Put mountain man Munro in hall of fame, say MSPs

A BID to elevate Sir Hugh Munro, the pioneering giant of Scottish hillwalking, into the nation’s sporting hall of fame alongside the likes of Kenny Dalglish and Liz McGolgan has been launched in the Scottish Parliament.

Sir Hughs list included 283 hills over 3,000ft. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser believes Sir Hugh should be honoured in recognition of his feat of charting the Scottish peaks above 3,000ft.

The Victorian mountaineer’s name has been preserved for posterity with the adoption of the word “Munro” to describe summits. Nevertheless, Mr Fraser believes the London-born Scot, who grew up near Kirriemuir, should also be accorded the accolade of entry into Scotland’s Sports Hall of Fame.

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Should Sir Hugh be accepted for membership, he would become the third climber to be inducted, following in the footsteps of Dr Hamish McInnes, the deputy leader of a 1975 expedition on the south-west face of Everest, and Dougal Haston, the Scot who became one of the first Britons to reach the summit on that trip.

Sir Hugh Munro in action. Picture: Scottish Mountaineering Club

The parliamentary motion outlines how Sir Hugh was brought up on his family estate at Lindertis, in Angus. A founding member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, he eventually held the post of president.

In 1889, the Scottish Mountaineering club asked Sir Hugh to compile a list of all the biggest mountains in Scotland, and in 1891 he published his “Table giving all the Scottish mountains exceeding 3,000ft in height”, in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal.

His was the first project to identify that there were nearly 300 peaks of such a height, at a time when it was thought that there would only be 20 or 30.

Sir Hugh’s original list comprised 283 separate mountains (Munros) and a total of 255 tops, impressively close to today’s figures of 282 Munros and 221 tops, given improvements in mapping and measuring technology.

The motion, which is attracting cross-party support, pays tribute to the mountaineer’s “stamina, attention to detail and reputation as a superb climber”.

It also notes “with sadness” that Sir Hugh never climbed all of his personal list of Munros, being three short at the time of his death in 1919.

It adds: “Without Sir Hugh, the popular mountaineering activity known as ‘Munro Bagging’ may never have existed.”

Mr Fraser said: “As someone who has climbed more than half of Sir Hugh’s Munros, I know only too well the tremendous service he has given to Scottish mountaineering.

“There are some fantastic names already in the Hall of Fame, and I think Sir Hugh deserves to be among them.”