What about the Corbetts?
Those who know the Scottish Highlands won't need telling that Scotland has some of the most magnificent mountain and coastal scenery in the world.
So why bother with the Corbetts when there are over 280 Munros to go at? Brian Johnson recommends exploring some of Scotland's less well-known peaks.
What are the Corbetts?
The Corbetts are peaks in Scotland between 2500 and 2999ft in height, with a drop of 500ft on all sides.
Why walk the Corbetts?
Here are just a few compelling reasons to broaden your horizons a little and give the Corbetts a go.
Where are the Corbetts?
• There are Corbetts in many Scottish areas not covered by the Munros. When I’m asked where to visit in Scotland, I always suggest heading as far north and west as possible, where rocky mountains interact with the fjord-like western seaboard to produce spectacular scenery. These are the areas where there are far more Corbetts than Munros. There are no Munros in Ardgour, Moidart or the islands of Harris, Rum, Jura or Arran, and very few in the far north.
Are the Corbetts easier to climb?
• It is often possible to climb a Corbett when the weather is too severe to climb the Munros, and you often get better views for the simple reason that the Corbetts are frequently cloud-free when the Munros are socked in.
• The lower altitude means the walks tend to be a little shorter, which can be an advantage for those staying in hotels who want to climb a mountain between breakfast and dinner. Corbetts can also be a better proposition during the short daylight hours in winter.
You can find peace and quiet on the Corbetts
• The Corbetts can offer the solitude you won’t find on the Munros. Many of the Corbetts are rarely climbed and have not suffered from the human disturbance that is often seen on the Munros.
• For those walkers who have already ‘compleated’ the Munros, the Corbetts provide another challenge.
The scenery is magnificent
I was continually surprised by finding routes up delightful wild glens. In many ways it’s the glens that make the magnificent scenery we see in Scotland, and this walking guidebook is as much about exploring the glens as it is about climbing the peaks."
How many Corbetts are there?
A new Corbett (2500-footer) has been discovered in Scotland, with freelance surveyors John Barnard and Graham Jackson having resurveyed Cnoc Coinnich in Cowal at 764m - a result accepted by the Ordnance Survey and the Scottish Mountaineering Club.
'Kenny's Knob" (as the name roughly translates) stands proudly on the west side of Loch Long. It can be readily reached from Ardgartan via the Cowal Way. The Cicerone walking guidebook 'Walking Loch Lomond and the Trossachs' recommends a long circuit via Glen Croe, Lochgoilhead, and the so-called Argyll Bowling Green (Route 67, Argyll's Bowling Green 26km, which can be downloaded as a stand-alone walking route.) Ronald Turnbull, the book's author, points out that for the energetic the promotion offers a unique opportunity of a seven-Corbett outing around Glen Croe which would also include the Cobbler and Beinn an Lochain, the latter being, slightly interestingly, a Corbett that arose by demotion from Munro.
Cnoc Coinnich brings the Corbett count up to 222.
Since taking early retirement from his career as a physics and sports teacher, Brian Johnson has found time for three thru-hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2700-mile round-Britain walk, three hikes across the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean as well as a single summer compleation of the Munros and has climbed all the Corbetts in Scotland. He has also completed a 2200-mile cycle tour of Spain and France and done multi-week canoe tours in Sweden, France, Spain and Portugal. A keen climber and hiker, he has led school groups in Britain, the Alps, the Pyrenees and California and has completed ten traverses from Atlantic to Mediterranean on the Pyrenean High-Level Route, GR11 or GR10. As a fanatical sportsman and games player, he has competed to a high standard at cricket, hockey, bridge and chess. His crowning achievement was winning the 1995/96 World Amateur Chess Championships.View Articles and Books by Brian Johnson