While just starting out exploring and conquering mountains the question of which destinations to shortlist often came up. If you stay in the United Kingdom you are blessed with a number of mountainous areas to visit. With a well connected road network you can be in the mountains in under an hour or two so consider it for your next free weekend! The main point is to get outside and explore safely but here are some suggestions of great areas I think you should visit at least once.
Get ready to explore
1. Snowdonia – North West, Wales
A mountainous region located in the north west of Wales. Together with being a national park covering 823 square miles this is one of the most accessible destinations to visit, with good connections from the M6 motorway.
The highest summit in the area is Snowndon at 1,085m. There are a variety of ways to reach the top, some easier than others but with a narrow gauge railway this is a fantastic option for all levels of ability. Once you reach the summit there is plenty of space to look around and enjoy the view from the cairn and relax in the visitors centre. I can recommend stopping off at the restaurant for some food and a coffee after a long days climb before heading back down.
2. Cairngorms – East Highlands, Scotland
Located in the Highlands of Scotland the Cairngorms form part of the Grampian mountain range. The Cairngorms consists of an elevated plateau featuring low rounded glacial mountains. With a landscape similar to the arctic tundra, this is one of the coldest and snowiest destinations in the United Kingdom. If you want to try out some cold weather training without visiting further afield try here!
Containing 18 summits of munro status (Scottish mountain over 3000ft) this is an excellent place to see a large number of peaks. Coupled with being a short 2 hour drive from Glasgow north up the A9, this is a great location to explore some high mountains. In fact, the Cairngorms holds five of the six highest mountains in Scotland; Ben Macdhui, Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Gorm. For munro baggers (those addicted to ticking off every single munro on the list) the Cairngorms are a dream come true. A few days spent in the area can quickly increase your count!
3. Loch Lomond – West Central, Scotland
Situated in the central belt of Scotland the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is a highly accessible location to visit the mountains. Whether you are looking to climb your first munro or do some shopping at the shore while taking in the beautiful landscape, there are options for everyone.
Within the park, the munro of Ben Lomond is a great opportunity for novices aspiring to conquer their first summit. At 974m and with a well established marked path, Ben Lomond is a popular choice due to the stunning views offered and completion time of around five hours.
With a total of 21 munros in the area and a number of lower level walks with fantastic views, this is one of the highly recommended destinations to visit to see some mountains close to Glasgow. Being only a short 30 minute drive up the A82 from the city it is convenient enough to make a short day trip.
For those looking for a more tricky climb to the summit of Ben Lomond there are a couple of options. Take the alternative route from the other side of the mountain and avoid the tourists to make life more interesting. If thats still not challenging enough why not try it in full on winter conditions or dragging a mountain bike up for a quick decent?
England delivers too!
4. Lake District – North West, England
Located in the North of England the Lake District is a mountainous region containing the highest summit in the country. At 978m above sea level, Scafell Pike offers amazing views across the county of Cumbria. With access from the M6 motorway this is another excellent option for those looking to conquer the highest point in England.
The lake district itself is one of the most popular tourist destinations in England. As you would expect with such a high foot fall visiting it has a large number of facilities, attractions and scenic views to take in. With over 900 square miles of mountainous terrain to explore you will not be disappointed in visiting.
For those taking part in the three peaks challenge (Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike within 24 hours) it will be a key objective. Although smaller than Ben Nevis it will still prove a challenging hike with tired legs.
5. Wester Ross – North West Highlands, Scotland
The Dundonnel and Fisherfield Forest covers a large mountainous area within Wester Ross. With a well earned nickname The Last Great Wilderness, this is one of the remotest yet stunning and unspoilt areas of the United Kingdom. Access is easiest by taking the A9 north of Inverness and then the A835 in the direction of Kinlochewe.
In the area there are some of the most famous mountains in the United Kingdom. An Teallach, which can be climbed from Dundonnell contains two summits of munro status and is an excellent option for those looking for a technical scramble with its pinnacle ridge. To the south of the area, the group of five munros known as the Fisherfield Five, offer the ultimate challenge in fitness and navigation. The entry requirement being either an 18 hour day of continuous hiking with ascent over 2000m or an overnight wild camp within the remotest grid square in the United Kingdom mainland.
That ends our top suggestions for the best areas in the UK to get out there and explore some mountains. For maps and guide books I recommend heading over to Amazon for a great range delivered straight to your door here. What are some of your favourite places to see mountains in the United Kingdom? I would be interested to know places you would recommend that I could try out in future trips.
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