Fuel up with Summit To Eat climbing 282 Munros in Scotland
Adventurers James Forrest and Nicola Hardy are currently climbing all 282 Munros in Scotland in a single-round. Here they outline why they chose to partner with Summit To Eat for their expedition nutrition.
282 mountains. 100 days. 1 epic adventure. We’re attempting to climb all 282 Munros – mountains over 3,000ft in Scotland – in a single-round this spring and summer. We’ve climbed 69 to date in 27 walking days, which equates to 25 per cent of our expedition. Our biggest day to date has been 7 Munros in a day, a 30km epic around Crianlarich including 3,805m of ascent over 15 hours to bag Ben More (1,174m) and its surrounding peaks. Despite all these efforts, though, there’s still a very long way to go. But so far it’s been a happiness-inducing, memory-forging, life-enriching experience. Scotland is a beautiful and wild country and we’ve been lucky enough to get up close and personal with sweeping ridges, dramatic mountain summits, and remote tranquil valleys. The freedom and escapism has been palpable; and the landscapes, nature and people have been amazing. We’ve loved it. But simultaneously it’s been a tiring and demanding challenge. On numerous occasions, we’ve been cold, wet, miserable and fatigued. That’s where food has been so important; not only to provide energy to fuel our exploits, but also as a morale boost. A tasty, hearty, hot meal can do so much to buoy your spirits after a tough day in the mountains. That’s why we’ve been so lucky to partner with Summit To Eat for all of our expedition meals. We’ve put their products to the test over the past month in Scotland – and here are three reasons why we love Summit To Eat meals.
- They're quick, easy and hassle-freeAfter a long and arduous day in the hills, the last thing you want is a long and arduous time in front of the camping stove, labouring over a complicated dinner. That's why we love our Summit To Eat camping meals. They're so quick and easy to make. No ingredients to chop and mix; no multiple pans on the go; no frying required; no foods burning onto your pan; no long waits for the pasta or rice to boil. All we have to do is quickly boil up one pot of water, add the boiling water to the pouches, stir, and in 8 minutes a hot and hearty meal is good to go. This means that when we're at our camp, high in the mountains, with the tent set up overlooking a wild and rugged landscape, we've got more time and energy to enjoy our surroundings. We've had a couple of mesmerising moments out wild camping over the past few months, such as tucking into our Chicken Fried Rice dinner atop Sron an Isean while the sun set over the dramatic, fin-shaped summit of Ben Cruachan; or enjoying a Chocolate Mousse with Granola & Cherry dessert atop the remote Ben Challum, as beams of sunlight broke through the clouds across the surrounding peaks. Other things we love about the Summit To Eat meals are: the handy internal measuring line (unlike less useful external lines on other brands) means you can simply and easily make the perfect meal consistency every time; the pouches make excellent, re-sealable rubbish bins for our waste, enabling us to adhere to the ‘leave no trace’ principle out in the wild; the pouches are free-standing, with a base that opens out – a really handy feature when you’re at camp; and, best of all, because you eat the meal out of the pouch, there is never (yes, never) any washing up to do.
2. They taste great
Going on wild camping adventures or long expeditions doesn't mean your food options are limited to cheap super noodles or tasteless powdered soups. We love the taste of the Summit To Eat range; they serve up delicious, hot meals that really hit the spot when you're in the mountains. This is perfect, because we find our evening meals provide not only the nutrition required to renew and replenish our weary bodies, but also give us a big morale boost. An enjoyable evening meal gives a goal and a target to aim for; and a reward for pushing on and completing that extra summit or extra mile. Over many nights of experimenting, we've found that the Summit To Eat meals taste much more like a freshly cooked meal than pots of rice or pasta, with a pleasant texture and a more fragrant and flavoursome taste. We both have different favourites, but with a big range there is something for everyone. I (James) love the smoky-flavoured Vegetable Chipotle Chilli with Rice and the Chicken Tikka with Rice; while Nic prefers the Salmon and Broccoli Pasta and the Macaroni Cheese.
3. They're lightweight and packable
To help us bag Munros quickly and efficiently, we're often heading out into the hills for a few days at a time, sleeping in bothies or wild camping. This approach enables us to go on mini peak-bagging expeditions of 2, 3 or 4 days at a time, staying high in the mountains, minimising unnecessary ascents and descents, and cutting out long walks in and out of glens. Walks that might take 5 days, for example, if completed as separate day walks can be ticked off in, perhaps, only 3 days as part of a wild camping expedition. But this approach comes with a downside - having to carry supplies for multiple days in your backpack. And a heavy backpack can weigh you down, slow you down, and make your back and shoulders ache. Summit To Eat meals help combat this. Being freeze-dried they are super-lightweight, cramming as many calories and nutrients as possible into every gram of weight, while their flat profile means multiple meals can be stacked on top of each other, thus taking as little room as possible in our packs. Moreover, because they are made simply by adding boiling water, this means we only need to carry one titanium pot and one super lightweight stove (the Alpkit Kraku), thus further reducing pack weight. All in all, this approach works great - and less weight on our backs, means more Munros in the bag. Our favourite summits so far have been Ben Vorlich, which serves up incredible views over Loch Lomond, and the Lochnagar round with an excellent approach along postcard-perfect Glen Muick.
Follow James and Nic’s adventures on Instagram: @jamesmichaelforrest and @adventurer.nic
James’ debut book Mountain Man: 446 Mountains. Six months. One record-breaking adventure is out now