Sir Hugh T. Munro
Munro Bagging

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland possess a wild landscape of mountains, indented coast and islands among the most beautiful in the world. Following my first trip to Scotland in late 2002, I was shaken to my core to discover that it was even possible for these lands to be privately held or sold; at that time The Cuillins were being sold by their hereditary owner to finance roof repairs!

Sir Hugh T. Munro surveyed Scotland's mountains in 1891, producing his "tables" to catalogue any separate mountain above 3000 feet (914.4 meters). At the time he identified 236 peaks and these became known as "Munro's". With no clear criteria for exactly what a Munro is or is not, and depending upon with whom you speak, there are currently as few as 284 and as many as 511 peaks above 914 meters. Those who climb these mountains are called "Munro baggers". Long before the invention of high tech micro-fabrics of unknown origin men and women relied upon wool to breathe, to insulate, and to protect against the elements and carry provisions on such outings.

While in Scotland in April of 2003, I stumbled upon a perfect paint box of a yarn shop in Edinburgh's Bruntsfield neighbourhood. Julie, the proprietress, and her daughter Stephanie had a lovely conversation with me around a multitude of subjects that afternoon. Stephanie turns out to have recently "bagged" ten Munro's through an effort with the John Muir Trust. So, in honour of Stephanie, and all the others like her, whose intrepid spirit take them to face nature directly and reverently - Thistle & Broom used to offer Catherine Aitken's Munro Bags.

Purchase benefits The John Muir Trust for re-forestation efforts on the Isle of Skye where the Cuillin belong to everyone. Stocks change frequently given the limited amount of any fabric.

Sgurr nan Gillean
Sgurr nan Gillean, photograph by Gordon Harrison