Hill walking and mountain climbing can become addictive! You must be aware that Munro bagging can become an obsession and you might end up on the hills every weekend, to the serious detriment of family life!
More seriously, the Scottish hills are very accessible to everyone. They are not huge by global standards (Ben Nevis is ‘only’ 1344m high), but they have some very good climbing that attracts people from all over the world. Accidents are mercifully rare, but the nature of hillwalking and mountaineering is that you often put yourself in exposed situations where an innocuous slip or a stumble can have serious consequences.
The weather, too, plays a part. It is rarely static and wind, rain and low cloud are common, even during the summer months. Winter conditions can be considered as any time when there is snow lying on the ground, and adds to the risk of accidents. Our members have a lot of experience between them, and whilst they will not offer instruction in any aspects of hillwalking and mountaineering, you will find that they are very generous in sharing their accumulated knowledge and skills. All the same, before venturing out into the hills, be sure to read our disclaimer.
Make sure you know where you're going! There are lots of websites and books giving detailed descriptions of routes, and check out weather forecasts while you're at it - see our external links page.
Get a map and learn to read it. The Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger series are the minimum requirement, though in some places Harveys 1:25,000 or even 1:12,500 maps are recommended.
Learn to navigate using a compass and map. A GPS is a fantastic aid, but batteries can (and do) go flat, satellite signals can be weak, but a map and compass doesn't depend on any of these things.
This kit list giving suggestions as to what you should take on an outing to the hills.
Aside from this, there are lots of websites with a wealth of information on safety in the mountains, as well as routes, accommodation and so on (see the external links page).
Scottish mountain names and classifications
Are you confused by the unpronounceable names of the Scottish mountains? There's no need to worry - most Scots don’t know what they mean and can’t pronounce them either. Download this short guide, based on the names of Scottish Munros.
So, what is a Munro? If you’re new to hillwalking and climbing in Scotland, you might not understand how Scottish hills and mountains are classified.
Munros are mountains over 3000 feet (914.4m) above sea level. These are based on Munro’s Tables, first drawn up by Sir Hugh Munro and published in 1891. The list is reviewed from time to time, and currently there are 282 Munros.
Corbetts are mountains between 2500 feet and 3000 feet (762.0m and 914.4m) above sea level, with a minimum descent of 500 feet (152.4m) surrounding the peak. There are 221 Corbetts.
Grahams are mountains between 2000 feet and 2500 feet (609.6m and 762.0m) above sea level, with a minimum descent of 500 feet (152.4m) surrounding the peak. There are 223 Grahams.
Donalds are hills in southern Scotland that are over 2000 feet (609.6m) high. Corbetts and Grahams in southern Scotland are also Donalds, but there are no Munros in southern Scotland. There are 140 Donalds.
Marylins are not Munros! Marylins are hills and mountains in the British Isles with a minimum decent of 150m surrounding the peak. Because Munros are not rigidly defined in terms of minimum descent, not all Munros are Marylins, but all Corbetts and Grahams are. There are 2009 Marylins, of which 1217 are in Scotland.