Ladhar Bheinn (Larven)

Best Munros

The best Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet high

The 10 finest mountains to hike in Scotland that are over 3,000 feet in height !

What would be the qualities for a mountain to make the list of the top ten 'best Munros' ?

Personally, I think there are many factors to consider - the views from the summit, the shape of the mountain, its location, the quality of the hike to get to the summit and the surprise of finding something unexpected. Therefore if a mountain is just in a list of the 'most exciting Munros' or the 'most scenic Munros' that doesn't necessarily mean it should be in 'the best Munros' list !

So, given everything equal, such as weather conditions, clarity of views, dryness of rock and ground underfoot, lack of annoying beasties, and much more - my choice for the top ten 'best Munros' would be as below.

What would yours be ?

Ben Nevis

1 - Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis via CMD arete

Ascent : 1520m
Distance : 16km
Duration : 6:30hr
Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain - most people who reach the summit of this usually head up via the 'tourist route', or sometimes called the 'pony track'. They'll get to the top, probably in mist and wonder what all the fuss is about. Head around the back to the 'North Face' and you'll see what folk get excited about. A fabulous area with crags and cliffs holding some snow all year round ! Head up to the summit via the Carn Mor Dearg arête and you'll take a superb easy scrambling route that curves around and up the east face. A step up, Ledge Route is an exposed Grade 1 scramble up, navigation is tricky ! Then there's Tower Ridge a true classic route and lots more climbing to be had. You could even race up and down it - the record is under an hour and a half. Regardless of route, once up the summit on a clear day, the views are far and distance - and the game of 'identify that peak' begins !

Beinn Eighe

2 - Beinn Eighe

Beinn Eighe's Munros

Ascent : 1250m
Distance : 11km
Duration : 4:50hr
All of Torridon's Munros could make the list of top ten best Munros, but that could have taken up 6 places in this list ! So instead, I've gone for the best of the best in Torridon - Beinn Eighe. Beinn Eighe is a vast mountain, its crests and summits almost entirely made of quartzite. The mountain boasts 7 peaks, two of which are afforded Munro status - Ruadh Stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach. When viewed from the Glen Torridon, Beinn Eighe's south facing slopes appear as a uniformed wall of scree, however the northern side of this mountain is complex with corries pushing out on a grand scale. The most dramatic feature is Coire Mhic Fhearchair - a spectaular amphitheatre hidden from roadside view with the famed 'Triple Buttress'.


3 - Blaven (Bla-Bheinn)

Route from Loch Slapin

Ascent : 930m
Distance : 8km
Duration : 3:35hr
Blaven is reckoned to be one of the most beautiful mountains in Scotland. It has a unique and distinctive shape with two main summits separated by a narrow ridge. The northern summit is the Munro, with the southern summit given Munro Top status. The views from both summits are fabulous in all directions, with an awesome full-on panorama of the Cuillin Ridge on clear days. From a hillwalkers perspective it is actually relatively straightforward to ascend Blaven, with only the ridge between the two summits providing any real difficulty. There are alternative routes, with the ridge up via Clach Glas being a classic scramble, requiring competent skills, a good head for heights and possibly ropework.

An Teallach

4 - An Teallach

Classic Traverse route

Ascent : 1775m
Distance : 18km
Duration : 7:30hr
An Teallach, meaning 'the Forge' is the dramatic and imposing sandstone mountain south-west of Ullapool. Winter sunsets on the snow-clad peaks are amazing ! It boasts 10 peaks, two of which are Munro summits - Bidean a' Ghlas Thuill and Sgurr Fiona. To bag the two Munros takes a mere hike from Dundonnell of around 5 hours. However, this misses the finest part of the ridge - the circuit of the ridge above Loch Toll an Lochain, often referred to as the 'Classic Traverse'. This 'Classic Traverse' requires a good head for heights, scrambling skills and care, particularly on Corrag Bhuidhe. There is a bypass path on the south side of the ridge for wimps that want to avoid difficulties. The mountain can be combined with the Fisherfield 'Big 6', which, for most folk, requires camping. One aspect you'll see if you opt for this long route is a hike aside a huge, hidden waterfall cascading into a dark chasm on the south side of An Teallach. Oh, and there's a hill-race up the mountain too !

Ladhar Bheinn

5 - Ladhar Bheinn (Larven)

From Kinlochourn

Ascent : 3650m
Distance : 43km
Duration : 17hr
Mighty Ladhar Bheinn (commonly known as 'Larven') is the dominant mountain in Knoydart - a peninsula on Scotland's west coast not reachable by road. Knoydart is a very special place and always holds a deep affection to anyone who visits there. The mountain's topography is complex with many spurs, corries and summits and not a place to be lost in mist ! The most rewarding route is via the winding path along the southern shore of Loch Hourn. This a long, beautiful route, with several raised places to stop and take in the ever changing views. Alternatively you can take a boat in from Mallaig and stay somewhere in Knoydart. Get onto the summits crests and the views open up - vast and far, to Torridon, Skye, the Outer Hebrides and beyond. A wee warning though, on still days in summer, the midgies can be fierce !

Bidean nam Bian

6 - Bidean nam Bian

From Glencoe

Ascent : 1300m
Distance : 10km
Duration : 4:30hr
Bidean nam Bian guards the southern edge of Glencoe. A huge and complex massif with intricate corries, impressive buttresses, hidden caves and narrow ridges, Bidean nam Bian is the highest mountain in Argyll and as such, affords spectacular views from its summits. There are many routes for hiking, scrambling and climbing. A favourite is scrambling up the 'Zig-zags' around the central buttress of the famed 'Three Sisters' - an easy but exposed scrambling route. Probably the best way to finish any day on this mountain is to descend out via the enchanting 'Lost Valley'.

Ben Alder

7 - Ben Alder (Beinn Eallair)

Via the Long Leachas

Ascent : 1075m
Distance : 17km
Duration : 6:00hr
High plateaus, lochans, ridges, river crossings, fantastic views - Ben Alder and its neighbours have them all ! A cycle in on good tracks alongside lochsides lead to remote Culra bothy encircled by big mountains and far away from civilisation. For fit and keen walkers, the cycle in cuts the walking required to bag Ben Alder and the five nearby Munro peaks down to just 20km. Most people however prefer to bike in to the bothy and stay a night or two, taking the summits in at a more leisurely pace over two or more days.

A' Mhaighdean

8 - A' Mhaighdean

From Shenevall Bothy

Ascent : 1300m
Distance : 23km
Duration : 7:30hr
A' Mhaighdean (meaning 'the maiden') is regarded as the most remote Munro, lying deep in the Fisherfield and Letterewe wilderness. Much planning will be needed to get to the summit of this mountain - options include from Poolewe to the west, Dundonnell to the north-east, Kinlochewe to the south or Loch a' Bhraoin. Regardless of the direction, distances are long and terrain is rough, so back-packing and an overnight (or three) camp will most likely be needed. Get to the summit of A' Mhaighdean and all this effort is made more than worthwhile. The view from the top over Dubh Loch and Fionn Loch north-west to the Outer Hebrides is jaw-droppingly stunning and has to be one of the finest views in the country !

Sgurr na Ciche

9 - Sgurr na Ciche

From Loch Arkaig

Ascent : 1700m
Distance : 27km
Duration : 8:30hr
The mountains in the 'Rough Bounds of Knoydart' are wild and remote. On the eastern fringes of this area, Sgurr na Ciche rises dramatically above Loch Nevis. This mountain's silhouette is a distinctive landmark in the north-west Highlands. There's lots of choice to reach this mountain, all routes are long and require some planning, with some having some fine scrambling. Fantastic seaward views over Eigg, Rhum, Skye and beyond are to be had from Sgurr na Ciche's summit. Continuing hiking nearby, Garbh Choich Mor and its minor tops are tamed by a long parish wall, which aids navigation when the mist is down. Further on, well defined paths and stalkers tracks flow along the crests of Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Mor to Sgurr an Fhuarain.

Ben Avon

10 - Ben Avon (Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe)

From Linn of Dee

Ascent : 1740m
Distance : 50km
Duration : 12:15hr
Ben Avon is a vast mountain with huge plateaux, cliffs and weird volcanic tors. From the south, the route to this Munro is through a Scots Pine forest full of wildlife - from grouse and deer to snakes and ant colonies. Higher up ptarmigan and mountain-hare entertain. The unusual volcanic tors on Ben Avon will have you wandering all over the place to investigate. The summit has the largest tor - more fun for the easy scramble to the top.


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