5 Things to consider when taking a 4 year old Munro Bagging

 

Planning

There are obviously a load of Munroes you wouldn't dream of taking wee kids up, but with a bit of research time spent reading a Munro guide, it's easy to select a few low hanging fruit. We've done The Cairnwell and Meall Buidhe. Both of these have roads that run pretty high, so the ascent is manageable for wee legs. They also have other achievable hills right beside them, so that's 4 to be getting on with.

As for kit, all we had to purchase was a sturdy pair of boots a small rucksack and a good water bottle. Like everyone else that takes to the hills, the kit bag will grow with them.

 

Food Breaks

I end up inspiring (read bribing) my 4 year old with bags of fruit/haribo/crisps. I play the "We can stop for a snack at that big rock," and then I point loosely into the middle distance, then pull the "No not this one, that one," and repeat as long as I can get away with it. It's a trick I learned from my Grandfather and I hope he had as much fun doing it to me. Combine these mini-stops with a good packed lunch break and you'll not be getting the "I'm hungry" all the way up the mountain.

 

Pee Stops

This is one thing I didn't anticipate, just how many times a wee fella will want to stop and pee. I think when you give a wee fella the green light that the world is his toilet he takes full advantage. No kidding, it seemed to be every landmark bush or rock along the way. He was like a young lion marking his territory. It also served as a valuable lesson in wind direction that is unlikely to ever leave him.

Everything is Worse

Quite steep for an adult is proper mountain climbing for wee legs. It's not until you look back and realise how hard they are working to keep up that you don't grudge all the pee stops and snack breaks. Our intention on finishing The Cairnwell was to head the short distance along the ridge to Carn Aosda. But, for the first time, we faced into a pretty strong head wind and I could tell the boy was no longer enjoying it, so we took a swift right turn and headed down the hill. No ego and it's still there for another ay.

Added Time and Distance.

Undoubtedly our favourite part of both trips has been the descent. We literally ran and rolly pollied all the way down The Cairnwell, using one of the grassy ski routes. Coming off Meall Buidhe I let the wee fella navigate. It's a pretty basic hill and you can see the road or reservoir you are aiming for. This probably added about an hour to the journey, but we laughed the whole way down.

I had my Garmin running for the Meall Buidhe trip and we had logged an impessive average of 33 minute miles. It also told me I was stationary for 1 hour 34 mins of our 4 hour 9 minute total time; again it's amazing how often a wee boy can pee.

To summarise, if you keep your goals achievable and flexible, a great time can be had taking wee ones Munro Bagging.

 

Written by Billy Rumbold


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