Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do I need to take part in the project?

To enjoy taking part in this project you should be a competent hill walker and be comfortable with safely travelling and navigating in mountain environments. You will also need to be able to use a GPS to locate and record 12 figure grid references for your sampling points. The Munros include a wide range of summits with varying levels of difficulty, so when choosing one to adopt you should pick one that is appropriate to your personal level of hill skills and fitness.

Can I adopt more than one Munro?

Yes, you can volunteer to sample more than one Munro, but please bear in mind that collecting the samples from one Munro will add 1-1.5 hours on to your day. We don't recommend that you try to sample more than two Munros during a typical day out. When adopting Munros, please limit yourself to five summits at a time - you can always adopt more at a later date once you have sampled them.

How big is the sampling pack and how much does it weigh?

The sample pack is designed to fit easily into a rucksack pocket. The kit for one Munro consists of three 50ml sample tubes in a ziplock bag, three sterilising wipes, a recording form on waterproof paper and a pencil. The complete kit weighs around 100 g. You will also need to carry a knife or spoon to scoop up your soil sample and a camera or phone to photograph the vegetation at your sample plot.

Can I still collect a sample after the end of September?

The community of organisms which lives in the soil can change with the seasons, particularly between summer and winter. To make sure that the samples collected from different Munros are comparable, we aim to collect all our samples during the vegetation growing season (summer and early autumn). If you are not able to sample your Munro before the end of September 2023, hang on to your pack and you will have another opportunity to collect a sample during June-September 2024.

I adopted a Munro but I'm no longer able to do the sampling, what should I do?

Plans change and sometimes the Scottish weather doesn't cooperate! If you are no longer able to sample the Munro that you adopted please contact us telling us your name and the name of the Munro, so that we can release your Munro for adoption again.

When will I hear about the project results?

We will add periodic updates to this website to let everyone know how we are progressing with Munro adoption and sampling. Sampling is being conducted during summer of both 2023 and 2024, with DNA analysis during the winter periods. Once all the results are in (early 2025) we will hold an online seminar so that all our volunteers can hear about the project's findings.

Why are some Munros missing off the adoption map?

While the majority of Scotland's Munros support areas of alpine vegetation and soils, some are dominated by rock and scree with limited access to areas suitable for soil sampling. For this reason we have excluded a small number of Munros from the study, mainly in the Skye Cuillin. In total, the study aims to collect samples from 270 Munros, 55 of these within the Cairngorms National Park have already been sampled, leaving 215 available for adoption this time round.


Who is funding the project?

The project is funded by the Scottish Government Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) as part of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Strategic Research Programme, project JHI-D4-3 Scotland’s biodiversity: People, Data and Monitoring.