Mountaineering in Scotland can imply something from a jaunt up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh to a stroll spherical Loch Lomond (simply 45-minute’s drive from Glasgow), to climbing Ben Nevis, the best mountain within the UK.
Increasingly more individuals are being drawn to stroll within the Scottish Highlands, having seeing lovely pictures of the Cairngorm mountains and the glens and the mountain bothies inside them. Nan Shepherd, who adorns the £5 notes in Scotland, wrote in her foundational textual content that the Cairngorms are “like a murals […] perpetually new when one returns” to them.
Heading additional west, many others enterprise to the Isle of Skye and the Cuillin ridge, or tackle the last word Scottish problem of ‘bagging’ every of the nation’s 282 Munros (mountains in Scotland over 3,000ft).
Scotland can be famend for multi-day hikes; from the West Highland Means, from Milngavie to Fort William, to the far-flung Cape Wrath path, which reaches even additional north, or the Rob Roy Means - a route which passes by means of the Southern Highlands. The 537-mile Scottish Nationwide Path encompasses practically each strolling route in Scotland, in the event you’ve acquired the time (and the legs).
So, the place to start out mountaineering in Scotland?
That’s the massive query. Or at the very least, one of many massive questions. What are the perfect hikes in Scotland? What do you have to put on mountaineering in Scotland and are the pesky midges worthy of all that notoriety? Naturally, any information to the perfect hikes in Scotland will likely be totally subjective, however what we’ve tried to do within the listing under is present a useful resource that will provide you with an amazing introduction to the mountaineering in numerous areas of Scotland, in addition to reply a few of these key questions you might need about mountaineering within the land of lochs, glens, Munros and multi-day epics.
Keep in mind, the mountains of Scotland shouldn't be underestimated. For a lot of Munros, and even smaller mountains, you want a data of mountaineering and expertise mountaineering in all kinds of circumstances, on all kinds of terrains. Guides are all the time really useful for these unsure. Please don’t find yourself being that particular person with out a map or compass caught up Ben Nevis in flip flops in February.
1. The West Highland Means
The place to start out with mountaineering in Scotland? The West Highland Means might be the place. A cornerstone of strolling within the nation, the West Highland Means units off from Milngavie and goes 96 miles (155km) to Fort William, residence of Ben Nevis.
Alongside the best way you’ll move alongside the shores of Loch Lomond, with alternatives to increase your stroll and bag a Munro in Ben Lomond. You may then stroll additional north, previous Beinglas and Tyndrum to Inverornan. You may move by means of Rannoch Moor, a ravishing wilderness with far-stretching views, and stroll by Buachaille Etive Mòr and thru Glencoe - one of the crucial iconic landscapes in Scotland. The Satan's Staircase awaits past, however you are on the ultimate stretch at this level. You may ultimately attain Fort William, the place in the event you’re nonetheless feeling recent, you've got the choice to move up the tallest mountain within the UK, Ben Nevis.
The really useful itineraries for the West Highland Means supply choices for 5-7 days, with each day mileage wherever from 8-20+ miles, however the route permits for flexibility, significantly in the event you’re tenting. There’s an amazing sense of neighborhood on this route all through on the bars, hostels and camp spots alongside the best way.
2. Climb Ben Nevis (the CMD Arête route)
Talking of Ben Nevis, we are able to’t write an inventory of the perfect hikes in Scotland with out together with one up the best mountain in Scotland and the UK. At 1,345m (4412ft), Ben Nevis in Fort William is the King of the Munros, and is the height of the UK, 36m larger than the additionally well-known Ben Macdui (which is on the sting of the Cairn Gorm plateau and is the best level within the Cairngorms Nationwide Park).
The “Vacationer Route” up Ben Nevis could be fairly crowded, and whereas nonetheless an effective way to see the mountain, the route up Ben Nevis by way of the knife-edge Carn Mor Dearg Arête, generally generally known as the CMD Arête, is presumably probably the most attention-grabbing. Ascending by way of this route will imply you’ll additionally ascend the Munro of Carn Mor Dearg, and the ridge stroll itself have to be one of the crucial beautiful in the UK, if not past – a becoming technique to summit the best mountain in Scotland. Thoughts you, you want a little bit of nerve and a head for heights.
3. Climb The Cobbler
At 920 metres tall The Cobbler isn’t fairly a Munro, however that’s simply proof that in the event you solely ever climb the Munros you’ll miss out on among the finest hikes in Scotland.
Often known as Ben Arthur, this hike is discovered within the Arrochar Alps. It’s accessible from the Succoth automobile park in Arrochar, a few one hour 45 min drive from Edinburgh or one hour from Glasgow. The trail up is obvious and straightforward to comply with, beginning with a zig-zagging path with views again over Loch Lengthy earlier than strolling three miles to the foot of the mountain to start the ascent.
The triple-headed mountain has one of the crucial distinctive outlines of any mountain in Scotland, Munro or not. It’s additionally one of the crucial rewarding to summit as nicely – with some nice views (and nice picture opps) on the prime. Not least in the event you scramble up the rocky tower on the prime after “threading the needle” on the north summit.
4. The Southern Upland Means
The Southern Upland Means is the primary official coast to coast stroll in the UK. It takes you a full 214 miles from Portpatrick on the south west coast to Cockburnspath on the east. It is a hell of a multi-day hike usually cut up up between 12-16 days. You’ll tackle over 80 peaks which rise above 2000ft, however by no means 3000ft, and get an actual sense for the fantastic thing about the Scottish borders.
It’s an space so usually ignored by those that hike in Scotland, but it surely actually is gorgeous. Make no mistake, that is difficult even for knowledgeable walkers. However in the event you’re searching for a lesser identified technique to uncover the nation, then this is without doubt one of the finest hikes in Scotland.
5. Climb the Cuillins (Isle of Skye)
The Isle of Skye is gorgeous throughout, however in a single nook, the skyline is dominated by the Cuillin mountains. They are often divided into the Black Cuillin and the Crimson Cuillin, that are separated by Glen Sligachan. The Black Cuillin is commonly stated to be probably the most difficult mountain vary in the UK – the excessive level being 3,254ft. The Crimson Cuillin is a Corbett moderately than a Munro at 2,543ft, and whenever you get to the highest of both, there’s an amazing view of the opposite, and of the remainder of Skye (pending climate).
The Clach Glas Blabheinn Traverse is a traditional Skye scramble alongside an ethereal ridge. The Dubh Slabs supply another choice, and the massive one is “the inaccessible pinnacle“, the second highest summit within the Skye Cuillins and a holy grail for mountaineers. Once more, it’s not as simple climb, however usually the perfect aren’t. The extra conventional vacationer spots in Skye – the Fairy Swimming pools and Outdated Man of Storr – are nonetheless nicely price a go to. They’re well-known for an excellent cause!
6. The Rob Roy Means
Should you’ve not heard of him beforehand, Rob Roy MacGregor was an notorious outlaw who lived in Scotland within the 17th and 18th centuries. He's the eponymous character of Sir Walter Scott’s novel , which immortalised him in literature. This seven-day hike honours him too.
Overlaying 94 miles from Drymen to the picturesque Pitlochry, it is a nice technique to see the glens, rivers and lochs of the Southern Highlands, all of the whereas taking within the historical past of Scotland alongside the best way. The stroll passes by the lochs of Venachar, Lubnaig and Tay and the cities of Aberfoyle, Callander, Strathyre, Aberfeldy and extra. The official web site hasn’t been up to date in a while, however there’s an amazing photo-guide to the complete route by WalkHighland person Andrew.
7. Climb Stac Pollaidh
Stac Pollaidh, on the Northwest coast of Scotland, above Ullapool, is one other mountain which reveals peak isn’t the whole lot. The hill within the Northwest Highlands is simply 613m excessive, however the surroundings that surrounds it's the whole lot you dream of whenever you consider the Highlands.
The hike has excellent views of Assynt to the north and the Summer season Isles to the south. path up additionally means which you can make the climb in just some hours (one-way), and whereas it is exhausting work getting up there, it isn't technical in any respect.
This has acquired to be the most effective hikes in Scotland, and particularly the most effective singular days out in Scotland, as a result of there are few locations I can consider the place you get such beautiful views for just a few hours of mountaineering. Image Torridonian sandstone, steep gullies, and ice age ridgelines. Should you want any extra inspiration, take a look at the Scottish people band Assynt, impressed by the place.
One factor to know is that the path will take you as much as a prime plateau, after which it is a easy climb to the jap summit. The true summit is on the west although, and is a tough scramble which ought to solely be completed by those that are skilled. Should you're sticking to the common path, then this identical degree of expertise is not required.
8. The Aonach Eagach Ridgeline
Discovered within the famously beautiful Glen Coe, the Aonach Eagach is the UK mainland’s narrowest ridge stroll. It’s additionally one of many tougher of the 282 Munros to ‘bag’ within the nation.
It is a harmful climb, filled with hazardous, usually moist, generally slippy paths and rocks. Expertise is required and it’s not one to tackle alone, or in rotten circumstances. Nonetheless, it actually is without doubt one of the most outstanding mountain climbs, because the images above and under present.
These with expertise will likely be rewarded with an exhilarating scramble and views over the opposite Glen Coe peaks. Take a look at this nice, detailed information on Stroll Highlands for extra particulars on this (and lots of different) routes.
9. Climb Liathach
Liatach in Glen Torridon is taken into account by many to be probably the most lovely Munro in Scotland. It’s not a straightforward day within the mountains, although. There’s numerous scrambling concerned, numerous uncovered paths, some tough ridge spots and loads of steeps. The ascent is steep on a well-set path and also you’ll bag two Munros in your means, Spidean a’Choire Leith and Mullach an Rathain. The surroundings must be seen to be believed.
10. Climb An Teallach
The ultimate of three Scottish ridges identified for his or her scrambles, An Teallach (alongside Liathach and Aonach Eagach) is a ravishing climb on the Northwest of Scotland. It’s not far under Ullapool. The BMC (British Mountaineering Membership) describe it as “mainland Britain’s most legendary Grade Three ridge scramble”. So once more, this isn’t one for the inexperienced or for the faint hearted. One other mountain fabricated from Torridonian sandstone, the steep gullies make for extremely dramatic views from the height at 914m. A hike that’ll stick with you a lifetime.
11. The Cape Wrath Path
Our final on this arbitrary listing of 11 of the perfect hikes in Scotland is the Cape Wrath Path, which takes us to the very prime of the mainland. Working for 240 miles and sometimes known as the hardest long-distance mountaineering path within the UK, the Cape Wrath path begins in Fort William and finishes at Cape Wrath 15-20 days later.
Cape Wrath is the north-westerly level of the British mainland. You’ll move by means of the distant wilderness of Knoydart and Assynt on the best way and stumble upon virtually no person else for weeks. You’ll additionally spend a lot of your nights in bothies. It’s an enormous ‘un alright. However perhaps not one for many who stay to socialize.
Mountaineering in Scotland | What to Put on & When to Go to
So, you need good climate on your mountaineering in Scotland? Better of luck with that. I’ve lived right here for over 25 years now, and one factor that you simply be taught is that seasons are extra idea than truth. As Scottish comic Billy Connolly stated, “there are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter.” The solar will shine when it shines and the sky will rain when it rains.
After all, the winter continues to be (often) colder than the summer time. From November-March, significantly within the north of the nation, you may get numerous snowfall. So in the event you’re going to hike in that point interval, it is advisable to have the gear and expertise for that. Peak mountaineering season is from June-August, and these would be the busiest however driest instances. April might actually be something from snow to substantial sunshine, relying on how the Gods are feeling that day. The necessary lesson to remove from that is to be ready for all weathers in Scotland.
Which means having a rain jacket which is correctly waterproof, a pair of shoes that may scramble and help but in addition maintain out the moist climate. Should you’re tenting, a tent and sleeping bag which are as much as scratch (applicable for the heat and wind). And naturally, if there’s snow, applicable gear for that – which can embrace crampons.
Mountaineering in Scotland | Avoiding the Midges
Should you don’t know what a midge is, then you definitely’re a really fortunate particular person certainly. Sadly although, you’ll discover out whenever you come to Scotland. Midges are tiny little flying blood-suckers (actually) who will go away your arm feeling very itchy certainly. They’re drawn to the CO2, scent and warmth of people and are very a lot the bane of all mountaineering in Scotland.
Midges' favorite circumstances are heat and damp however not windy. Additionally they love nonetheless and humid, or cloudy circumstances. If it’s really raining or if it’s windy you ought to be nice, although. Midges can’t fly in winds past round 7mph. They’re solely wee, so get blown about simply – however when the climate settles, they do swarm. Chilly and dry or full on daylight – try to be so fortunate – and also you’ll additionally probably be nice.
Fires maintain them away, as does insect repellent, which can be a should. Avon Pores and skin So Delicate is commonly really useful as a repellent freed from deet, however totally different folks discover various things work. Midge season is primarily Might-Sept.
Take a look at our full vary of adventures in Scotland and the remainder of the UK