munros - Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe, Ladhar Bheinn - climaxed with one of the glorious, orange-red sunsets for which the west coast of Scotland is justly renowned.

View from summit of Ladhar Bheinn

A final sortie on Loch Mullardoch to collect the awkwardly located outliers of Bheinn Fhionnlaidh and Cread A' Choire Aird was in less clement conditions. But I doubt if any Munroist, even the redoubtable Hamish Brown, has obtained a good view from the summit of every Munro.

I had major problems in fording the Abhainn a' Choilich, in heavy spate after an all-day deluge ( fording burns in spate is one of the potentially fatal hazards of hillwalking in the Scottish Highlands ) and a somewhat nervewracking, but exhilarating, return down the loch propelled on the crest of white horses by a powerful westerly wind - far faster and infinitely preferable to a long, exhausting slog through the heather and peat bogs handicapped by a heavy backpack.

Munros by Canoe

Munros by Canoe

Motoring :: Ford Transit

My canoe trips made a significant and enjoyable contribution to completing the Munros - an activity that takes one off the beaten track and into the wildest and remotest corners of the Scottish Highlands - and far from the madding crowd - on this tour not another person was met on any of the hills.

( The Commentator, Glasgow HERALD, Saturday 20th March 1999 )

Sunset on Loch Hourn

Sunset on Loch Hourn

Sunsets & Sunrises Gallery


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Knoydart, Loch Hourn, Loch Duich - OS Explorer Map Glen Shiel & Loch Hourn - OS Landranger Map Western Scotland & the Western Isles OS Road Map Northern Scotland OS Road Map Southern Scotland OS Road Map

Travel & Guide Books:

Knoydart to Morven Knoydart, Skye, Wester Ross - West Coast Walks

The High Mountains of Britain & Ireland  Munros Tables SMC  The Munros - Scotland's Highest Mountains  Scotland - Lonely Planet  NW Highlands - SMC Guide  Exploring the Far NW of Scotland  Guide to Walks in NW Highlands

Walking in Scotland - Lonely Planet Mountain: Exploring Britain's High Places  National 3 Peaks Walk Scottish Highlands Hillwalking Guide The Scottish Islands Bouldering in Scotland

Scotland - Lonely PlanetScotland's Highlands & Islands - Lonley Planet Scotland's Highlands & Islands - Rough Guide Highlands & Islands of Scotland - Hidden Places Rough Guide ScotlandScottish Highlands & Islands - Rough Guide Rough Guide: Scotland Lonely Planet, Walking in Scotland Lonely Planet - Walking in Britain

50 Walks in Glasgow & SW Scotland 50 Walks in the Scottish Highlands & Islands 50 Walks in Edinburgh & Eastern Scotland 100 Walks in ScotlandVisit Scotland - Touring Guide Scotland: Where to Stay - Hotels & Guest Houses Scotland: Where to Stay - Bed & Breakfast Hillwalker: The MunrosHillwalker: The Corbetts

The Munros: Scottish Mountaineering Club The Munros and Tops The Corbetts - SMC Call of the Corbetts Munros & Corbetts Chart The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland Magic of the Munros The Munros - Scotland's highest mountains

Munro Almanac The Munros: Scottish Mountaineering Club Hamish's Mountain WalkThe Munros in WinterMy Scotland by Hamish MacInnes 50 More Routes on Scottish Mountains Scottish Mountains - 50 Classic Routes

The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland Scotlands 100 Best Walks Scottish Mountains - 100 Best Routes Big Walks of Great Britain Classic Walks in Britain & IrelandScottish Hill & Mountain Names Classic Mountain Scrambles in Scotland Classic Climbs - Central & Southern Highlands

Mountaineering in Scotland and Undiscovered Scotland by W.H.MurrayMore Wilderness Walks Wilderness Walks Wilderness Walks 2 - Video Ski Mountaineering in Scotland Ski Touring in Scotland Skye Scrambles The Cuillin

Skye - W.A.PoucherA Long Walk on the Isle of Skye 50 Best Routes on Skye and RaasayScrambles in Skye The CuillinsThe Isle of Skye

50 Best Routes on Skye and Raasay - Chris Townsend Pathfinder Guide: Skye and NW Highlands Walks Pathfinder Guide: Fort William and Glen Coe Walks Rambler's Guide: Ben Nevis and Glen CoeGlencoe Rock & Ice Climbing Scrambles in Lochaber Rock Climbing in Scotland Rock Climbing SkillsThe FACE: Six Great Climbing Adventures

Ben Nevis: Rock & Ice Climbs Great Snow & Ice Climbs of the British IslesTorridon: A Walkers Guide 100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains From the Himalaya to Skye One Man's Mountains - Tom Patey A Mountaineer's Tale - W.H.MurrayDougal Haston: Philosophy of Risk

The Glens of Rannoch Cairngorm Glens Glens of Trossach Knoydart to Morven Scottish Glens: The Atholl GlensThe Isle of Arran The Isle of Arran Walking in the Hebrides

  Southern Highlands - MapNorthern Highlands Central Highlands West Highlands The Islands Central Highlands SMCNW Highlands SMC Central Highlands: Six Long Distance Walks

The Cairngorms Cairngorms, Lochnagar, Mounth - SMC Walks in the Cairngorms The Cairngorms of Scotland Cairngorms Walks Winter Climbs in the CaingormsCairngorms - Mountain Bike Guide

West Highland Way: Official Guide West Highland Way: Rucksac ReadersWest Highland Way: TrailblazerThe West Highland WayWest Highland Way: Footprint MapWest Highland Way - Map West Highland Way - Map 100 Hillwalks around Glasgow

Weather for Hillwakers & Climbers Mountain Weather Guide to the Weather Weather: Collins Gem Hillwalking Handbook for Mountain Leaders Hillwalkers Manual Hillwalkers Guide to Mountaineering First Aid on Mountains

All Mountain Skier Off Piste Mountain Travellers HandbookMountaineering: Freedom of the Hills Mountaineering: The Freedom of the HillsHistory of Mountain ClimbingWorld's most significant ClimbsClimbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World

Mountain Leadership Handbook of Climbing - Hamish MacInnes Rope Techniques: The complete guideMountains of the Mind - A history..Mountains of the Mind - ExperiencesMaps and guides from Maps Worldwide

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