The mountains and Munros of Scotland

Days out, Rural, Nature

Posted by Clare on 2nd December 2021

Scottish mountain guide

Ben Nevis often steals the spotlight when it comes to Scottish mountains, but there are hundreds of other fine peaks which deserve their moment of fame! Some of the other famous mountains in Scotland require experience, grit and determination to conquer, while other mountains in Scotland can be scaled by adventurous families.

Some people take on the challenge of ‘Munro bagging’, ticking off the summits as they hit each one. There are 282 Munros mountains in Scotland in total, and once the climbers become a Munroist, some then set about bagging the Corbetts and Grahams!

Whether you’re seeking milder walks for a family holiday or challenging peaks to begin your Munro-bagging quest, find your perfect adventure and start planning your break in the stunning Scottish landscape.

Mountain climbing can be dangerous and is undertaken at your own risk. The information below is a guide only - an expert should be consulted before setting out on any mountain climb.

The highest ground in all of the UK is formed by the mountainous region known as The Highlands. The Great Glen, which was caused by the collision of tectonic plates, is a natural loch- and river-filled route which bisects this area into the Grampian Mountains to the southeast and the Northwest Highlands. There are also mountains on the western islands, including the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Arran. There are also mountainous regions in the Central Belt and the Southern Uplands, which constitute the Scottish Lowlands.

There are numerous mountain ranges in Scotland, which account for 282 Munros, 221 Corbetts and 219 Grahams. The Northwest Highlands include 100 of the 282 Munros, and 13 of the 282 lie on the islands, with 12 of those 13 residing on the Isle of Skye. There’s also an abundance of smaller mountains, the most notable being Donalds (140) and Marilyns (1,219).

Scotland’s mountains can be split into categories which are named after the people who compiled the lists. The tallest, over 914.4 metres above sea level, are known as the Munros, then come the Corbetts (762 – 914.4 metres) and the Grahams (610 – 762 metres).

A P600 is classified as a mountain with a topographic prominence above 600 metres, measuring its highest point relative to the lowest contour line encompassing it. All P600s have a height above 600 metres, which is needed to be called a mountain in Britain. A mountain with a P600 rank of 1 would have the greatest height of all the mountains in Britain; a P600 rank of 2 would be the second highest and so on.

Ben Cruachan – The ‘Hollow Mountain’

  • Elevation: 1126 metres
  • Prominence: c. 881 metres
  • Translation of name: Mountain of Peaks
  • P600 Rank: 13

This remarkable Scottish mountain is not only the single highest point in the region of Argyll and Bute, but also has a hidden secret. The Cruachan Power Station is built into the mountain in a maze of tunnels and passageways. This is a wonderful place for adventurous families to explore and, at 1,126m high, there’s plenty of it to enjoy. Around 6 miles from the power station is the village of Taynuilt.

Stay nearby: Springbank | Taynuilt, Argyll and Bute | Sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Braeriach – The ‘Mountain Expert’

  • Elevation: 1,296 metres
  • Prominence: 461 metres
  • Translation of name: Brindled Greyish Upper Part

Situated in the renowned Cairngorms National Park is Braeriach, the UK’s third-highest mountain. The Scottish peak has a steep northern corrie - meaning hollow or gully - that is almost always filled with snow. Though this isn’t a technically difficult climb, the combination of a high altitude and the likelihood of extreme weather changes makes it a challenging mountain to tackle. The village of Kingussie is around 22 miles away.

Stay nearby: Downie’s Cottage | Braemar, Aberdeenshire | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Ben Lomond – The ‘Tourist Trap’

  • Elevation974 metres
  • Prominence: 820 metres
  • Translation of name: Beacon Mountain
  • P600 Rank: 47

Ben Lomond offers novice mountaineers the opportunity to experience Scotland’s magnificent landscape. Sitting on the eastern banks of Loch Lomond, it’s a popular route and has a purpose-built path trailing up most of the mountain. Ben Lomond is a perfect spot for families to enjoy on their holidays as the route is so accessible. While you’re there, take a boat trip on the loch, enjoy some local cuisine in the town of Balloch or just take in the splendour of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

Stay nearby: Scott Cottage – Loch Katrine | Loch Katrine, The Highlands | Sleeps 5 + 1 dog

Ben A’an – The ‘Family Favourite’

  • Elevation: 461 metres
  • Translation of name: Small Pointed Peak

If you’re planning a family holiday in Scotland, Ben A’an is perfect for aspiring adventurers. The mountain is impressive but by no means particularly high, making it one of the best mountains to climb in Scotland with a family. However, with an easy path to follow and spectacular views from the top, you’ll have a great sense of achievement. If you’re still feeling adventurous after the walk, bike hire is available at nearby Loch Katrine.

Stay nearby: Stroneslaney Cottage | Callander (10mls N), Stirling and Clackmannanshire | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Ben Nevis – The ‘Bragger’s Rights’

  • Elevation: 1,345 metres
  • Prominence: 1,345 metres
  • Translation of name: The mountain with its head in the clouds
  • P600 Rank: 1

Ben Nevis is most famous for being the highest mountain in the UK; it is also the most imposing. Its colossal presence gives hikers a thrilling experience and attracts hundreds of thousands of climbers each year. Surprisingly, it’s not a particularly difficult mountain to climb as there is a well-used path. Ben Nevis is located near the town of Fort William.

Stay nearby: Camisky Lodge | Torlundy, The Highlands | Sleeps 14 + 4 dogs

Aonach Eagach – The ‘2 in 1’

  • Elevation: 967.7 metres
  • Prominence: 623 metres
  • Translation of name: Notched Upland – Rocky Peak of Fian’s Warriors
  • P600 Rank: 48

Aonach Eagach is a beautiful yet challenging ridge walk that takes in the summit of two Munros. Not for the faint-hearted, even experienced climbers regularly use ropes on some sections of this mountainous area in Scotland. Although the walk is tricky at times, there are spectacular views over Glencoe. Once you’ve finished climbing along this unique ridge walk, head to the Clachaig Inn for some good food and music, just over 2 miles away.

Stay nearby: Lochside House | Ballachulish, The Highlands | Sleeps 6

Ben Hope – The ‘Northernmost’

  • Elevation: 927 metres
  • Prominence: 772 metres
  • Translation of name: Mountain of the Bay
  • P600 Rank: 62

If you’re looking to escape as far north as possible on your holiday, you may end up at Ben Hope; it is the most northerly of all the Munro mountains. Standing at 927m high, this mountain takes around five hours to climb in total. This magnificent isolated peak has beautiful views from the top and there is a well-travelled route. The coastal village of Tongue is around 18 miles away.

Stay nearby: 54 Sangomore | Durness, The Highlands | Sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

Buachaille Etive Mor – The ‘Iconic’

  • Elevation: 1,021.4 metres
  • Prominence: 532 metres
  • Translation of name: Great Herdsman of Etive

Of all the peaks in Scotland, Buchaille Etive Mor is arguably showcased in the most photographs of Scotland’s mountains, and with good reason. This beautiful, imposing mountain stands at the head of the Pass of Glencoe, overlooking Rannoch Moor. It was also featured in Sam Mendes’ Skyfall in 2012. Buchaille Etive Mor’s dramatic and steep face means the total hike can take up to nine hours in mild weather. If you’d like to climb it unassisted, take the northern passageway. All other routes are for highly skilled climbers only.

Stay nearby: Vannoch Cottage | Aberfeldy, Perth and Kinross | Sleeps 5 + 2 dogs

Cairn Gorm – The ‘All-Rounder’

  • Elevation: 1,245 metres
  • Prominence: 146 metres
  • Translation of name: The Blue Hill

Famous for its hiking trails, railway and winter skiing, Cairn Gorm has something for everyone – even an easy route. With so much to do, from wildlife photography to mountain biking, this is one of Scotland’s most popular areas. The mountain is also home to Scotland’s only funicular railway, allowing people of all abilities to reach the top station, and Ptarmigan Restaurant, showcasing panoramic views from over 3,500ft.

Stay nearby: Drum Cottage – Nethy Bridge | Nethy Bridge, The Highlands | Sleeps 4

Goat Fell – The ‘Island Surprise’

  • Elevation: 874 metres
  • Prominence: 874 metres
  • P600 Rank: 76

Located on the Isle of Arran, Goat Fell is a popular choice of mountain for travellers enjoying a stay by the sea. It has craggy ridge walks and some invisible gullies, but there is a trail for a safe journey the whole way up the mountain. Paragliders often launch themselves from its peak as Goat Fell is a popular spot for extreme sports fanatics. The Isle of Arran has a range of attractions and restaurants.

Stay nearby: Lodge Farm | Lochranza, Isle of Arran | Sleeps 8 + 1 dog

Ben Macdui – The ‘Haunted Hill’

  • Elevation: 1,309 metres
  • Prominence: 950 metres
  • Translation of name: Mountain of the Son of Duf/MacDuff
  • P600 Rank: 2

Ben Macdui is the second-highest mountain in the UK and is situated in the Cairngorms National Park. It is renowned as a haunted spot, with climbers reporting “freaky” experiences over the years. The climb itself is straightforward, with many routes to follow. The nearby village of Braemar is set in peaceful countryside, with castles and whisky distilleries to keep you entertained.

Stay nearby: Grants Of Freuchie Castle | Dulnain Bridge, The Highlands | Sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

Suilven – The ‘Feeling Peaky’

  • Elevation: 731 metres
  • Prominence: 496 metres
  • Translation of name: Pillar Mountain

Suilven is surprisingly small but must not be undermined. It has a series of impressive peaks to challenge you. Choose your route carefully and be prepared to face soggy bots or sheer ridge scrambles on your way up. Suilven is a remote mountain and is worth planning a day on your holiday to visit. Bear in mind that during red deer season, stalkers may be on the mountain too.

Stay nearby: Macleod Chalet | Lochinver (1.5mls SW), The Highlands | Sleeps 4

The Cobbler – The ‘Don’t Look Down’

  • Elevation: 884 metres
  • Prominence: 256 metres

Overlooking the pretty village of Arrochar is The Cobbler, otherwise known as Ben Arthur. In order to reach the summit, you are forced to climb the final section. A rocky outcrop known as the ‘Eye of the Needle’ juts out from the top. In order to climb The Cobbler you’ll need strong nerves, good grip and a head for heights. Arrochar is a popular place for mountaineers.

Stay nearby: Rhumor House | Carrick Castle, Argyll and Bute | Sleeps 9 + 2 dogs

Ben Chonzie – ‘The Grassy One’

  • Elevation: 931 metres
  • Prominence: 645 metres
  • Translation of name: Mossy Hill
  • P600 Rank: 60

Ben Chonzie is a rounded and grass-covered mountain offering an easy walk near the town of Crieff. The simplest and quickest route comes in from the west. Following the trail up, enjoy views to Loch Tay and other lochs. On your visit, try kayaking on Loch Earn or indulge in local cuisine in Crieff which is around 19 miles away.

Stay nearby: Tucket Cottage | Crieff, Perth and Kinross | Sleeps 5 + 1 dog

Mount Keen – ‘The Well Paved One’

  • Elevation: 939 metres
  • Prominence: c. 312 metres

Though Mount Keen rates as medium difficulty on the hiking scale, there’s relatively little technical skill required to reach the summit. It’s a great mountain for older children to try if you’re visiting on a family holiday. The walk is long but not difficult. Mount Keen sits on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park. The chocolate-box town of Ballater is around 22 miles away.

Stay nearby: Ferneyhowe Croft | The Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Sgurr nan Gillean – The ‘Scary One’

  • Elevation: 966.1 metres
  • Prominence: c. 205 metres
  • Translation of name: Peak of the Young Men

Sgurr nan Gillean is a striking peak on the Isle of Skye. With three pinnacles jutting upwards in towering spikes, this mountain should only be tackled by experienced climbers with good knowledge of Scottish mountaineering. There is just one route to the summit without dedicated rock climbing. Sligachan is a nearby settlement on Skye.

Stay nearby: Portree Bay House | Isle of Skye | Sleeps 4

Head for the mountains of Scotland…

If you’re inspired to explore Scotland’s stunning landscape, search our cottages in Scotland to find the perfect base for your adventure.

Cottages in Scotland

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.