Hill Walking in the Scottish Highlands
Written by: Doug
Published: 27th August 2017, last updated: 12th October 2022
When you think of rugged and mountainous areas in Britain and Europe, the Scottish Highlands come to mind immediately. When you think of a thoughtful yet exciting experience for this year, hill walking in the Scottish Highlands should also come to mind immediately.
Famed for its wild beauty, this region contains some of the highest peaks and most romantic sceneries in the UK, including the famous Ben Nevis. Not surprisingly, this area is paradise for hikers and hill walking enthusiasts–with plenty of peaks to suit lovers of all ages and fitness levels.
Getting out and about is great from a health and fitness perspective, but you surely won’t get bored either by the breathtaking views you’re bound to experience on the way. Whether you’re looking for a romantic scenic stroll or a more challenging ascent to test your limits, here are some of the best places for hill walking within the Highlands, and advice on how best to prepare for these routes.
Top Hill Walking Areas
No matter where you go within the Scottish Highlands, chances are you’ll find some great walking and hiking opportunities, and the opportunity for some ‘Munro-bagging’ (climbing a mountain over 3000 feet). There are 282 of these peaks in Scotland, so there’s plenty to choose from! Here are a couple of the top areas:
• Cairngorms – the Cairngorms National Park, in the East Highlands of Scotland, is a particularly good spot for those who want to combine exercise with some spectacular scenery. The peaks, while relatively easy for experienced mountaineers, still provide a good challenge and for those who love nature, the views can’t be beaten.
• Glencoe – Glencoe is one of the most famous glens in the country and is another fantastic area for those who love the outdoors. The deep valley and looming mountains were carved out many centuries ago, from volcanic eruptions and icy glaciers. It’s relatively easy to reach, at just a 2-hour drive from Glasgow or 30 minutes from Fort William (and close to Ben Nevis). There are plenty of Munro peaks to be climbed and scenery to be admired. Read our ultimate guide to Glencoe for more information about the area.
In any relatively wild and remote area, there are risks you need to be aware of. If you’re planning on hill walking or mountain trekking in the Highlands, then it’s only sensible to ensure that you’re properly prepared with the necessary equipment and provisions. Naturally, you don’t want to be wearing shorts and a t-shirt in wet and windy conditions at higher altitudes, and neither do you want to be caught when fog rolls in. Here are some tips for maximum safety and enjoyment for yourself and your significant other:
• Check the weather – even in Summer, Scottish weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for wind, rain and even snow. As such, warm and waterproof clothing is a must. Consider purchasing some lightweight clothing that can be layered, and quickly taken off if the sun decides to show up.
• Bring a map – this should go without saying, but especially if you’re in a particularly remote area, it’s best to have a detailed map. Getting lost is a real concern otherwise, more so because you may not be able to get a signal on your mobile.
• Refuel – walking and hiking can be tough work in the Highlands, so make sure you bring enough food and water for the trip. Handy snacks such as chocolate or nuts will help give you some much-needed energy.
As long as you’re smart and properly prepared, the Highlands offer some of the most romantic, breathtaking and rewarding hill walks and climbs to be found anywhere in the world. With so much choice, it pays to do a little research and see which of these stunning Scottish peaks will be on your travel itinerary. If you don’t have enough time to climb all of your top choices, you can always return next year to finish off the job!
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