Best Mountains in Scotland
Among climbers and outdoors enthusiasts in Scotland the easiest way to start an argument, or maybe a good natured debate would be to ask what is the best mountain in Scotland? It’s a very subjective question and people will undoubtedly have a wide range of answers. How would you judge the best anyway? Is it the highest, the most inaccessible, the most scenic, the hardest to summit, or the one with the best view? Most people would be hard pressed to pick just one so here is our short list, our favourite mountains and some great places to stay while you enjoy them.
The Hebrides are more famous for their beaches than mountains but there is one peak on the isle of Harris which at just short of 800 metres qualifies it as a Corbett. Clisham is the highest point on the Hebrides but it's attraction lies in its location and the fantastic views it offers on a clear day. Straight up and down will take a reasonably fit person 4 hours but many will choose to take in all the neighbouring peaks of the Clisham horseshoe, an outing that will take 8 hours from the main road. Otter and Corncrake cottages are located under hour’s drive away. Perfect for some rest and recovery after a day on the hill.
The Cuillin Ridge on Skye is probably the most famous mountain range in the country. Its peaks dominate the skyline on any drive through the island and it has been a magnet for hillwalkers and climbers for over 100 years. With so many peaks how do you choose one? If you are greedy then you can do the entire ridge in one very long day, however three days is more usual for those who want to take some time to appreciate their surroundings. The most famous peak is probably the Inaccessible Pinnacle, more commonly known as the “Inn Pinn” It is common for hillwalkers to leave this as the very last peak to ascend to complete a round of Munros (The Scottish mountains over 3000 feet) as It is the only one which you will need some technical rock climbing experience and equipment to summit. Saltwinds is situated just 15 minutes away and has inspiring views of the ridge from the garden. It is also a short walk to The Old Inn at Carbost, a famous hillwalker’s pub where for decades now mountaineers have met up, sampled some local whisky and swapped stories of the hills.
For remoteness and that true wilderness feeling then the majestic summit of Foinaven in the far North West is hard to beat. It almost feels like cheating as the summit is relatively easy to reach but the magnificent setting and surrounding landscape feels like you have entered another world. Culkein Lodge is handily located for when you need to step back into civilisation and holiday comfort. Its right by the sea so what better way to end a day on the hills with than by a dip in the ocean?
Schiehallion, pronounced she-hally-on is one of the most popular mountains in Perthshire and is often referred to as the centre of Scotland. From the car park at the Braes of Foss, just north of Aberfeldy the hike to its top and back takes about 4-6 hours on a recently constructed path. This is the perfect evening hill walk, something you should leave for a long summer day when you don’t have to rush to fit as much as possible. You could even cycle to the start of the hike from nearby Strathlyon Cottage, the perfect base in Perthshire for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to explore the hills and bike trails that the area is famous for.
On the drive up the A9 towards Portmahomack and the seaside retreat of Port Cottage the peak that draws your attention as you pass Evanton is Fyrish. The hill itself is neither grand in stature or appearance but its summit offers amazing, panoramic views over the Cromarty Firth. What makes the walk up so appealing however, is the opportunity to have a closer look at one of the most striking architectural follies of the 18th century, which is clearly visible from the road. It was constructed by Sir Hector Munro to resemble the gates of Negapatum in India, the location where forces under his command scored a decisive military victory in 1871. To provide additional work for impoverished locals it is alleged Sir Hector himself would roll the giant rocks transported to the summit for its construction back down the hill.