Kerry: Peter Sinclair

Ciste Dhubh 10th October 2009

Boxer bitch Kerry lived in Inverness with her owner Peter Sinclair. Her first Munro was Meall a’ Chrasgaidh in the Fannaichs on 29th August 2005 and she completed her Munro round on Ciste Dhubh in Glen Shiel on 10th October 2009.

Kerry took four years two months to complete her Munro round aged six (and a half) years.

Kerry and I never started out to complete the Munros, we had made several trips onto the Cairngorm plateau and climbed numerous Corbetts before our first Munro. Once we reached 140 Munros I began to wonder if any dogs had accomplished a full round. I was able to establish that Storm and Kitchy (Hamish Brown’s companions) had already completed the full round and decided to see if Kerry and I were up to the challenge.


Currently there are over 7000 human Munro completers, but a very limited number of canines. Whilst not wishing to undervalue the considerable human feat involved, to have a dog completing a full round is a great achievement, bearing in mind the limited time span available. Dogs are not able to start climbing Munros until they are approximately two years old when their skeletons are fully formed and will only have a few years of fitness available depending on the breed of the dog.

I consider that to have completed the Munros with Kerry was a privilege. Any dog owner knows the bond that will be formed with their pet and I would submit that the bond formed when undertaking a round of Munros is exceptionally strong. The bond Kerry and I developed involved a level of mutual trust and respect, and in Kerry’s case, bravery that I do not envisage ever being able to repeat.


Kerry’s enthusiasm was remarkable. Once I had prepared my rucksack for the next day’s outing, she would not leave the gear unattended in fear of being left behind. Once in the car she would sleep for the whole journey and only wake up when she felt the car was on a single track road, indicating that she would soon be on the hill

We climbed the Inaccessible Pinnacle with the assistance of two friends, Fraser Fotheringham and Jamie Barron. We fixed two ropes on the summit and as they hauled Kerry up in her harness, I climbed up the second rope. Kerry was so concerned by this that she spent the whole manoeuvre wagging her tail and licking my face.

Kerry had two harnesses, one for ridge walking on a long line or a rope and the second for more challenging terrain involving vertical lifting.

Outside Skye, the Aonach Eagach ridge, The Saddle, the Devil’s Ridge and the Am Fasarinen pinnacles on Liathach required a degree of research and pre-planning, although when we climbed them, Kerry didn’t find any difficulty traversing them or show any signs of concern. We abandoned a winter traverse of the Ring of Steall when we reached the Devil’s Ridge and revisited it successfully in the spring.

Heat was the biggest problem for Kerry being a flat-faced breed. Keeping her hydrated was never a problem as she would ask for water and would drink from a bladder and tube carried in my rucksack. She loved the snow and would enjoy sliding down the snowy slopes.

She didn’t feel the cold as long as we kept moving, she did not like standing still for any length of time.

On a couple of occasions, we used a bicycle to access the remoter hills, but I was concerned that Kerry would tire herself out, so after that we preferred to overnight in a bothy or tent. Kerry loved sleeping in the tent or bothy bag and would immediately claim her spot as soon as the tent was erected and would fall asleep in a flash.

The bond that developed between Kerry and myself was so special and I will never forget her trust and faithfulness. When we returned home Kerry would often be spoilt by my wife with a big portion of stewing steak before snuggling in with me on the couch as I completed my log.


There is no doubt that Kerry enriched my round of Munros. We would visit specific areas and complete all the Munros before moving on to a new area. Whilst completing the Glencoe hills we would stop in the Clachaig Inn where a young Australian barman would give Kerry the beer slops and a bag of crisps. By the third visit Kerry would rush in ahead of me, through the swing doors into the public bar and would wait for her treats with her paws on the bar.

Kerry clearly loved the mountains and when she passed away, I placed her ashes in ‘Kerry’s Cairn’ on my local Munro and I try to visit her each year.

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