Bagging Series

My Walking Goals For 2018

We all like a New Year's resolution, and for many walkers the good intentions will stretch to a tick list or two. Fiona Russell speaks to two mad-keen baggers with ambitious goals in 2018.

Anne Butler: The Full House

A Full House is a complete round of Munros, Munro Tops, Corbetts, Grahams, Donalds and Furths. That is no small achievement.

On Caisteal Abhail, Arran  © Anne Butler
On Caisteal Abhail, Arran
© Anne Butler

"Once a bagger, always a bagger! I know it is all self-imposed but l am the type of hillwalker who needs a goal to aim for"

To put it into perspective, here are the numbers. There are 282 Munros, Scottish mountains with a summit of at least 3000ft. In addition the very keen will also aim for the 227 subsidiary summits over 3000ft, known as Munro Tops, which aren't included in the main Munros list.

Smaller but scarcely less challenging, Corbetts are the 222 Scottish mountains between 2500ft and 2999ft, each with a prominence of 150m. Grahams, meanwhile, are the 219 summits in Scotland between 2000ft and 2499ft, and the Donalds total 89 2000ft+ summits in Lowland Scotland.

The 34 Furths are detailed by the Scottish Mountaineering Club as a list of mountains of Munro status outside Scotland and within the British Isles - six in England, 15 in Wales and 13 in Ireland (none in Northern Ireland).

Add all these summits together and you're looking at 1073 ticks to complete a Full House.

In the late summer of 2018 Anne Butler, of Aviemore, hopes to finish her Full House on the Graham, Fiarach, near Tyndrum. She will become only the seventh women to have recorded a Full House with the SMC, out of a current total of 49 (although there are bound to be some people who have not registered).

Anne, a retired nurse, says: "I still have 35 Grahams to climb to finish my Full House but I hope to finish them over the course of this year."

Furth completion on Foel Fras  © Anne Butler
Furth completion on Foel Fras
© Anne Butler

She completed the Munros on Sgurr Eilde Mor in June 2005, the Corbetts on Am Bathach in July 2010, the Munro Tops on Tom a' Chionnich (Ben Wyvis) in July 2017, the Furths on Foel-fras in September 2017 and the Donalds on Windy Gyle in the same month.

Anne will also finish a sixth round of Munros this year, which will equal the record once held by the late Geraldine Guestsmith. Few female baggers will have done more - Hazel Strachan now has nine rounds to her name (see here), with a 10th finish planned for 2018.

Anne reveals she focused on the Full House goal rather than complete more and more Munro rounds:

"I was getting bored climbing the same Munros again and again and l needed a new challenge" she says.

"Part of the fun for me is planning trips and visiting new areas. When I started I had already climbed the Corbetts and had about 80 Munro Tops to go. Climbing different hills has reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the hills."

"I realised it was all about personal satisfaction and l am really enjoying the variety of being able to pick from a wide range of hills rather than just one list. I know it is all self-imposed but l am the type of hill walker who needs a goal to aim for."

On Ben Alder's Long Leachas ridge  © Anne Butler
On Ben Alder's Long Leachas ridge
© Anne Butler

Anne climbed her first Munro, Ben Lomond, in 1998. That initial Munros round took seven years to finish because she lived in Devon.

"I climbed my first Corbett in 2004 'by accident' as it was on the way to a couple of Munros and it was easier to climb over it than go around" she recalls.

"My first Graham was an identical situation en-route to a Corbett. My first few Donalds were climbed when I was in the Scottish Borders walking the Corbetts, as seven of them are dual classified."

"The Furths were a more conscious decision because they involved a lot of travelling and planning. Fore example, Macgillycuddy's Reeks in Ireland are a long way from Aviemore."

Anne has most enjoyed walking the Corbetts en route to her Full House. She says:

"They marked a new chapter in our lives and cemented my bond with Molly, our Border Collie that recently passed away. I had done a few Corbetts before I moved to Scotland, first Helensburgh and then Aviemore. I started walking much more on my own – with Molly – and gained a lot of experience and self-resilience as a result."

"The Corbetts are a far more distinctive group of hills that required a lot of detailed logistics and planning and took me to areas l had never visited before."

Anne does not plan to stop after her first Full House.

"Once a bagger always a bagger!" she says. "I am planning to do a second Full House and finish off round seven of the Munros."

"I only have 78 Corbetts left to do on my second round and l am two-thirds of the way through the Munro Tops again. I would like to revisit a lot of the Grahams in different seasons and better weather. The Donalds were deeply dull in my opinions and l'm not looking forward to doing them again."

This time she has Ralph, her new Border Collie by her side. Ralph climbed his first hill in February when he was eight months old, a lowly Graham off the A9. Since then he has climbed nine Munros, eight Munro Tops, nine Corbetts, 56 Grahams, six Furths and 79 Donalds.

Rob Woodall: The Tumps and the HuMPs

Rob Woodall, from Peterborough, loves a list, especially a list of hills – and in 2018 he has his sights set on finishing the Welsh mainland "TUMPs" and the British "HuMPs".

Rob ticks Fair Isle's Sheep Rock  © Alan Whatley
Rob ticks Fair Isle's Sheep Rock
© Alan Whatley

"I like a big list and one that no one else has done yet. In the process, I see some wonderful places, have great adventures and have to work out my way around whatever problems I encounter along the way"

You could be forgiven for not haivng a clue what they are. TUMP stands for Thirty and Upward Metres Prominence (30m drop on all sides) and refers to a list of British hills with a 30m drop. The HuMPS are all British hills with Hundred Metres Prominence (100m drop on all sides).

Uber-bagger Rob has been collecting long lists of hill summits for more than a decade and in 2014 he became the first to bag all 1556 Marilyns. In April 2016 he finished all the (then) 6190 British Trig pillars. His current total of Trigs is 6194 after another four "destroyed" pillars were rediscovered.

He has also completed the Munros, Corbetts, Grahams, Nuttalls (443 hills in England and Wales over 2000ft), Wainwrights (214 hills in the Lake District) and Birketts (all the Lake District hills over 1000ft).

Next year, he hopes to add his remaining 100 Welsh mainland TUMPs to finish the full list of 2300.

"Wales was an early playground for me in my 20s" he says. "I got to know the northern Snowdonia mountains – and the A5! – very well back then. Since then I have worked on the 500m (Deweys), 400m and 300m hills and I have come to love the quiet beauty of mid-Wales."

"I have subsequently completed the smaller hills and completed various counties in Wales. For example, Powys alone has an impressive 722 Tumps."

"Finishing Carmarthenshire and Gwynedd to complete the whole of the principality is the obvious next challenge, although for the time being I'll have to settle for the mainland because a handful of Pembrokeshire islands involve access and technical climbing issues, which may take a few more years to overcome."

Rob's bagging has gone global, with peaks of 1500m prominence. Here he is on Mt Fuji  © Rob Woodall
Rob's bagging has gone global, with peaks of 1500m prominence. Here he is on Mt Fuji
© Rob Woodall

Rob's other goal in 2018 is to complete the British HuMPs (British hills with a 100m drop on all sides). This list totals 2,987 and he has 25 left to do.

"The HuMPs that I still need to do include the No match for crag id:"Old Man of Hoy", which is a challenging climb, and two other lesser-known sea stacks off Mingulay in the Outer Hebrides, so I'll need some luck with the weather" he says.

Rob has many great memories thanks to the HuMPS. For example the Sheep Rock in Fair Isle was a crux summit:

"Seemingly no-one had been up it for years and I had no clear idea of how hard it was. However, with some climbing gear and an old islander who knew the landing point, my friend Alan Whatley and I went across. We had a brief good weather window and we managed to get up it. It was quite an easy climb as it turned out."

Rob reports that Alan has just seven HuMPs left to his 25, but Rob has bagged Bass Rock and Alan has not. Rob said:

"We like to play these friendly competitive games – but we have a vague plan to complete simultaneously, on different summits."

For Rob the challenge is to complete big lists of hills that no-one else has.

"I like a big list and one that no one else has done yet" he says.

"In the process, I see some wonderful places, have great adventures and have to work out my way around whatever problems I encounter along the way. It's very rewarding."

On Bryher, Scilly - there are harder TUMPs  © Sarah Kerr
On Bryher, Scilly - there are harder TUMPs
© Sarah Kerr

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