Completion Compendium

Walking alone is all well and good but having someone to share all those memories with is far better, with the completion party often marking the culmination of many years of walking together.
I have to admit that l love the buzz of a completion walk and over the years l have turned into a bit of a Completion Groupie (or maybe I just like all the free champagne)?
To date I have attended 36 list completions, a 50th Anniversary Munro completion celebration and a posthumous Munro completion.

Munro Completions

Anne Butler: Sgurr Eilde Mor, 1010m, 13th June 2005

How ever many completions you accomplish in your lifetime you will only ever climb one Last Munro.

For me Sgurr Eilde Mor marked the end of 7 years of ever increasingly frantic list ticking.  Travelling north several times a year from Devon, chipping away at the list, walking in whatever the weather threw at us and learning as we went along.

All the easy ones, the singletons and the easily accessed hills were climbed in the first couple of years and once l got to over 100 I realised that if I ever wanted to complete then I was going to have to climb the Skye Cuillin. Enter Andy. We chatted, he was up for the challenge and we made it over the 12 Cuillin Munros. After Skye it was just a case of hours of logistics and planning, pouring over maps and then simply putting one foot in front of the other until just one remained.

One thing I have learnt about completions is that the weather is always guaranteed, guaranteed to be crap that is. And mine was no different.
It was warm and damp when we left Mamore Lodge with low cloud obscuring the views. The climb up went quickly and then it was champagne corks popping and photos. I don’t remember any extreme emotions, just being happy walking with friends and family.

With Megan at the summit of Sgurr Eilde Mor
Andy, Bill, me, Chris (my brother) and his wife Sally plus the two Megs at the summit

The walk back to car went in a blur which was almost certainly due to the over consumption of alcohol.
I was unsure of what to do next and had no plans for further list ticking and to be honest I still have absolutely no idea how I have ended up where I am today!

Peter & Chris Bowles: Meall a’ Bhuiridh, 1108m 15th November 2009

Chris and Peter are father and son (at the time based in Aviemore and Nairn) and we had become friends through
It was winter with a bit of snow on the ground and limited daylight, so to make sure we all made it up and down in time, the fast group left the carpark to climb Creise en-route to Meall a’ Bhuiridh and the slowcoaches plodded up through the ski-tows to await their arrival at the final summit.
It was a long wait! At one point 4 people and a dog were taking it in turns to shelter in the bothy bag to stave off hypothermia. We couldn’t really complain because by the time the completion party arrived the champagne was properly chilled.

Stewart waits for his turn in the bivvy bag
Peter and Chris at the summit
Both groups reunited at the summit

Since then Peter has completed the Corbetts and despite now living in San Francisco, Chris has only 10 Corbetts to go.

Anne Butler (2nd round):  Ciste Dhubh, 979m, 3rd July 2010

Not really sure how it happened but whilst plodding around the hills with Stewart l realised l was dangerously close to completing a 2nd round of Munros. I was saving Am Bathach for my final Corbett and Ciste Dhubh is located just behind it so it was logical to climb them both on the same walk.

The Corbett completion came first and then it was onward and upwards to Ciste Dhubh

Molly and Milly busy shepherding us towards the Ciste Dhubh

A double completion needed twice the amount of cookies and alcohol, most of which Heather lugged all the way to the summit. The day was chilly, grey and cloudy but at least it didn’t rain.

Two’s up on Ciste Dhubh
A happy summit group after all the cookies and champagne

On the way back down Simon Parks said ‘same time next year then Anne?’ and like a fool l took up the challenge.

Simon Parks: Ben Nevis, 1345m, 24th July 2010

This was the first BIG completion party. All of us at ScottishHills had been following Simon’s adventures for quite a few years and we were very relieved when he finally made it to his completion virtually intact after several mountain misadventures along the way!

Simon poses with Ben Nevis hidden in the clouds

From the North Face carpark the group became strung out on the long slog up Carn Mor Dearg where the weather closed in and people disappeared into the mist along the arete not to be seen again until the summit. A lot of bemused onlookers joined the completion party at the summit of Ben Nevis, most without a clue what was going on but hoping to be invited to join in.

Simon and Jasmine make it to the top of the UK

Simon was presented with a ceremonial quoich (or quack) as he called it and after some raucous celebrations in the summit shelter he finally staggered off the hill wearing a jesters hat carrying a large piece of silverware.

Doogz McColl: Ben Wyvis, 1046m, 18th September 2010

True to form the weather was dismal. Dreich was an understatement with full waterproofs from the outset. The frontrunners set such a frantic pace we were all properly ‘boil in the bag’ by the time we reached the summit plateau. Doogz was overcome with emotion as he approached the summit and donned his sunglasses on to hide the tears and as it was so gloomy, he almost walked into the trig point.

After falling over it, Doogz made it to the top of the trig point

Champagne flowed and scotch eggs were passed round which seemed quite an unusual catering choice for summit celebrations, but it was obviously some sort of tradition for the natives of Paisley.

The weather was as bad as it looks

It didn’t stop raining all day and my boots had just about dried out by the following weekend.

Stewart Murray: Blaven, 929m, 25th September 2010

The completions were coming thick and fast. We gathered in the carpark on Loch Slapin to accompany Stewart up Blaven, amongst the group were a couple of Munro virgins who to this day have never been up another one………………I can’t think what we did to put them off?
On the final approach to the trig point I have never seen Stewart looking so happy. Maybe it was relief?

A very happy Stewart greets his adoring fans
The group had to pose for a photo before they were allowed a drink
Stewart, Carol and Libby

I did allow him a couple of days off afterwards, but Corbetts don’t climb themselves.

Anne Butler (3rd round): Slioch, 981m, 2nd July 2011

After Simon laying down the gauntlet the previous year l was determined to complete ‘the same time next year’ and so 364 days later I was ready for the 3rd round completion.

We made the group pose in height order at the start of the walk

It was properly 3rd time lucky on this occasion as the sun was splitting the skies and we were in danger of heatstroke at times. Unheard of for a completion!

We stopped for a paddle half way up
Just in case we got lost
Bill, Anne and Molly
Andy and Ali taking it easy
Summit celebrations

Andrew Drury: Carn Mor Dearg, 1220m, 23rd June 2012

Another big ScottishHills completion and possibly the wettest Munro completion to date. We left the North Face carpark in good spirits as we ascended into the maelstrom. To this day I don’t know if everybody that started the walk made it to the summit as the visibility was so poor it was hard to find our mouths with our sandwiches! There were wrong turnings taken enroute and people huddled behind rocks at the summit. Once we got below the cloud on the way down it brightened up and the midges paid us a visit.

Taking a breather before the weather closed in
It was grim at the summit

Anne Butler (4th round): Ben Challum, 1025m, 25th August 2012

It was reassuring that with 13 Munro completers amongst the party we managed to walk past the start of the path up the hill. Ben Challum wasn’t just my last Munro it was Jen’s first although to be honest, I don’t think she enjoyed it as much as I did!

We eventually managed to find the correct path
As it got colder Heather put ALL of her coats on
A very relieved Jen and a very happy Anne pass through the guard of honour
Pete’s 7/10 man -leg
The Boys
The Girls

It was cold at the summit but at least I managed my first (and still my only) view from the top. Edward raced back down to his car to catch kick off and I remember drinking far too much.

Bill and Anne
Bill, David, Anne, Molly and Iain

Andrew Henderson: Sgurr na h-Ulaidh, 994m, 24th April 2013

Hendo’s completion had been the most eagerly awaited event in ScottishHills history and still holds the record for the largest turnout.

We needed a wide angled lens for the group photo

All was going well until the final rise to the summit. It was steep and covered with snow and caused a few heart in the mouth moments for many of the group. But they all made it.

Happy Hendo
We made it!

Once the summit celebrations were over we realised that getting everyone down the way we had come wasn’t an option so we took the loooooong way back over the south of the hill to safety.

Back in the Clachaig the party went into extra time.

Ruth Lyon: Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich, 1027m, 26th July 2014

Another biggie. The weeks preceding Ruth’s completion had seen heatwave conditions in the Scottish Highlands but could it last? Of course not!

Ruth, ready for the off

Parking along the single track road was the first challenge with some cars being left almost a mile away from the start. The hoards were strung out along the stalkers path and then it was like the Hilary Step with a long queue as we approached the steep bit.

Queues building on the Hilary Step
The gathering storm didn’t dampen the summit celebrations

The gloomy weather moved in whilst we celebrated at the summit and the descent was a warm and damp midgie hell.

Anne Butler (5th round): Ben Hope, 927m, 23rd August 2014

After all the mass celebrations this one was short and sweet and was planned to coincide with a mini break at The Crask Inn. The walk was longer than expected as the road along Strathmore was closed after several bridges were washed away during a recent storm.

This way up

As the gradient eased on the final slopes to the summit it started snowing, in August, and once again no view. To date, it’s Ben Hope 6, views 1.

5 up on Ben Hope
Anne, Bill and Milly

We drunk a bit too much as there was only two of us and dogs don’t like champagne.

Robin Wallace: Ciste Dhubh, 979m, 6th September 2014

Another big ScottishHills get together. It didn’t start too well, Robin had laid his poles on the ground in the layby and Chris managed to drive his campervan straight over them as he arrived, snapping them in two.

Campervan carnage in the carpark

We decided to go over Am Bathach so people could bag a bonus Corbett and it was grim. It was so wet and windy we feared the completion jinx had struck again, but as we started the climb up Ciste Dhubh the clouds broke and the sun came out.

Munroist No. 5599 approaching the summit

The guard of honour formed, Robin made it to No. 5599 in the Completers list and the party at Morvich went on into the small hours.

Robin and Nicola
A very happy Robin enjoying his achievement
Jen and Chris. Jen is not a big fan of hillwalking

Alan Hinchcliffe: Sgairneach Mhor, 991m, 31st July 2018

When Sir Hugh Munro wrote his list there were 283 Munros and 255 Tops. Over the years the location of the Munro summits on the list have changed for a variety of reasons.

After completing his Munro round in 2004 Alan decided he wanted to climb all the Munros on the original list as well. This sounded easy but many of the summits were in different places to the current recorded high point. He had to do a lot of research to establish each Munros original summit position and eventually Sgairneach Mhor was the only one left. We walked up from the A9 to the trig point and then continued over several undulations to a lower grassy lump in the middle of nowhere which for some reason best known to himself, Sir Hugh thought was the high point. Despite being the last day of July it was bloody freezing.

Alan always takes alcohol very seriously
Summer my arse!

Alex Thomson: Mullach Clach a’ Bhalir, 1019m, 20th April 2019

Until very recently Alex wouldn’t even admit he was climbing a 2nd round of Munros. However, buoyed along by David Batty’s ‘not a 3rd round’ Alex had found himself nearing the end of his 2nd. Having climbed every Munro and Munro Top on the Glen Feshie plateau except Mullach Clach a’ Bhlair, Alex was left with the not inconsiderable trek to its summit as his  completion hill. It was never going to be a quick walk with ages ranging from 13 to 83 and the sudden spike in temperature from -2oc to +18oc over the previous week also slowing everyone down.

Alex and Iain on the way up Carn Ban Mor

It was a relaxed and friendly group that reached the summit a mere 5 hours after leaving the car park.

Round 2. Apparently Round 3 is never going to happen!

Alex’s grandson Ewan enjoyed the walk so much he wondered if it was possible to divorce his Grandad?

Colin Walter: Ben Chonzie, 931m, 30th July 2019

A double celebration. A couple of hours earlier Colin had completed the Corbetts and continued straight (well up and down and through a lot of peat hags) up Ben Chonzie to complete his 3rd round of Munros. It was roasting hot and the group spread out, everyone walking at their own pace to rendezvous at the summit.

Colin at the summit of Ben Chonzie

Alan produced crystal champagne flutes, vintage champagne and a huge Dundee cake just as a rather annoying shower passed overhead.  We were joined by a couple of ladies, one of them climbing her first Munro.

Popping the cork

Colin has yet to commit to a 4th round.

Hugh Munro: Slioch, 981m, 24th August 2019

When your parents chose to name you Hugh Munro, I would imagine that your future is mapped out for you. So when Hugh Munro was born in London only a few miles away from the birthplace of THE Sir Hugh Munro, compiler of THE list, he was surely more likely to become a hillwalker than a Premier League footballer.

As 2019 marked the centenary of the death of Sir Hugh his modern day namesake decided it would be fitting to complete during this memorable year.

We gathered in an amazingly midge free carpark at Incheril and ploughed our way through the chest high bracken along the shores of Loch Maree. The pace was leisurely until the wind hit us at the lochans. We battled to the trig point and then on the the summit. The winds dropped, the whole of the north west highlands were laid out before us as a figure in orange walked through the customary trekking pole archway and that was it, Hugh Munro had finally completed the Munros.

Hugh Munro becomes a Munroist
Iain, Hugh and Gemma. the Munro clan

He had achieved what his namesake had never managed to do. The first Hugh Munro on the official SMC list of completers.

Moet v. Asda

Back at the Kinlochewe Hotel a photograph of Sir Hugh Munro attending an  SMC meet in 1899 was recreated by the group. Sir Hugh and 2019 Hugh are on the far left.

Anne Butler: Meall a’Chaorainn, 916m, 19th September 2020

Having joined Alan Hinchcliffe on his completion of Sir Hugh Munro’s original list, I was inspired to go and look at which of the hills I had or hadn’t climbed.

There are 43 hills that have, at one time since the original list was published,   been classified as Munros. Some of these are now Munro Tops, a couple are Corbetts and several are no longer classified as anything and have entered the realms of relative hill obscurity.

Meall a’ Chaorainn is a local hill, located at the southern tip of the Drumochter plateau, 1km west of the current Munro A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag. It is hard to work out how Sir Hugh managed to think that this hill was the higher summit as it is clearly lower than the two tops of A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag…………..maybe he climbed them in poor visibility or was ‘positionally challenged’ at the time.

Meall a’ Chaorainn summit
A very relaxing summit celebration

Bill, Ralph and I fancied a short local walk and the warm sunny weather meant we could enjoy a summit picnic. Despite the hills being busy we had the summit to ourselves, conscious of the funny looks we were getting from people wondering where on earth we were going!

Corbett Completions

Anne Butler: Am Bathach, 798m, 3rd July 2010
Dave McRonald: Am Bathach, 798m, 3rd July 2010

To be honest I enjoyed climbing the Corbetts far more than the Munros. It was probably nothing to do with the hills but a combination of our move to Scotland, the formation of new friendships and an inseparable bond with Molly. The Corbetts took us to new areas of Scotland and the hills turned out to be more of a challenge than the Munros, with fewer paths, fewer people and far more rugged terrain.

To mark the completion on Am Bathach Heather lugged huge chocolate cookies from the Mountain Café in Aviemore to the summit (almost 40 in total so everybody had a cookie on the Corbett and the Munro). The idea of a Corbett completion followed by my 2nd Munro round was logical as the two hills are next to each other and it worked out perfectly. At the summit I was presented with an honorary beard to mark my newly found status as a ‘proper mountaineer’!

Anne, Andy and Sheila
The completion party at the summit of Am Bathach

Dave and I had been neck and neck in our Corbett rounds throughout 2009 and 2010 and during a chat at a Scottish Hills meet we realised we were both planning to complete on the same hill. I suggested a joint completion and bearing in mind we would both be inviting the same people the idea seemed sensible.

Anne and Dave

We celebrated the evening away at Kintail Lodge where Heather interrogated those present to determine who had been responsible for waking her up in the bunkhouse the previous night with some particularly violent drunken vomiting. To date the culprit has not been identified!

Molly Butler: Garbh Bheinn, 885m, 2nd June 2012

Whilst trudging round the Corbetts and accompanying Stewart on a lot of his, Molly was clocking up a considerable number herself. It is well documented that Hamish Brown’s dog Kitchy was the first to climb all the Munros but there was no record of a canine Corbett completer. I did lots of research, Hamish helped, as did Dave Hewitt (of Angry Corrie fame) and the SMC. Nobody knew of a dog having completed the Corbetts so when Molly summitted Garbh Bheinn, accompanied by her doggie friends and their humans, she was greeted by Hamish himself and became the first dog known at the time to have completed the Corbetts.

Anne and Molly on Garbh Bheinn
Posing with Hamish Brown at the summit cairn
The dogs celebrate Molly’s achievements with summit sausages

The SMC Clerk of the List even sent her own completion certificate to mark the achievement.

Molly’s completion certificate from the SMC

Stewart Murray: Beinn Resipol, 845m, 6th October 2012

When we first started walking together in 2009 Stewart had no interest in climbing Corbetts never mind completing a round of them. However, he walked up so many with me over the years he realised he was dangerously close to completing them himself!

We had lots of fun along the way, cowering against a hailstorm in Galloway, taking almost an hour to climb the 10m summit block on Sgorr na Diollaid as it was covered in verglas, river crossings in bin liners, heatstroke after walking out from Fisherfield which Stewart’s GP thought was a stroke, and our extreme incompetence as winter mountaineers.

Eventually, after 3 years accompanying Stewart up a multitude of Corbetts (which doubled up as voluntary work for Age Concern), I was delighted to be there when he climbed his final Corbett. A happy day with friends and family which ended with Milly walking into the shop at the Resipole campsite and stealing tennis balls from the display………….at least the shopkeeper saw the funny side.

The group posing just before Milly decided to go and rob the shop

Stewart posing at the summit with his carer

David Batty: Beinn Odhar, 901m, 13th April 2014

David’s Corbett completion must go down in history as the wettest, windiest and shittiest in history.

It was lashing with rain as we met in the carpark and the group resembled a Paramo advert. Hoods up and heads down we started off up the track only to be greeted with a calf deep swamp of cow poo, it was impossible to walk round it and the mess was indescribable. For once the incessant rain was a bonus as it washed most of it off quite quickly.

The Paramo photoshoot

As we climbed higher the wind increased and a few of the less hardy party members sensibly bailed out. Half way up there was a barbed wire fence to negotiate, David was valiantly trying to keep everyone’s spirits up despite being wet down to his underwear!

Is that a smile or a grimace?

The rain was diluting the summit champagne very quickly so we didn’t hang about for long. It was a speedy descent, people were cold and shivering, we leapt over the barbed wire, beyond caring if we tore our sodden waterproofs, we negotiated the lochan sized quagmire of cow shit and arrived soaked and dishevelled back at the car park with just the small matter of trying to get Molly clean between us and a warm shower at the hotel.

David promised that all his future completions would only take place in good weather.

Mark Gibson: Meall a’ Bhuachaille, 810m, 29th August 2015

It was the August bank holiday weekend and Mark’s completion coincided with the annual Harley Davidson rally in Aviemore so we didn’t expect to have one of the most popular hills in the Cairngorms to ourselves. We stopped for the obligatory photos at the Green Lochan and Ryvoan Bothy before the grunt work started towards the summit.

Mark savouring the occasion

Mark had run across Beinn Bhreac, one of the remotest Corbetts the previous day so was pleased to be at the back, shepherding his group to the top. After the customary guard of honour a large picnic was produced from various rucksacks. As the corks popped, we realised we were being closely watched by a group of German tourists who appeared bemused by the strange ritual they were witnessing. We assured them that this was entirely normal and every time we reach the summit of a hill we behave like this.

……………and the Corbetts were finally complete

We completed our circuit of the hill and were almost back at the Glenmore Café looking forward to our cake and coffee when we realised Thatcher (an extremely large Japanese Akita) was missing, she was located half way back up the hill having followed another group back towards the summit.

Heather Morning: Geal Charn, 804m, 8th April 2017

When she was down to her last 3 Corbetts, Heather’s thoughts turned to which hill to complete on. The final decision was made not on the ease of the walk or the aesthetics of the hill, but which one had the best cake shop at the bottom!

Geal Charn might not be the most memorable Corbett but you do have to drive past The Old Pines at Spean Bridge on the way home and they do a fantastic afternoon tea.

Heather and Duncan’s understated completion pose

It was a young Ralph’s first completion walk and he was overcome with excitement at having an open hillside and 4 other dogs to run around with all day. He slept solidly for 15 hours afterwards!

Monkey was unconscious after quaffing the alcohol stash

Heather should be commended on her knowledge of the cafes of the western highlands. The Old Pines produced piles of scones, cream and jam, 4 different cakes and shortbread with endless cups of tea and coffee. We ate them all.

Colin Walter: Auchnafree Hill, 789m, 30th July 2019

Colin’s completion started with an extremely rare event………………..the copious application of sun cream before we had even left the car park. Several members of the completion party were still mentally scarred by the appalling weather at David Batty’s last Corbett a few years previously and we fully prepared for the forecast afternoon thunderstorms to pay us a visit at any time.

We headed along Loch Turret and climbed steeply up the track to Auchnafree Hill enjoying the views, sweating heavily in the heat. I offered to share my almost liquid Mars Bar but nobody was keen.

Slowly melting on the loch shore

To our dismay the summit cairn had been demolished and only a few rocks remained. After posing on the more impressive adjacent cairn and sharing the rather warm champagne, Colin busied himself rebuilding the true summit cairn. Satisfied with his handiwork we continued onwards towards Ben Chonzie for Colin’s Munro completion.

Now that is a proper cairn

Anne Butler (2nd round): Streap, 909m, 18th July 2021

I was hoping to complete a 2nd round of Corbetts within 10 years, but as we all know, 2020 didn’t exactly go to plan! Once we were allowed our freedom again I rushed round climbing hills with no particular plan in mind, so it turned out that I was left with Ainshval, Askival, Glamaig and Streap as my final quartet. An island completion sounds good on paper but always prove to be a logistical nightmare for all concerned……… Streap it was!

We were in the middle of a heatwave but miraculously the day dawned cool and breezy. After a cleggy walk up the glen Streap came into view and it was a ferociously steep as I remembered.

Streap (surely a misspelling of Steep) looms ahead

We took our first cake stop at the foot of the Streap Comhlaidh ridge and then it was a brutally steep climb to the ridge and we made it just as the cloud was beginning to lift.

Looking back to Streap Comhlaidh

After a short section of ridge the summit appeared out of the mist, the trekking pole archway was formed and I reached the cairn.10

The overwhelming feeling was one of relief, I have enjoyed climbing the Corbetts far more than I have ever enjoyed climbing the Munros but the end of this round had taken it out of me and had resulted in a torn ligament in my foot.15

Fortified by champagne and caramel shortbread we headed back to the low point of the ridge and the endlessly steep drop back into the glen.3

Will there be a 3rd round? I strongly suspect there will and I promise I will leave something far easier to complete it on!

Graham Completions

David Batty: Carnan Cruithneachd, 728m 4th October 2015

True to his word David ensured that the weather for his Graham completion was perfect.

We started walking in the sunshine, it was t-shirt weather the whole day and we lounged at the summit taking in the views and relaxing. We were staying at the Morvich Centre in Kintail and the walk started from the door, no driving or worries about how much we drunk at the summit. As a viewpoint Carnan Cruithneachd would be hard to beat even if none of us could actually pronounce it correctly.

David promised us good weather this time round

Not only did the hill mark David’s Graham completion it was also the completion of  his SMC Full House.

Almost there…………….
A proud David becomes the 39th person to complete an SMC Full House

Iain Robertson: Carn Salachaidh, 647m, 8th October 2017

When Stewart and I climbed Carn Salachaidh in 2016 it was a slog through knee deep heather for much of the route and I vowed not to climb it again, so when Iain announced that this was to be his completion hill I was overwhelmed with excitement at the prospect of a revisit.

We followed an almost identical route as the one we had taken previously and it was as awful as I remembered.

At the summit we posed with false moustaches, the champagne was distributed and Ralph took advantage of this lapse in concentration to steal a large cheese and ham roll straight out of David’s hand, wolfing it down in a couple of bites. He did offer David his dog biscuits in return but the offer was refused.

Iain (aged 82) completes the Grahams
Mexican bandits in Sutherland
Ralph was keen to join in

Anne Butler: Fiarach, 652m, 15th September 2018

56 people, 10 dogs and a lot of cake. Fiarach was my completion Graham and it also marked my completion of the SMC Full House.

We were double parked in the carpark at Dalrigh and the leaders set off at a frantic pace leaving us strung out along the route. It was a reunion of sorts with many of the people I have walked with over the last 10 years coming along to join me.

The guard of honour was very long and the summit celebrations went on for quite a while.

A lot of cake and champagne were consumed and afterwards we visited the Crianlarich Hotel for afternoon tea and even more cake.

Completion cake

The cake induced sugar rush took several days to wear off.

Robin kindly produced a video record of the day.

Alan Rowan: Beinn Fhada, 702m, 21st September 2019

Alan had set a date for his Graham completion to coincide with the Munro Society autumn meet on Mull. The completion walk would take place on whichever day was due to give the best forecast. During the preceding week things had been getting drier and sunnier but more worryingly a lot windier.

There were a lot of white horses racing across the surface of Loch na Keal as we drove to the start and then my car door was nearly ripped off as I opened it…………….and that was at sea level! Three separate groups set off at different times, the slow group, the very slow group and the fast group. We were blinded by the low sun and the wind was making standing up difficult at times. Beinn Fhada has a short sharp shock at the start with a very rough steep climb to the ridge but once we reached the ridge the winds became far less noticeable. The slow group  was caught by the fast group just before the final pull to the summit.

Alan contemplating the day ahead.

There was no sign of the very slow group on the long ridge so we presumed they were missing in action and carried on to welcome Alan to the cairn marking his final Graham.

Alan almost ran to the cairn…………………………..
………………………the relief of never having to climb another Graham again was visible in his face!

After a lengthy rest taking in the views, arguing about which summit we were looking at and drinking quite a bit the fast group decided to continue on the circuit over A’ Chioch and Ben More. The slow group went back the way we came and met the very slow group who were escorted back to the summit for a second lunch.

Despite everyone in the group being a Munro completer and several boasting Corbett and Graham completions as well we still managed to find the worst way off Beinn Fhada possible, a route only suitable for masochists and those who enjoyed floundering through almost vertical heather.

Munro Tops Completions

Anne Butler: Tom a’ Chionnich (Ben Wyvis), 954m, 8th July 2017

Not many people complete the Munro Tops so it was unusual to meet a bloke in the car park who was also completing the Tops that day (same hill, different Top).

It was far colder than it looked

Despite it being July, it was cold at the summit, even huddled behind an outcrop so we didn’t linger.

Huddled together for warmth

After the mandatory summit photos, we descended quickly back to the car and returned home to drink the champagne on the sofa. We are clearly turning into a couple of lightweights in our old age!

Donald Completions

Anne Butler: Windy Gyle, 619m, 26th September 2017

Walking the Donalds had been something Ralph and I had undertaken, with the odd exception, predominantly on our own, so it seemed appropriate that this was how we chose to celebrate the completion.

The walk from Cocklawfoot was straightforward and despite quite a few cars at the parking area we didn’t meet anybody until we reached the summit. Everybody we met had been walking the Pennine Way and had no idea what a Donald was and I have very little knowledge of the Pennine Way so our conversation was limited.

A very windy Windy Gyle before the unfortunate poo incident
A one woman bottle for a one woman completion

To mark the occasion Ralph rolled in a poo that someone had failed to bury so we beat a hasty retreat back to the car for a shampoo in the burn and the 5 hour drive home.

Ralph Butler: White Coomb, 821m, 24th August 2020

The Donalds have been very much something Ralph and I have undertaken together. We have had company on a few of them but most of the time it has been the two of us versus the elements and the hideous terrain. Living so far away we have had to book accommodation in advance and walk in whatever the weather threw at us (which was usually quite a lot)!

During our often damp wanderings Ralph developed a love for fence posts and carried bits of them for miles and he also mastered the technique of dragging himself downhill on his belly.

The sun came out for our trip to Loch Skeen and after a couple of lengthy diversions to visit some outlying Donald Tops which had been omitted on previous visits Ralph arrived at the summit of White Coomb, his final Donald. He posed for photographs (yes he is pleased, that is his happy face) and found a large piece of wood to carry back to the car. The visit to White Coomb was a poignant one for me being one of the few hills that I have climbed with Molly, Meg and Ralph.

Furth Completions

Alan Hinchcliffe: Lugnaquilla, 925m, 14th May 2016

Our planned trip to Ireland to climb the Furths coincided with Alan’s Furth completion so he invited us to join him. The weather was stunning and despite the warning signs about shooting dogs and straying into the adjacent military firing range we managed to make the summit cairn without incident.

Robin tries to avoid getting shot

Irish champagne comes with a screw top so the celebrations went with a twist rather than a bang.

Mark Gibson: Brandon Mountain, 952m, 18th May 2016

Mark’s Furth completion was a fantastic way to end our trip to Ireland. Like a lot of things about Irish culture, religion played a part in the ascent of Brandon Mountain. There was a huge shrine at the start and all the way up the route was adorned with reflective marker posts and large cairns to mark the Stations of the Cross and the apparently essential massive summit cross. The significance of it all was lost on us.

It would be very difficult to get lost

We didn’t see a thing on the way up or the way down and we splashed out on afternoon tea in Dingle on the way back.

Anne Butler: Foel-fras, 944m, 8th September 2017
Robin Wallace: Foel-fras, 944m September 2017

Robin, Andy and I had planned our trip to Snowdonia months in advance and we were going to complete the Furths whatever the weather. We left Ogwen Cottage in low cloud and then there was a torrential downpour on the way up Pen yr Ole Wen, our hopes weren’t high and the traverse of the remaining 6 peaks in the Carneddau wasn’t exactly appealing. But our perseverance paid off, the cloud lifted and the views opened out and by the time we reached Foel-fras we could see Anglesey. Our GPS helped identify which boulder marked the true summit and that was it, 34 peaks climbed, a small list but one of the logistically most challenging.

Anne and Robin mark their joint Furth completion
Andy contemplates the long walk out

50th Anniversary Completion

Iain Robertson: Beinn Eighe, 993m, 24th August 2013

When he climbed Ruadh-stac Mor (at the time the only Munro on Beinn Eighe) on 24th August 1963, Iain became No. 55 on the SMC Munro list. Then, 50 years later to commemorate that day, Iain invited friends and family to climb Spidean Coire nan Clach with him.

Lollipops to mark the 50th anniversary

Sadly none of the original completion party were able to undertake the walk and Iain’s toast to absent friends later that evening was particularly poignant.

Posthumous Munro completion

David Batty: Ben Vorlich, 943m and Ben Vorlich North Top, 931m, 22nd June 2019

When he died in November 2018, David Batty had 55 summits/28 walks left to complete his 3rd Munro round and 2nd round of Munro Tops. Even though he never officially admitted he was actually doing it, David was quietly working towards the completion of his ‘not a 3rd round’ by his 75th birthday on 24th June 2019.

David’s friends in The Munro Society decided to finish his rounds for him. We all chose our walks and plugged away at them during the winter, spring and then during the reappearance of winter. The two walks I chose were Creag Meagaidh and its 4 Munro Tops and Ben Avon and its four very widely spaced Tops. Bill, Ralph and I completed the Creag Meagaidh walk on a glorious April day.

Bill and Ralph in Coire Ardair.

Soon afterwards winter came back with snow covering the high Cairngorms for several weeks, hardly the weather for a 35km trek through the Cairngorms. Thankfully summer made an appearance right on cue on 1st June so Ralph and I drove to Corgarff and walked to Ben Avon via Inchrory and two Munro Tops, then back to Invercauld via another two Tops and Gleann Slugain to be met by Bill with the car.

Anne and Ralph on Ben Avon

The completion walk was organised by Oliver Bartrum. All those who had been involved with the completion project we asked to rendezvous at 1.30 p.m. at  Ben Vorlich North Top (Munro Top) after walking over the completion Munro Ben Vorlich.

Anne and Bill on Ben Vorlich.

We were joined at the summit by David’s son Stuart, there was a large collection of beer, champagne and whisky, we raised a glass to David. The weather was fine and there were lots of smiles. David would have been very proud.