Munro

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A Munro is a mountain in Scotland with a height over 3,000 ft (914.4 m). They are named after Sir Hugh Munro, 4th Baronet (1856–1919), who produced the first list of such hills, known as Munros Tables, in 1891. A Munro top is a summit over 3,000 ft which is not regarded as a separate mountain. As of the 2009 revision of the tables, published by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, there are 283 Munros and 227 further subsidiary tops. The most well known Munro is Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, with an altitude of 1,344 metres (4,409 ft).

The Munros of Scotland are known for presenting challenging conditions to hikers, particularly in winter when a number of fatalities are reported each year. Nevertheless, a popular practice amongst hillwalkers is "Munro Bagging", the aim being to climb all of the listed Munros. As of 2009 more than 4,000 have reported completing their round. The first continuous round of the Munros was completed by Hamish Brown in 1974, whilst the current holder of the record for the fastest continuous round is Stephen Pyke who completed his 2010 round in just under 40 days.

Contents

History

Before 1891 and the publication of Munros Tables there was considerable uncertainty about the number of peaks in Scotland over 3,000 feet. Estimates ranged from as few as 31 in the guides written by M.J.B. Baddeley, up to 236 listed by Robert Hall in the third edition of The Highland Sportsman and Tourist, published in 1884. One of the aims of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, formed in 1889, was to rectify this situation and accurately document all of Scotland's mountains over 3,000 feet. Sir Hugh Munro, a founding member of the Club, took on the task using his own experience as a mountaineer, as well as detailed study of the Ordnance Survey Six-inch to the mile and One-inch to the mile map series.[1][2]

Munro's research produced a set of tables which were published in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal in September 1891. They listed 538 summits over 3,000 feet, of which 283 were regarded as "separate mountains"; the term Munro applies to the latter, while the lesser summits are known as tops. Munro did not set any measure of topographic prominence by which a peak qualified as a separate mountain, and much debate has since taken place over how distinct two hills must be if they are to be considered as two separate Munros.

The Scottish Mountaineering Club have carried out a number of revisions of the tables, both in response to new height data on Ordnance Survey maps and to address the perceived inconsistency as to which peaks qualify for Munro status. In 1992, the publication of Alan Dawson's book Relative hills of Britain, showed that three tops not already considered summits, had a prominence of more than 500 feet (152 m).[citation needed] Given this they would have qualified as Corbett summits had they been under 3,000 feet. In the 1997 tables these three tops, on Beinn Alligin, Beinn Eighe and Buachaille Etive Beag, gained full Munro summit status. Dawson's book also highlighted a number of significant tops with as much as 60 metres (197 ft) of prominence which were not listed as Munro subsidiary tops. The 1997 tables promoted five of these to full Munro status.[citation needed]

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