If you're new to the mountains of Scotland, we've created this mini-guide with routes to the tops of eight of Scotland's best known hills. It can be printed out and kept in the rucksack as a handy reference to ensure an enjoyable day out. Of course, our Quick Guides should be used in conjunction with the relevant Ordnance Survey map. All distances, times and heights used are approximate and the map numbers relate to the OS 1:50,000 Landranger series.
Lochnagar (3,789 feet)
OS Maps 43/44. Distance: 12 miles. Total Ascent: 3,000 feet. Time: 7 hours.
Start at the Invercauld Bridge on the A93 three miles east of Braemar, parking is available at Keiloch. Enter the Ballochbuie Forest and after around 500 metres the path branches and you should take the right fork. Keep straight on at the next crossroads and continue until you reach the Falls of Garbh Allt (GR 198895). Follow the track through the forest which emerges from the woods to follow the Feindallacher Burn. The route crosses the waterway and begins climbing the western ridge of The Stuic which overlooks Loch nan Eun. From the summit of The Stuic follow the path in an easterly then north easterly direction towards the unmistakeable zenith of Lochnagar where you will find the triangulation pillar and view point indicator on Cac Carn Beag. A straightforward alternative route is to take the track from Spittal of Glenmuick.
Mayar (3044 feet) and Dreish (3106 feet)
OS Map 44. Distance: 9 miles. Total Ascent: 3,200 feet. Time: 5-6 hours.
Start at the Glendoll car park and follow Jock's Road for about 1 1/2 miles, branching left over the White Water into Glendoll Forest. Follow the right bank (left side) of the Fee Burn into Corrie Fee. Follow the path and climb the steep slopes of the corrie to the left of a small waterfall. Once you have reached the moorland above the corrie, the sumit of Mayar is reached by continuing up the grassy slopes in a SSW direction. From Mayar, follow the line of a broken fence, crossing the old Kilbo Hill path and continue climbing in an easterly direction to reach the rounded top of Driesh where a substantial drystane windbreak shelters the triangulation pillar. From Driesh return the way you came until you reach the Shank of Drumfollow where a steep path takes you back into the Glendoll Forest.
Schiehallion (3553 feet)
OS Map 42. Distance: 6 miles. Total Ascent: 2,500 feet. Time: 3-4 hours.
Start at the Braes of Foss car park, just east of the farm, where a public convenience is provided. The route to the summit is signposted and very straightforward but because of the considerable erosion of the honeypot track on this mountain it is advisable to make a small detour from the main path. Follow the Land Rover track to Aonach Ban (GR 749540) where the remains of a primitive hut circle can be found. Cross the burn and follow the contour of the Allt Mor where a number of other shielings are to be discovered. You can now climb the steep slopes to your north to reach the summit or continue round to tackle Schiehallion's exhilarating western face. If you'd like to make a donation towards the purchase and ongoing maintenance of this mountain by the John Muir Trust, visit their website at www.jmt.org
Ben Lawers (3982 feet)
OS Map 51. Distance: 10 miles. Total Ascent: 4,450 feet. Time: 7 hours.
Begin at the road to Machuim Farm at the bridge over Lawers Burn on the A827 (GR 680400). Take the track on the right side of a horn carver's cottage and, keeping to the left of the farm buildings, continue straight on passing the remains of some old stone buildings. The path becomes a little indistinct after it crosses the burn at a bridge but climb left onto a high embankment approx 100m after the bridge to regain it. The path then joins a track which ends at a small dam in front of Meall Garbh (3667 feet). Climb to the summit of Meall Garbh and follow the obvious ridge in a SW direction to reach An Stuc (3643 feet), Creag an Fhithich (3434 feet) and finally Ben Lawers itself. Exit by making your way down to the head of Lochan nan Cat. An alternative, but far less preferable ascent, is to take the tourist route starting at the visitor centre (GR 379380).
Beinn Alligin (3231 feet)
OS Map 24. Distance: 6 miles. Total Ascent: 3,900 feet. Time: 5-6 hours.
Start on the minor road from Torridon to Diabaig at the car park by the bridge over Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. Take the path through the pine trees on the left bank (right side) of the gorge. Ignore a boggy path that branches left after 15 minutes and keep left along the right side of Allt a Bhealaich following a path that crosses to right bank via a bridge and continue to Bealach a Chomla right of Beinn Alligin. Leave the path and climb up the ridge towards the Horns of Alligin. Traverse the obvious ridge to reach the summit peaks and make your descent via Coire nan Laiogh and back across the moor which is cairned. For an alternative route up this mountain see our separate Beinn Alligan feature on the Mountains page.
Buachaille Etive Mor (3352 feet)
OS Map 41. Distance: 8 1/2 miles. Total Ascent: 3550 feet. Time: 6 hours.
Begin at Altnafeadh on the Glen Coe road and take the path over the River Coupall at a bridge past Lagangarbh climbers hut. Climb Coire na Tulaich and head left for the main summit of Stob Dearg. Retrace your steps and traverse the ridge leading to Stob na Doire (3316 feet), Stob Coire Altruim (3080 feet) and finally Stob na Broige (3133 feet) before returning to the grassy bealach at the foot of Stob na Doire. From here descend the grassy slopes to the Lairig Garten path which leads you through a broad trench between Buachaille Etive Mor and neighbouring Buachaille Etive Beag back to the roadside.
The Cobbler (2900 feet)
OS Map 56. Distance: 5 1/2 miles. Total Ascent: 2,950 feet. Time: 4 hours.
Begin at the layby on the A83 immediately south of the Succoth turn off. The path enters the woods and climbs steeply to the foot of some crags and then bears sharp left to the Allt a Bhalachain. Beyond a dam the path follows the right side (left bank) of the burn to the Narnain Boulders and a small howf (shelter). A few hundred metres further on the path crosses the burn and heads up into a corrie beneath the three peaks (the centre peak being the highest). The entire summit traverse is an exhilarating exposed scramble which involves climbing through a rock window known locally as Argyll's Eyeglass.
Enjoy your walking!
Compiled by Andrew Jarret