Mountain challenge is pinnacle of dog's Munro bagging

Press release   •   Jun 17, 2019 14:38 BST

Four-legged Munro-bagger Genghis the springer spaniel has conquered his most challenging climb yet – Skye’s breathtaking Inaccessible Pinnacle.

Nine-year-old Genghis and his owner Mac Wright, from Milnathort, Kinross, have scaled around 270 Munros since October 2017 – even bagging seven in one day. Prior to this, the former working dog - who was taken on by Mac after his previous owner passed away – had climbed many Corbetts, some more challenging than Munros.

But Genghis recently reached the peak of his Munro challenge at the top of Skye’s In Pinn – a holy grail for mountaineers – with the help of climbing guide Adrian Trendall, from All Things Cuillin and his client, Davie Luti.

An earlier chance meeting on Sgurr Mhic Choinich between Adrian, Genghis and Mac led to a plan being developed to assist Genghis to the summit of the In Pinn.

Genghis – who has his own Facebook page with almost 2,500 followers – donned his Ruffwear dog boots to protect his paws from the rough terrain.

Adrian said: “It was amazing to see the rapport between Mac and his ex-working gun dog. Genghis’s health and safety was obviously paramount in Mac’s mind and every hour we’d stop and Genghis would get a bowl of water and some canine food.

“As we headed into scrambling terrain, Genghis left us all standing as he powered onwards. Once at the ridge overlooking the In Pinn, the enormity of the task ahead of us was obvious as we watched people abseil the line we anticipated hauling our canine crag master up.

“Davie and I headed down to climb the Pinn whilst Mac and Genghis watched from the ridge. Davie raced up and we scoped out the line Genghis would be hauled up. At the base, Genghis was gently put in a tough, padded yellow bag to protect him from any contact with the rock.

“It was great to see Mac’s huge smile as he topped the In Pinn then he abseiled down to a ledge above Genghis whilst belayed by me on a completely independent safety rope. From the ledge, Mac was in line of sight to Genghis and the haul was straightforward and amazingly fast.

“Soon Genghis appeared with Mac, who then scrambled back to the summit. Munro 261 for Genghis! We knew it might be controversial but there was no way we were going to risk Genghis on the top of the Bolster Stone, so like many compleationists, he won’t quite have reached the very highest point but we knew his safety was more important than a pedantic couple of metres.”

Mac said: “I am so proud of Genghis for bagging the In Pinn! He took it all in his stride and really enjoyed the challenge. His health and safety were always at the forefront of my mind as well as the team who helped get us up the In Pinn.

“This was probably our most challenging climb to date as it was technically difficult but with patience and expert guidance, we did it!”

Genghis is hoping to complete his Munro challenge on his 11th birthday in September, with a special climb at Sgor na h-Ulaidh, in Glen Coe, to which friends (both two and four-legged) are invited.

Walking, climbing and Munro-bagging are all popular activities with visitors to Scotland. According to Scotland’s Visitor Survey, published in 2017, 50% of visitors were attracted to the Cairngorms National Park because of the range of activities available, including walking, mountain biking and golf.

In the same survey, 38% of visitors had a long walk/hike/ramble whilst on their visit, which came ahead of visiting a woodland/forest (31%), architecture/buildings (29%) and wildlife/bird watching (21%).

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Firstly I’d like to say well done to Genghis for this amazing ascent of arguably one of Scotland’s most challenging climbs!

“It’s superb to hear that Scotland’s beautiful Munros continue to attract not only walkers and climbers but also our four-legged friends! Pets like Genghis are a huge part of family life nowadays so it’s important that visitors can include them in their holiday plans.

“Research shows that almost a third of holidaymakers base their entire holiday around how suitable a destination is for their pet and over 70% of dog owners say they would take more holidays in the UK if there were better attitudes towards dogs.

“Pet-friendly tourism, or the ‘hound pound’, is an extremely lucrative market - worth over £4bn and growing all the time and it’s important that businesses and attractions are mindful of this and the huge opportunity pet-friendly tourism offers. We are seeing more of the industry taking advantage and catering to furry friends with hotels, restaurants and bars offering dog food menus.

“Scotland is the perfect destination for pet owners - its rugged mountains, huge variety of hiking routes, beautiful parks and award-winning beaches providing an excellent environment for furry friends.”

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