The Munros are calling and I must go….

(This is my #couch2kilimanjaro story. Follow along by chapter: Chapter 1, Chapter 2)

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What the heck is a Munro? And where can I bag one STAT?!

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(all images from Sam Heughan’s Instagram)

I can’t remember the exact date that I discovered Sam’s IG account. But after seeing the above photos, I sat up and said to myself, ” I want to climb mountains.” It wasn’t just a passing thought. It was the birth of a vision, a mission.

In Scotland, any mountain over 3000ft. is called a Munro. Summiting Munros is called ” munro bagging.” It is a thing over there. There are somewhere around 286 (??) Munros and many a mountain enthusiast has set out to bag them all. You can bag 1 or 5 at a time. Whatever your stamina and the weather allows. I poured over the websites, and ordered books.

So, sometime in March 2015, I decided I was going to climb mountains. Why mountains? From as far back as I can remember, I have loved the mountains and they have called to me. As a small child in Texas, I would often yell at my parents to stop the car so I could go “climb that mountain.” I guess the hills looked mountainous to me. And I wanted to climb them. All of them.

As I have gotten older, I find myself longing for the mountains. I live about 2.5 hours from the Shenandoah National Park and I have been known to throw the kids in the car, drive the 2.5 hours to the park, meander up or down Skyline Drive, and then drive 2.5 hours home. Just because I needed to be in the mountains.


(this print is on my living room mantle)

When I decided I really wanted to climb mountains, this meant something significant was going to have to change in my life. I couldn’t even walk up the street without wheezing.

Around this same time (March 2015), Sam’s fitness/charity campaign, My Peak Challenge, was just wrapping up. I was intrigued with the whole movement, but it was too late to join in for the final challenge that month. I started researching my next move.

How was I going to move off my couch and up a mountain/munro?  

Enter the Couch to 5K running program.

Confession: I had started and quit the C25K program 3 times before this. I honestly did not have much faith in myself at this moment in time. Well, I had faith that I would start well but quit again… just like all the other times.

And I did start well. But I didn’t quit. Not this time. It took me about twice as long as the prescribed 9 week program, but I finished. There were weeks that I had to repeat because I would have an asthma attack halfway through one of the runs and not be able to complete it. The old Chelsea would have just shrugged and jumped off that wagon without so much as a “next time!”

The new me was determined. Focussed. I had my eyes set on Sam’s Munros.  I repeated Week 4 twice and then Week 6 a couple of times. I repeated runs that I didn’t finish well. But I kept at it. And I finished training. I was able to run 5k without stopping. Even all through high school, when I was most athletic and played basketball, I could barely run a mile without falling apart.

Why success this time? I am convinced it had to do with the support system I had stumbled into… again, thanks to the Outlander fandom and Sam’s My Peak Challenge community.

I finally found my tribe, my people. Women of all walks of life, varying ages and professions, diverse political/religious beliefs. Two things we all agreed on: our undying love and appreciation for all things Outlander (show and book), and our determined quest to take control of our health and fitness.

I found my Peak Warrior sisterhood. 


(photo source)

9 thoughts on “The Munros are calling and I must go….

  1. Pingback: Peak Warriors – #couch2kilimanjaro

  2. Well…I am finding my Munros this summer when I hit the top of my bucket list and go to Scotland to do my Outlander pilgrimage with a group of friends. Not sure which ones…but the hiking boots are basically a given! Like you…My Peak Challenge and the support of Peak Warriors has changed my life!


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