Great Mountain Days in Scotland
50 classic hillwalking challenges
By Dan Bailey
Inspirational guidebook to 50 challenging routes for mountaineers, scramblers, hillwalkers and fell runners, many long enough to backpack over 2 days, especially in winter (12 to 25 miles). A mix of classic routes and unsung gems across Scotland from Galloway to the Outer Hebrides in widely differing wild landscapes. With customised OS mapping.
SeasonsRoutes possible year round, with major seasonal variations noted; winter conditions are more strenuous and serious, demanding appropriate skills and equipment
CentresBrodick, Crianlarich, Fort William, Glen Shiel, Torridon, Portree, Stornoway, Ullapool, Tongue, Aviemore, Braemar
DifficultyLong hard days on rough remote ground for fitter, more experienced hill walkers, overnight backpackers and ambitious runners; some optional scrambling; some optional approaches by mountain bike or kayak
Must SeeCairngorms 4000-ers, Arrochar Alps, Tyndrum's five Corbetts, Lochaber Traverse, Ladhar Bheinn and Loch Hourn, circuit of Loch Monar, Liathach and Beinn Alligin, Fisherfield Six, Foinaven from Loch Eriboll, Rum Cuillin traverse, Skye's Trotternish Ridge
Scotland’s mountains are among the wildest in Europe, thinly populated and still lightly touched by modern development. This is a hard empty land of rock, loch and bog, sculpted by glaciers and dominated by the elements but also a land of great beauty, with water and mountains in a unique balance. That rugged beauty, toughness and isolation are what bring hillwalkers, backpackers and fellrunners back time and again for some of the greatest mountain days (and nights) to be found anywhere in the world.
Some of the 50 walks described in Great Mountain Days in Scotland are well known classic challenges – such as the Lochaber Traverse and Cairngorms 4000-ers – while others approach a favourite mountain from a new angle or combine several in a testing way. Each one can be crammed into a single, long day or backpacked over two to spend a little longer in this rugged and addictive landscape.
Great Mountain Days in Scotland spans the whole of Scotland from the Southern Uplands to the Outer Hebrides, reflecting the rich diversity of the upland areas and the sheer quality of its finest peaks.
- 50 challenging walking or backpacking routes across Scotland, from 12 to 25 miles long, many with optional scrambles
- several routes feature optional approaches by mountain bike or kayak
- includes an index of 270 summits and ranges featured in the book
Camps, bivvies, bothies and howffs
Maps and guidebooks
Access – the legal situation
The hill environment
Using this guide
1 Ben Hope and Ben Loyal
2 Ben Klibreck
4 Ben More Assynt, Conival and Breabag
5 Suilven and Canisp
6 Seana Bhraigh and Càrn Bàn
7 The Beinn Dearg four
8 Traverse of the Fannaichs
9 An Teallach and the Beinn Deargs
10 Fisherfield Six
11 Beinn Eighe
12 Liathach and Beinn Alligin
13 Coulin Forest
14 Circuit of Loch Monar
15 Loch Mullardoch hills
16 Carn Eige, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and more
17 Cluanie Horseshoe from Glen Affric
18 Beinn Fhada, The Brothers and the Five Sisters
19 South Glen Shiel Ridge to The Saddle
20 Ladhar Bheinn and Loch Hourn
21 The Sgurr na Ciche range – a Rough Bounds round
22 Glen Finnan circuit
23 Beinn Odhar Bheag and the Rois-Bheinn group
Lochaber, The Central and Southern Highlands
24 Creag Meagaidh
25 Ben Alder and the Geal-chàrn group
26 Lochaber Traverse
27 The Mamores
28 Glen Coe circuit
29 Black Mount Traverse
30 Glen Etive hills
31 Ben Cruachan, Beinn Eunaich and Beinn a’ Chochuil
32 Achallader’s five Munros
33 Tyndrum’s five Corbetts
34 Ben Lui, Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig
35 Crianlarich hills
36 Arrochar ‘Alps’
37 Ben Lawers group and the Tarmachan Ridge
38 Beinn a’Ghlo, the Tarf and the Tilt
39 Munros of Glen Feshie
40 Cairngorms 4000-ers
41 Beinn a’ Bhuird and Ben Avon
42 Lochnagar via The Stuic
43 Glen Clova circuit
44 Galloway hills
45 Glen Rosa circuit, Arran
46 Cuillin Traverse, Rum
47 Bla Bheinn, Sgurr na Stri and Sligachan, Skye
48 Trotternish Ridge, Skye
49 An Cliseam range, Harris
50 Uig hills, Lewis
Appendix 1 Walk Summary Table
Appendix 2 Key Summits and Ranges
Appendix 3 Further Reading
Appendix 4 Useful Contacts and Websites
Even GPS users should carry a map and compass (and know how to use them) in case of electronic gremlins or battery failure. The Ordnance Survey (OS) produce comprehensive mapping of the whole country in a range of scales, the most useful for walkers being Explorer maps at 1:25,000 and Landranger sheets at 1:50,000. The latter are generally better for long hill walks since they cover more ground per sheet at sufficient (but not excessive) detail. Popular mountain areas are also covered by the small independent cartographer Harvey, their Superwalker (1:25,000) and British Mountain Map (1:40,000) series having been designed to contain only information pertinent to outdoor users. The relevant maps are given in the information box for each walk.
Scotland’s hills must be among the best documented anywhere, covered by a library of guidebooks in a thriving ‘literary’ tradition dating back to the 19th century. Activity-specific guides are available for every mainstream outdoor activity – post-lunch glen strolls, long-distance hikes, serious hill walks, scrambling, climbing, paddling, and cycling in its various sub-genres. Regional guides provide detail on a given area; national guides take a broad-brush approach or (like this book) they cherry pick. There are too many books to list, but for some specific recommendations see Appendix 3.
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The ferry service over to Barrisdale is no longer running but it might still be possible to arrnage a private boat in Arnisdale for this short run.
Also the bunkhouse website is www.barisdale.com (not www.barrisdale.com).
‘… Their new Great Mountain Days in Scotland, by Dan Bailey, is more ambitious in scale and scope, and demands similar ambitions from its readers. Over three-quarters of the routes are 10 hours long or more, many over 12 hours; for some readers this book will be mostly about dreams rather than realities – but what dreams!
Bailey has conjured up from his great knowledge and love of the Scottish hills a truly magnificent selection from amongst the finest mountain days (and nights – some of the routes can be extended over more than one day) that Scotland has to offer.
Like his earlier companion books for Cicerone on the mountain ridges for Scotland, Wales and England, it is illustrated by his own photographs of outstanding quality in a size and format that allows them to have their full impact.
…The author does recognise ordinary human frailty in suggesting possible shortcuts and some alternative means or lines of access; and there is enough practical advice as well as inspiration here for everyone to find something in it that can be turned from dream to reality.’
Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society, Summer Newsletter 2012
‘Inspiration and adventure come thick and fast in this jauntily-written guide to 50 of the best day (and multi-day) mountain walks in Scotland.
…It’s a title to make room for on even the busiest of outdoor book shelves.’
Scotland Outdoors , Autumn 2012
…it is refreshing that, unlike some guides, it is not obsessed with ticking every Munro or Corbett summit but rather focuses on what I would call a mountaineer’s natural line or journey.
All in all, a very useful resource for anybody seeking ideas or planning their next big day in the Scottish mountains.
Mountain Rescue, October 2012
'I now have yet another priceless gem to add to my Scottish repertoire: a fascinating Cicerone guidebook by Londoner Dan Bailey.
...Each walk is gloriously illustrated with superb photographs and custom-drawn maps based on OS data.
...Whether you are looking to explore Scotland's mountains for the first time, or after 'compleating' a round of Munros, this book should keep you busy on your feet by helping fill many blank spaces left on your Scottish canvas.'
Adrian Hendroff, Irish Mountain Log, Summer 2013
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A Londoner by birth – if not inclination – Dan Bailey is happier as an adopted Fifer, where he lives with his wonderful wife and two budding young mountaineers in striking distance of hills, rock and water. As well as guidebooks Dan produces words and pictures for the outdoor media, and works as the editor of UKHillwalking.com. Dan has walked and climbed in North and South America, Africa, Asia, Mainland Europe and all over the UK. Having tried the rest he insists that Scotland is the best. He is a particular fan of challenging hill walks and long adventurous traditional climbs, both summer and winter – a passion for which he has far more enthusiasm than talent.View Articles and Books by Dan Bailey
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