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Inside The Outdoors

Living the High Life: An Introduction to Peak-Bagging

30.08.2016 | Hiking

Peak-bagging involves visiting (‘bagging’) all the summits on a particular list. The main difference between a normal hiker and a peak bagger it that it’s a peak bagger’s specific goal to reach a summit or a set of summits. So when a climber reaches a summit, the peak is considered to be “in the bag”.

It’s a great way to improve your fitness, discover more of the UK and set yourself a challenge. Read on for our guide to get started.

Choose your list
The most popular UK peak-bagging lists are the Munros (the Scottish mountains over 3,000ft) and the Wainwrights (the 214 mountains and hills listed in Alfred Wainwright’s ‘Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’). However, you can choose any list or make your own: you might choose to climb all the hills in a particular range or all the summits in your county over a certain altitude. Visit for ideas.

You will need to consider your own ability. The 3000ft Munros are not for the novice, whereas the Wainwrights vary in terms of height and difficulty. How far you are willing to travel and public access rights.

Get equipped
As well as comfortable, reliable boots and suitable clothing, you will need waterproofs, plenty of food and drink, a whistle, torch, map and compass. A small first-aid kit, including blister plasters, is also a good idea. In summer, you may need sun-cream and a hat, while in winter, it is advisable to carry a bivvy-bag and extra clothes and – depending on conditions – you may also require crampons.

Walking Equipment Compasses Survival & Safety



Brush up on your hill-skills
If you are venturing into the hills, it is essential that you know how to navigate with map and compass (if you are unsure, lots of organisations offer short courses). You will also need to be able to exercise good judgement when it comes to your capability, the terrain and weather conditions – if in doubt, always err on the side of caution.

Leave a copy of your route with someone before you set off and plan ‘escape’ routes just in case the weather should change suddenly.

Find a walking-buddy
It’s said that cheerful company shortens the miles. Walking-buddies can provide moral support and extra motivation, so invite some friends to share your adventures. It’s also much safer to walk in a group.

Link them up
Once you’re up, you’re up, so why not make the most of it? Look out for ridge-routes which allow you to bag several summits in one go: it’s much easier than starting from the bottom each time.

Keep a record
There’s nothing more satisfying than ticking off another summit! You can buy various charts and logbooks for the Wainwrights and Munros or simply print off your list from the internet. What about taking a photo (or ‘fell-fie’ – a summit selfie) on each peak you conquer?

Some of the most popular peak-bagging lists are very long and generally take years rather than weeks or months to complete. Celebrating milestones (e.g. the 10th or 50th summit) will help you keep track of your progress, but it’s best not to get too hung up on the numbers. Stick at it and just enjoy the fresh air, exercise and fab views!