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Munro-bagging

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Just as the Inuit have hundreds of words for snow, so in Scotland a hill is rarely just a hill. Depending on where you are in the country, what it’s shaped like and how high it is, a hill might be a ben, a mount, a law, a pen, a brae or even a pap (or in Gaelic, beinn, cnoc, creag, meall, sgurr or stob). Even more confusing, if you’re keen on doing a bit of hillwalking, are “Munros”. These are the hills in Scotland over 3000 feet in height, defined by a list first drawn up by one Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. You “bag” a Munro by walking to the top of it, and once you’ve bagged all 284 you can call yourself a Munroist and let your chiropodist retire in peace. Of course, there’s no need to do them all: at heart, Munro-bagging is simply about appreciating the great Scottish outdoors. It’s advisable, however, not to get too obsessed by Sir Hugh’s challenge: after the Munros you might hear the call of the “Corbetts” (hills between 2500 and 2999 feet) or even the “Donalds” (lowland hills above 2000 feet).

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