Running up that hill: The spaniels climbing Scotland’s highest mountains

Meet the two adorable spaniels climbing Scotland’s highest mountains – with more than 250 scaled in less than two years.

Pooches Hugo, aged six, and Spencer, aged three, have bagged 268 of Scotland’s 282 Munros – mountains over 3,000 feet high.

Owner Hollie Jenkins, 27, began hiking the Munros with her faithful dogs in 2021 and is set to climb her final one, Ben Lomond, at the weekend.

Hugo and Spencer wear a harness that is tied to Hollie’s waist, allowing her to keep her hands free to climb, and have their own sleeping bags for when they camp out.

What does Hollie enjoy most about doing the climbs with her dogs?

‘Seeing how happy they are getting to run about in their “natural habitat”, she said.

‘I always get comments in the city about how happy the boys are, but they really do just come alive out there and it’s awesome to see.

‘I also get a huge sense of pride seeing how well they handle themselves and how mature they are when on technical Munros.

Hollie Jenkins with dogs Hugo and Spencer

‘They take their time, are sensible and also great for checking in on me. 

‘I choose to hike alone and enjoy the freedom that it brings, so it’s fab to still have a kind of company with me out there.

‘I am currently on 281 Munros and they are on 268. 

‘We have our final Munro this weekend which will mean they will finish on 269 Munros. 

‘I didn’t take them on the 11 Cuillins and the two Munros of Aonach Eagach due to their very technical nature.’ 


Hollie, who was born in Devon and raised in the Middle East, moved to Edinburgh to study veterinary and fell in love with the city.

She has nearly 160,000 followers on her Instagram page (@theedinburghspaniels) which documents their adventures and gives other people advice on hiking with dogs.

‘For all hikes I take a collar with reflective piping, harness, bungee waist lead, collapsible water bowl, and a collar light,’ said Hollie.

‘Depending on the weather conditions I will also take waterproof coats for them, snowsuits to stop bobbling and booties to stop the snow from bobbling between their footpads.’

In preparation to take on the mountains, the dogs gradually moved up from progressively long walks in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh in 2020 to Munros the following year.

‘We live pretty close to Arthur’s Seat and so their ‘normal’ morning walks involved Munro-like terrain,’ said Hollie.

‘I started to scale up the length of their walks from their teenage months by going for longer time and distance walks in the Pentland hills.

‘And then by the time we climbed Ben Nevis as our first Munro they could easily do three to four hour hill walks with fitness to spare. 

Hollie Jenkins with dogs Hugo and Spencer

‘There is a huge variety in the types of Munro – some are really just extra large grassy hills.

‘For these, as long as your dog has the fitness to do the distance, you won’t really need to do any training or prep. 

‘I think we ordered our Munros quite well – by starting with the ‘easier’ ones initially it gave us time to build up our fitness, learn to trust each other in the hills and let us gradually get used to more technical climbs, so that when we did get to the tricky ones, we could handle them confidently.’


Hollie’s top ten Munros for hiking with your dog:

Hollie Jenkins with dogs Hugo and Spencer


10.Beinn a’ Bheither via Schoolhouse ridge

9.Stob Coire Sgreamhach and Bidean Nam Bian

8.Buachaille Etive Mor

7.Beinn a’ Chroin [Beinn Chabhair] and An Caisteal

6.Ben Nevis

5.Ben Vane or Ben Vorlich (Loch Lomond)

4.Cairn Gorm & Ben Macdui

3.Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

2.Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)

1.Mayar & Driesh


Read more on Scottish Field’s Outdoors pages. 

Plus, don’t miss the July issue of Scottish Field magazine.