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.



Routes possible year round, with major seasonal variations noted; winter conditions are more strenuous and serious, demanding appropriate skills and equipment


Brodick, Crianlarich, Fort William, Glen Shiel, Torridon, Portree, Stornoway, Ullapool, Tongue, Aviemore, Braemar


Long 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 See

Must See

Cairngorms 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
16 Mar 2012
8 May 2015
24.0 x 17.0 x 1.9cm
  • Overview

    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

    This is the third title in the Cicerone Great Mountain Days series, which include the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Pennines.

  • Contents

    Getting around
    Camps, bivvies, bothies and howffs
    Maps and guidebooks
    Seasonal variations
    Access – the legal situation
    The hill environment
    Using this guide
    Northwest Highlands
    1 Ben Hope and Ben Loyal
    2 Ben Klibreck
    3 Foinaven
    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
    The Islands
    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

  • Maps

    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.

  • Updates
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    April 2015

    Walk 20

    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 (not

  • Reviews

    ‘… 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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Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey

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 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.

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