If you’ve been in to peak bagging for any length of time it’s probable that you’ve developed something of a mountain ‘hit list,’ peaks that for one reason or another you feel you just have to bag at some point. You’ll also probably notice that, often in the process of planning to bag one, you stumble across another peak on the map that you feel needs to be added to the list.
Mine developed over a number of years while I was at university, and while I’ve managed to bag a fair number of them I’ve definitely succumbed to the tendency to add more peaks than you bag. To illustrate this, take my hit list from about ten years ago, with links to information about each peak:
Scafell Pike (978m/3209 feet)- England’s highest, enough said.
Yewbarrow (628m/2060ft)- Because who doesn’t want to climb a hill shaped like an upturned Viking longboat?
Buachaille Etive Mòr (1021m/3,350 ft)- One of the most iconic mountains in the Scottish Highlands
Goat Fell, Arran (874m/2876ft)- Highest peak on the Isle of Arran, one of the Clyde Islands of Scotland. Again, an iconic peak with a very distinctive profile, and you have to take a ferry just to get there!
Ingleborough (723m/2372 ft) A mighty mountain in the Yorkshire Dales in England, one of Yorkshire’s ‘Three Peaks’ with (you guessed it) an Iron-Age hill fort on top.
Five years on, what’s happened to the hit list?
Scafell Pike– still outstanding because, I know, I know, I’m rubbish!
Yewbarrow– knocked off the list on a day hike with an old mate from university some years ago.Highly recommended, a great peak to bag. Buachaille Etive Mòr– knocked off the list on a week long trip to Glencoe with my university hiking club in 2006. Brilliant day out and we even got a view!
Goat Fell, Arran– blasted out in September last year despite my desperate unfitness at the time. This one was a real labour of love; a trip report will be coming soon. Ingleborough– I bagged this one several times during my time living in Leeds. This is a peak I could return to again and again; the Yorkshire Dales have a special appeal as I spent a lot of time there when I was younger.
So that looks fairly promising, doesn’t it? Only Scafell Pike to do and then my hit list is complete, no? Well….no. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from bagging peaks it’s that the more you bag, the more you want to hike into another range of hills and bag all the summits there one day too. So here’s a current hitlist (not the complete one though or we’d be here all day!) along with reasons as to why they made the list.
Pen Llithrig Y Wrach (799m/2621 ft) Who on earth doesn’t want to climb a peak called ‘slippery peak of the witch?’
Pen Yr Ole Wen (978m/3209 ft) This mountain has an incredible presence as it looms over the A5 near Ogwen Cottage, with several formidably steep routes of ascent. It’s an excellent vantage point and one I can’t wait to bag.
Carnedd Dafydd (1044m/3425 ft) and Carnedd Llewellyn (1064m/3491ft) I’d actually like to bag all of the Carneddau, which incorporate some 22 of the Welsh 2000 footers, but these two are on my hit list in particular because they offer the prospect of a spectacular ridge traverse to bag them, and they reference the names of two medieval Welsh kings.
Suilven (731m/2398ft). Just take a look at the picture. And it has a bothy nearby too!
Pic du Canigou (2784m/9134ft) I spent a week on holiday in the Villefranche de Conflent area of the Eastern Pyrenees a couple of years ago, and this huge peak loomed large over the entire area. One of the driving purposes of my upcoming trip to France is to go back and bag this peak from the refuge 2000 feet below the summit.
Mount Toubkal (4167m/13,671ft) The highest peak in the Atlas Mountains, and the highest in both Morocco and North Africa as a whole. It’s also one of the highest peaks you can reach without the need for technical climbing skills (at least in summer). Plus it’s located in Morocco, a country I’ve always wanted to visit.
Mulhacén (3478m/11,413ft) The highest in Spain, and gives me an excuse to spend some time in the Sierra Nevada and explore southern Spain properly.
So there’s a selection of mountains on my hit list as it stands in 2016. Many of these should be done within a year, I hope, but I suspect some of the others will take longer to plan to go and bag. But each one should provide an adventure, and plenty to write about. What peaks are on your hit lists, and why?