I BLAME Hamish Brown. He may be a mountain legend but he’s also a very naughty boy.
There we were, a group of Munroists sitting around the table chatting happily about hills when he lobbed in a two-word grenade ... calendar round.
You could have heard a pin drop. And then there was a flurry of activity as we all started to consider the consequences - and the possibilities.
A calendar round of Munros, a 3,000-ft peak for every day of the year. Considering the minimum number of Munro climbs needed would be 366, it’s unlikely there will be more than a handful who have achieved this.
Hamish, with seven full rounds under his belt plus countless other ascents, has, of course, managed this feat. I’m sure this mischievous comment sparked a massive amount of record-checking by individuals, even though they might not have admitted it.
Suddenly it was like being in a massive game of Munro bingo. There was no one shouting ‘House’ however. Unless you are a Hamish Brown, a Steve Fallon, a Hazel Strachan or a Stewart Logan, or you run up the same mountains every day of the year, it is unlikely you will have a full card.
I’m now closing in on my fourth round finish, and have racked up nearly 1200 Munros and yet I am still miles from checking off every day. In fact, I do not even have one complete month. Even when I filled in the blanks with Corbetts and Grahams, I still came up short.
As usual, June and September are the best Munro months (one day missing from each), and April to November is well covered, but January, February, March and December are sadly lacking.
Hardly surprising, these winter months are when the big hills are more likely to be out of bounds, and I often have to be satisfied with lower walks.
It may seem trivial, but on a day stuck in the house with the rain battering against the windows, it’s good fun to run through the records. Once you get deeper into it and the list starts filling up, the competitive edge creeps in.
There’s the threateningly whispered ‘Yes’ and silent fist pump when an elusive date is finally ticked off, the disappointment of yet another double date while a near neighbour lies unchecked.
How can I have been out on the Munros so often on August 16, 17 and 19 while never managing to reach a summit on August 18?
What is the great attraction of May 8? Why are July 14, 15 and 16 the mountain equivalents of the Bermuda Triangle?
Another December date pops up, but there’s already a check in that box. How is it possible to have done so many winter walks all on the same days?
It’s not important, but the idea has implanted itself deeply in my head and it’s like an angry wasp trying to find a way out.
Indeed, even as I write this I have decided I will burn the list before it becomes all-consuming. It has to be destroyed. Only then can normal service resume.
Meanwhile, I’m sure Hamish is sitting at home, chuckling away at the mayhem he has unleashed.