Meet the cat who loves nothing more than HIKING in the countryside

·4-min read

Meet the cat who loves nothing more than hiking in the countryside

Aaricia Wiesen [CORR], 24, adopted kitten Munro last April after struggling with  loneliness during the pandemic.

The moggy started to join her for her daily strolls around their home - and enjoyed it so much Aaricia decided to take the pet on weekend hikes around the Highlands.

Munro splits her time between admiring the view from a backpack, and trotting up and down mountains on a lead.

The pair have explored the likes of Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond, and even climbed Arthur's Seat, the ancient volcano peak in Edinburgh.

Aaricia, from Glasgow, who was born in Belgium, said: "I really really love hiking and there are no mountains in Belgium so when I came here to Scotland, I fell in love with the mountains and 'Munro bagging' which is how Munro got her name.

"Because I was living by myself for a couple of months, I was feeling a bit bad. 

"I'm not really a social person but I also don't like to be completely alone so she had brought a bit more life and a bit more activity in my life when she came.

"Munro has always been very curious and will manage to go up every single piece of furniture in the flat, climbing the walls if that's what it takes. 

"And since she really loves it and I love to visit new places myself, we get to explore them together. 

"It's always nice to see how she reacts to different places." 

Murno came to live with Aaricia as a 12 week old kitten.

Most of the hikes the two have taken have been within Glasgow, but they have done six big ones in the countryside.

"We did Ben Lomond together with my family last summer when they came to visit and Munro spent more of the time in her backpack of course but had fun at the top and part of the way down," she said.

"We went on a road trip to Glenfinnan which is the furthest we've ever been from home so far. 

"We visited the Cambusnethan house and priory which isn't too far from Glasgow but was quite different from our usual walks. 

"We most recently also went to Arrochar and Tarbet near Loch Lomond and spent a day in Edinburgh where we visited Dean Village and climbed Arthur's Seat.

"With restrictions lifting, it's easier for us to go around and visit new places."

Passers-by stop to ask Aaricia about Munro who she has trained to be on the lead. 

"We started really small," she said.

"I wanted to see if she was going to be comfortable on the lead so we started with getting the harness on a couple of minutes a day and then just a bit more every day. 

"Then we added the leash to that and then the backpack where she would just stay in so that she could get used to having people around and noises and smells before she went to explore out of it."  

"It's definitely not like walking a dog. 

"It's a lot more like walking with a toddler where they wanna stop to look at everything, go back a few steps to check something they missed, want to be carried halfway through the walk, and pitch a fit when they don't want to do something  

"It's definitely an adventure, but we learn to understand each other."

Both travellers haven't yet stayed overnight anywhere - but plan to.

"Some days Munro would rather stay home and nap and I can definitely recognise these days because Munro will take the harness and go hide in her hut," she said.

"Doesn't happen often but she is good at letting me know when she isn't in the mood."

Both have their favourite places - for Aaricia it's the village in Arrochar, and for Munro, it's their neighbourhood park. 

"There's this old destroyed wall that she loves to walk on top of and just climbs up and down on it multiple times," she said.

"Munro is quite shy and hates dogs so it's always better when we can find places with less people. 

"People are better at our new place about keeping an eye on their dogs and putting them on a leash when they see Munro and know their dogs may want to play. 

"Off-leash dogs are definitely the most worrisome part of going out with Munro and we've had some scary experiences but like everything, we've learned what works best in those situations.

"If people really want to take their cat out then they just need to see if their cat likes it  

"It really just  for the cat to decide along with a lot of patience on your side as well." 

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