Success Stories: Nick Bramhall vs. the Munros
|January 1, 2011||Posted by Teresa Ivory under Success Stories|
I felt like the best way to start the new year was with the kind of story that inspires me. Nick Bramhall set out to accomplish something and in his quiet way, just went and did it. He decided to climb 100 Munros. There are some significant success tactics here if you’re looking as carefully as I am. I’ll give you my 8 Insights Into Nick’s Success here. See if you agree.
Please treat yourself by following the links through to Nick’s blog. But be warned! Nick has been been imbued with the peace of the Scottish landscape, carries it in his spirit, and brings it to his writing. You will be inspired by his stunning photos and descriptive writing. You will want to see the stags in the field and the mist on the Loch for yourself.
What follows is Nick’s email in response to some standard questions like “exactly what is a munro” and “how did you feel about your success.” I just didn’t see how I could improve on it. Besides…I followed the links and got lost in the beauty of the Scottish countryside.
Ok, so to begin with, Munros. I don’t know how much Leslie explained, but in total there are 283 Munros. The definition is “a Scottish mountain over 3,000 feet”. As recently as 1891 no-one had a clear idea of how many of these mountains existed in Scotland. The Scottish Mountaineering Club, one of the earliest such clubs in the world, was established in 1889 and one of its first activities was to clear this mystery up. Sir Hugh Munro, one of the club’s founding members, took up this challenge and devoted more than a year to research and study. This led, in September 1891, to the first publication of “Munro’s Tables” in the journal of the SMC. The tables listed 283 mountains over 3,000ft. Although there have since been revisions – some mountains have been promoted, some have been demoted – the list currently stands at the same number, 283.
I should probably mention at this point that I’ve actually only climbed one hundred of them so far, so I am only a little over a third of a way to climbing all 283. My original goal this year was to be on a hundred at or around my birthday back in July. Unfortunately circumstances conspired to delay that until late October. It did feel like a significant milestone though, particular as I have climbed 48 this year alone, many of which were tough and involved long, demanding days, and one in particular which involved an overnight camp, on my own, in the middle of nowhere!
I climbed my first Munro in November 2007. This was less than two months after I originally moved to Scotland to begin my graduate job in Aberdeen. Although I have always enjoyed walking (I only bought a car last year) I had never really done much walking outside of towns and country parks. When I was much younger my Grandpa was a leader in the Ramblers group in our town. The Ramblers are somewhat stereotyped in this country as people in anoraks ambling around the countryside, but my Grandpa was enthusiastic, led long walks, and even took me out on a few of their outings. I particularly enjoyed climbing one local hill called Roseberry Topping which is only about a half hour drive from my parents’ house, but has great views. In addition both a friend of my parents, and my uncle, are more serious mountaineers. They would share with us slideshows of trips to Scotland, the Alps and New Zealand which really captured my imagination at the time. It wasn’t however until I moved north to Scotland that I finally decided to give hiking a serious go. I did some research during the preceding week and on Friday night went into town to buy a rucksack, map and compass, flask and a few other things. The next morning I caught a bus out of Aberdeen and an hour and a half later began a walk that would see me cover more than 30km and climb my first Munro, Mount Keen. There is a fuller description on my blog, written at the time.
That day I immediately felt a passion kindled for the Scottish landscape and for long distance walking. The first of these was fueled by the fact that I love landscape photography (and landscape writing/description actually). Scotland on film is a glorious thing but it is another thing to be in that landscape. Scotland has relatively few roads so, to see much of it, the only real option is to walk. The way a landscape develops as you walk through it is very different to the development when you drive through it. I also feel that walking, being more naturalistic, allows you to better connect with the scenery. You aren’t looking at it through a pane of glass, you are in it; breathing the air, hearing the sounds, feeling the crunch of gravel under your boots. I can happily sit on a summit or by a chattering stream or looking down a deep glen and just be at peace with the landscape. It is so different in comparison with my working week which primarily centres around my computer or meetings. I value the time I am not there and feel it is important to get away from the city, from the office, from the normal routine.
As I say, my goal this year was only a partial goal, a step on the way to climbing all of the Munros. Still, the feeling on the day I hit 100 was joyful and was accompanied by a real sense of achievement. I’ve written a full account of it here. I have enjoyed every minute of it, even the tough times, and feel like it has been a very positive influence on my life, giving me space and time to reflect and to look forward.
I hope that’s ok to start with. Let me know whether you need any more information or whether there are other topics you want to touch on!
You covered it all, Nick, either here or in your blog. Thank you for sharing with us all.