(Written by Stuart)
The Munros are to me, the perfect challenge. The ascent of all 283 of Scotland’s 3000ft mountains requires discipline, devotion and fitness, but it is achievable by anyone who refuses to give up. The technical skills required are not excessive, and many can be learnt simply by starting with the easier Munros and working your way up to the more demanding ones. You can start with easy paths and gentle slopes and most Munros have easy routes to their summits. Some might need some scrambling skills, but only one requires rock climbing – the infamous Inaccessible Pinnacle in the Cullin mountain range on the Isle of Skye.
Their accessibility is just right for the challenge. Most are within a few hours walk of the nearest road, but there are some that require a bit more commitment, with long hikes in and over night camps in wild place. You can lose yourself in the wilderness for days if you want to, or you can just head off for a gentle afternoon. Even the unfit couch potato can have a go – some Munros have high roads leading to them and good paths, giving short and easy days.
To the hillwalker and lover of the outdoors, they offer everything you could want. Wilderness, solitude, a diversion from the harshness of daily life and a way to test yourself on a regular basis are all on offer to those willing to take the time and effort to tackle the Munros. To the photographer they offer an unparalleled opportunity, with landscape and wildlife unsurpassed in its visual appeal.
But to the naturist they offer a very special challenge. To shed your clothes in what can be such a harsh and unforgiving environment is what free range naturism is all about and weather, terrain and other climbers all need to be overcome before you can embrace the freedom that being nude in the mountains can bring. But if you persist, you can have the most amazing moments, alone on the hillside, naked and unrestrained.
To climb 283 mountains is a significant challenge, but with dedication and commitment it is easily achieveable. Entire rounds of the Munros have been completed in just a few months by those dedicated and hardy enough to go out every day and in all weathers, but many people complete them in around ten years.
Many Munros are connected by high level ridges, so in the right place, bagging two or three a day is not difficult. Wild camping on high ridges can extend your range, and 7 or even 10 in a weekend can be achieved in some areas by the fit and active Munro bagger.
But there’s no need to rush them. Each Munro should be savoured and enjoyed, with time spent lingering on the summit before heading off to the next or returning home.
However, the biggest challenge is undoubtedly the weather. What can start as a sunny day can turn into a horrible thick mist or a dangerous thunderstorm. We’ve had to turn back more than once because of the weather, but here in Scotland it’s something you just learn to accept.
The weather can provide some amazing conditions, be it dark thunderstorms or early morning fog-filled glens after a wild camp. The weather only makes Munro bagging more interesting.
And for us, the Munros are inspiring as photographic subjects. From the open majesty of the mountains themselves to the texture of the rocks from which they are made, or the flora and fauna that inhabit them, they offer an endless wealth of photographic opportunities that we’ll be exploiting for years to come. From the wilderness plateau of the Cairngorms to the lush & fertile hills of Perthshire, the Munros offer an endlessly changing selection of landscapes to explore and photograph.
The Munros offer something for everyone. From the casual hillwalker who just wants something to do at the weekend to the hardy mountaineer who tackles them in all weathers, the Munros are a pleasure that people from across Scotland and the world can enjoy.