Hillwalking in Scotland

Health Warning!

Hillwalking and Mountaineering 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!

 

Seriously, though: the Scottish hills are very accessible to everyone, which attract people from all over the world. Accidents are mercifully rare but the nature of hill walking and mountaineering is that you often put yourself in exposed situations where an innocuous slip or a stumble can have serious consequences.

 

Scottish weather conditions are infamous for being unpredictable. Summer days can be warm and sunny, but you can just as easily meet cold winds, low clouds and rain, and even hail, sometimes all in one day!. Winter conditions are when there is snow on the ground, which can happen any time between October and May, especially on higher ground. This poses an additional hazard, and a hill walk can become a winter mountaineering expedition.

Before setting out into the hills, especially on your own, you should:

  • Make sure you know where you're going! There are lots of websites and books giving detailed descriptions of routes, and always check the weather - see our external links page.

  • Get a map and learn to read it.  The Ordnance Survey Landranger and Explorer series or Harveys maps are generally recommended - others do not usually give sufficient detail. Mobile phone apps can also be useful, but make sure that they give the same amount of detail (and you should always take a paper map, in case your phone runs out of battery!).

  • Learn to navigate using a compass and map. A GPS is a fantastic aid, but batteries do go flat and satellite signals can be weak. There are lots of websites and organisations that give instruction on map-reading and navigation - see our external links page.

  • Make sure that you are properly equipped: see our suggested kit list.


Our club members are highly experienced and can help. Whilst we are not instructors, you will find that we are very generous in sharing our accumulated knowledge and skills. Make sure to read our disclaimer.

Scottish mountain classifications

 

  • Munros are mountains over 3,000 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 2,500 feet and 3,000 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 2,000 feet and 2,500 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 2,000 feet (609.6m) high. Corbetts and Grahams in southern Scotland are also Donalds (140 of them).  There are no Munros in southern Scotland.

 

  • 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 2,009 Marylins, of which 1,217 are in Scotland.