The day I fell in love with Munro bagging

Fiona on the Cuillin ridge
In the end, Fiona did manage to summit the 11 Cuillin Ridge Munros (Image credit: FionaOutdoors)

The day I fell in love with Munro bagging was also the day that I met my husband. So, you can see how it was a hiking adventure that I will never forget.

It was in the summer of 2010 when I was invited to join a charity walk for WaterAid (opens in new tab) to hike a series of mountains known as the Three Sisters. There are in fact many more peaks on this ridge in Kintail, in north-west Scotland, but the main summits are known as Munros.

Munros are all the 282 Scottish mountains with a summit of more than 3000ft (914m).

I already knew about the Munros, but my previous experiences, with my ex-partner, had mostly involved a high ridge in Glencoe with precipitous drop-offs and trying to keep up on various runs to the top of a couple of other Munros. I had decided Munro bagging wasn’t for me.

That day, on the Five Sisters, I realised that there is a great deal more to enjoy while ticking off the long list of Munros. I relished the challenge of a long, but steady, hike and the chance to reach many high points with fabulous views. 

I also met some interesting people during the outing and found that chatting and walking make great companions. Then there was Gordie, who I immediately enjoyed talking to and, as it turns out, became my love match.

Fiona and husband on a Munro

Another Munro summit together (Image credit: FionaOutdoors)

Three Munros become so much more

After the Three Sisters (opens in new tab) I spent many more days hiking Munros with Gordie and other friends. Gordie was a very enthusiastic hiker and had walked some two-thirds of the Munros list in only a couple of years. I took to joining him on Munro adventures and so my list of bagged summits also grew.

Fiona and husband on a munro

Fiona and her now husband Gordie hike Munros together (Image credit: FionaOutdoors)

But, back then, I never imagined I would walk them all because it seemed like such a huge undertaking and also I  am not a fan of heights and steep drops. There is small, but significant, stable of very challenging Munros, including 11 on the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye (opens in new tab).

But as the years went by and I saw Gordie complete his first full round of Munros – and I continued to grow in confidence, experience, navigational skills and fitness – my list of 'yet to bag' Munros diminished.

Fiona and husband on a munro

Fiona has discovered many new places on her Munro bagging adventures (Image credit: FionaOutdoors)

I had discovered that I, too, had become an enthusiastic Munro bagger. Through my outdoors hobby, I travelled to locations I didn’t even know existed and enjoyed many amazing adventures, including more fantastic views than I could ever have thought possible in one small country.

I have been fortunate to be able to write about the Munros as part of my work as an outdoors journalist and blogger, therefore combining my life and work into one rewarding activity.

Fiona and Gordie getting married on a mountain

Fiona and Gordie were married during a ski holiday in British Columbia (Image credit: fionaoutdoors)

I also met lots of new people and gained Munro bagging friends.  A few years ago I launched a Facebook group called Munroaming (opens in new tab), which now has almost 12,000 members. Munro bagging is a very popular pursuit and also wonderfully health-giving.

Fiona's last munro

Fiona's last Munro, Beinn na Lap, of her first round (Image credit: FionaOutdoors)

The Munros have seen me through some difficult spells in life when I have felt sad and been depressed. They have also been the location for some of my best days, such as in April 2022 when I also walked my final Munro in my first round. (I managed to tick off those scary Cuillin Munros thanks to the support of Gordie, who is an experienced climber.)

In March 2018, Gordie and I were married (opens in new tab). We chose a ski mountain in British Columbia for the ceremony  but we had Scotland in our hearts that day because it was where we had met.

fiona and friend on the cobbler

Fiona runs in the mountains, including the Corbett, ben Arthur (The Cobbler) with friend Lynsey (Image credit: FionaOutdoors)

What's next in my hiking plans?

As we go into 2023, Gordie has less than 25 Munros to bag to finish his second round and I am almost halfway through a round of the 222 mountain siblings, the Corbetts

As well as hiking mountains, I am a keen runner these days and I have completed several classic Munro routes as a run-hike. 

We have recently moved from Glasgow to near Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands, and that makes our outdoors pursuits so much more accessible.

The day I fell in love with Munro bagging, I gained a life that I never dreamed possible. 

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors (opens in new tab).