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Conquering the Majesty: Climbing and Walking in the Highlands of Scotland - Part One - The Up and Down bit


Embarking on an adventure in the Highlands of Scotland is like stepping into a realm of untamed beauty and rugged landscapes. Whether you're an avid climber seeking the thrill of conquering peaks or a nature enthusiast eager to explore scenic trails, the Scottish Highlands offer an unparalleled experience. However, amid the breath-taking vistas lie challenges and potential dangers that demand careful consideration and respect for nature's forces.

Embrace the Majesty:

The Allure of Munros and Corbetts: The Highlands boast a plethora of majestic peaks, including the iconic Munros and Corbetts. Munros, mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet (914 meters), and Corbetts, between 2,500 and 3,000 feet (762 to 914 meters), provide climbers with a diverse range of challenges.

  1. Munros

  • Ben Nevis: Nestled near Fort William, Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the British Isles, standing at 4,413 feet (1,345 meters). Climbing Ben Nevis offers a demanding ascent, often shrouded in mist, but the reward is unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

  • Buachaille Etive Mòr: Located in Glencoe, Buachaille Etive Mòr is a strikingly iconic mountain with its pyramid-shaped peak. The ascent offers breathtaking views of the Glencoe Valley, Rannoch Moor, and the surrounding peaks.

  • Cairn Gorm: Part of the Cairngorms range, Cairn Gorm stands prominently in the heart of the National Park. Climbers can enjoy stunning vistas of the surrounding plateau and, on clear days, as far as the Ben Nevis range.

  • Ben Macdui: As the second-highest peak in the UK, Ben Macdui offers a challenging climb within the Cairngorms. Its remote location provides a sense of wilderness, and climbers may encounter herds of reindeer in the surrounding area.

  • Liathach: Known for its formidable rocky ridges, Liathach is part of the Torridon range. Climbers are rewarded with dramatic views of Loch Torridon and the surrounding landscapes, making it a favorite among experienced mountaineers.

  • Schiehallion: Situated in Perth and Kinross, Schiehallion is renowned for its conical shape and panoramic views. The relatively straightforward ascent provides a great introduction to Munro bagging, and the summit offers a stunning outlook over Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch.

2. Corbetts

  • Sgurr Alasdair: Located on the Isle of Skye, Sgurr Alasdair is the highest point in the Black Cuillin mountain range. Climbers are treated to a rocky and challenging ascent, with stunning views of the rugged Cuillin Hills and the surrounding sea.

  • Beinn Alligin: Located in the Torridon region, Beinn Alligin boasts a complex mountain structure with two Munro summits and a narrow ridge known as the "Horns of Alligin." Climbers are treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and the nearby Isle of Skye.

  • Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag): Often overshadowed by its larger neighbor, Buachaille Etive Mòr, Stob Dubh offers a challenging climb with rewarding views. It provides an excellent introduction to the rugged beauty of Glencoe.

  • Sgurr a' Mhaim: Part of the Mamores range, Sgurr a' Mhaim offers stunning views of Ben Nevis and the Ring of Steall. Climbers can enjoy a challenging ridge walk, and the summit provides a panoramic perspective of the Scottish Highlands.

  • Beinn Bhrotain: Situated in the Cairngorms, Beinn Bhrotain offers a remote and tranquil climb. The expansive views from the summit include the surrounding Munros and the vast expanse of the Cairngorms plateau.

  • Ben Vrackie: Rising above the town of Pitlochry, Ben Vrackie is a popular Corbett offering a relatively straightforward ascent. The summit provides breathtaking views of Loch a' Choire and the surrounding hills.

  • Stac Pollaidh: One of the most popular Climbs in Scotland, this Iconic Rocky Outcrop is one the highlights in the Coigach and Assynt Areas of the North west. Better known as 'Stac Polly'

Becoming a Bagger:

  • "Bagging" refers to the activity of climbing and reaching the summits of mountains in Scotland that are classified either as Munros or Corbetts, both known colloquially as Munro Bagging or Corbett Bagging. The Former originated from Sir Hugh Munro, who compiled a list of these mountains in the late 19th century. Whilst the Corbetts were named after John Rooke Corbett, who compiled the list of these mountains.

  • The Lists: As of January 2022, there were 282 Munros and 222 Corbetts. The official lists are maintained by various organizations, including the Scottish Mountaineering Club. Climbers often use these lists to track their progress.

  • Diverse Challenges: They vary in difficulty and terrain. Some involve challenging climbs with steep ascents, rocky ridges, and potentially hazardous conditions, while others may be more accessible. Bagging can thus provide a diverse range of mountain experiences.

  • Record-Keeping: Baggers typically keep a log or record of their ascents, noting the date, weather conditions, and any notable experiences during each climb. Some enthusiasts also maintain a diary or blog to share their journey with others.

  • Community and Social Aspect: Bagging has a strong community aspect, with climbers sharing tips, advice, and stories about their experiences. Social media platforms and online forums provide a space for enthusiasts to connect, discuss routes, and celebrate accomplishments.

  • Achievement and Recognition: Completing either list is a significant achievement for many climbers, symbolizing dedication, skill, and a deep appreciation for Scotland's mountainous landscapes. While not a formal competition, the completion of a list is often a personal goal and a source of pride.

Safety First:

  • Weather Warnings: The Scottish weather is notorious for its unpredictability. Before setting out, check the forecast and be prepared for rapid changes in conditions. Dense fog, sudden rain, and strong winds are common, especially at higher altitudes. Ensure you have appropriate clothing, including waterproof gear and warm layers, and consider postponing your plans if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

  • Navigational Challenges: The vast and remote nature of the Highlands can make navigation tricky. Carry a detailed map, a compass, and preferably a GPS device. Familiarize yourself with the terrain and have a backup plan in case of getting lost. Mobile phone signals may be weak or non-existent in certain areas, so it's crucial to rely on traditional navigation tools.

  • Wildlife Awareness: The Highlands are home to diverse wildlife, including red deer, golden eagles, and adders. While encounters with these creatures can be awe-inspiring, it's essential to maintain a safe distance and respect their habitats. Be aware of potential encounters and know how to react in case of an unexpected wildlife encounter.


Climbing and in the Highlands of Scotland offer a soul-stirring communion with nature.

However, the untamed beauty of this region demands a profound respect for its challenges and potential dangers. By prioritizing safety, respecting the environment, and being well-prepared, adventurers can forge unforgettable memories amid the grandeur of the Scottish Highlands.


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