Ultimate Tick list- Hillwalking in Scotland
When Sir Hugh T Munro listed the mountains in Scotland over 3000-feet it was inevitable that people would want to climb them all. Unwittingly he set in motion a phenomenon of list compiling, ticking-off lists and even ticking-off the list of lists. For it now seems there are as many lists as there are mountains – well maybe not but there are a lot and here are just some of them. Here is our Ultimate tick list to hillwalking in Scotland
The original list that started it all off: all the peaks over 3000-feet (914.4m) in Scotland of which there are 282. He also included the notion of Munro Tops – peaks which are not sufficiently separate enough from the main mountain to be considered a Munro in their own right. In total, there are 508 Munros and Munro Tops and purists set out to climb them all – it does however make the task considerably harder and the days much much longer.
The problem with Munros list is that other than the measurement of heights there is no science involved. Munro set no criterion for distinguishing a Munro from a top and relied instead on his own subjective judgement: if it looked like a separate mountain then it was.
Insisting that there be at least 150-metres of re-ascent on all sides however reduces the original list to 197– these mountains are often referred to as “real” Munros. There are also Furth Munros – mountains over 3000-feet elsewhere in the British Isles and Metric Munros – mountains over 1000-metres with 100-metres re-ascent but let’s move on.
If you’re looking for more information about the extreme Munro’s check out our ‘Scary Munro’s’ blog here
When John Rooke Corbett came along wondering about how many hills and mountains in Scotland lay between 2,500 feet (762-metres) and 3000-feet (914.4-metres) he decided to be altogether more scientific and systematic in his whole approach. He was the first to introduce a minimum re-ascent rule of 500-feet on all sides. List tickers undoubtedly welcome the clarity but unlike Munros, satisfying days-out linking and ticking-off multiple Corbetts are rare. There’s a group of five between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy but it is a day in the hills that takes commitment.
There are a rather neat 222 Corbetts. Corbett’s omission however is that he did not consider the concept of Corbett Tops. He obviously did not realise the obsessive nature of the list tickers to come who would insist on clarifying such matters but more about that later.
This is where it really starts to get complicated. Percy Donald confined his efforts to the South of Scotland but his fondness for complexity knows no bounds. He sought to list the hills south of the Highland boundary fault that were over 2000-feet high and had 100-feet of re-ascent. Donald Tops have an all-round drop of 50-feet but Donald added-in a formula that attempted to measure “separation” and took this into account when compiling his list. This is truly for the train-spotters so I’ll leave it there for there are Donalds that are also Corbetts and Grahams. Pfft.
This is the point where we go properly metric. Grahams are hills throughout the whole of Scotland that are between 600-metres and 762-metres (2500-ft). The upper limit is set so as not to encroach on Corbett’s list. There are I think 231 Grahams – the total is a moveable feast and there much debate among those attempting to define these so called middle hills. These are however the hills on which you are least likely to meet a list ticker and if you have read this far you may well consider this to be a blessing. Grahams are for the hard core.
Dawsons or Marliyns
List tickers claim to have a sense of humour and Marilyns are a tongue-in-cheek description of every lump and bump in the five nations that make up the British Isles. Think of Marilyn Monroe and her most prominent attributes and you’ll get the joke. Alan Dawson however is the true culprit for this list. Dawson set out to come up with the ultimate definition of a summit. A Marilyn is a summit with a prominence of 150-metres. Nothing else matters. There are 1,522 of these babies and include most of the Munros and all-of the Corbetts. Some are to be found in car parks, quarries and rather annoying for list tickers include sea stacks that are very difficult to climb.
Dawson may have considered his list definitive and the matter closed but oh no there are many more lists and variations on the theme but does anyone care?
Hillwalking tours with Intrepidus Outdoors
Intrepidus Outdoors is an outdoor adventure tours provider based in Edinburgh, with one of our specialties being Hillwalking tours. Our hillwalking tours take clients up some of Scotlands most exquisite mountains- with the safety of being with an experience and qualified guide. We offer different hillwalking packages, ranging from small hills with scenery that makes you feel like you feel on top of the world, to Ben Nevis- the highest mountain in the UK, a challenging mountain not for the faint hearted.
Paul Lamarra is one of Intrepidus’ experienced guides. A qualified mountain leader he has climbed, cycled and explored extensively in Scotland. He is also an award winning writer and author of several books on Scotland. His work has also appeared in many publications throughout the world.
Intrepidus Outdoors is an adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and hill walking tours, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland.
MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and hill walking tours. My Adventure is also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people.
- Open Coasteering with Intrepidus Outdoors here
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- Eight Scottish Wonders- by Paul Lamarra here
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- Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
- Stag Party Outdoor Adventures Edinburgh Essentials: here