The 10 Highest Mountains in the UK

April 24, 2024

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Ben Nevis

The United Kingdom is famous for its beautiful landscape, from rolling hills in the countryside to cheerful seaside resorts. While the UK isn’t known for being particularly mountainous, it does have its fair share of challenging mountain routes.

Whether you want to scale the very highest mountains the UK has to offer or you just want a stunning view of the British countryside, we’ve got the list for you. Continue reading to find out the 10 highest mountains in the UK based on the Database of British and Irish Hills (SPOILER ALERT: they’re all in Scotland).

1. Ben Nevis

Height: 1,345 m (4,413 ft)
Mountain Range: Grampians
Country: Scotland

If you’re looking for a challenging hike in the United Kingdom, then Ben Nevis is for you! This mountain is the highest the UK has to offer, with a total height of 1,345 meters (4,413 feet). While Ben Nevis doesn’t quite meet the dizzying heights of the highest mountains in Europe or the United States, don’t assume it will be an easy climb. Snow and low clouds can make it difficult to navigate the man-made path. You also need to be relatively fit and prepared to navigate uneven steps. Most beginner hikers would class the climb as difficult, but it’s by no means impossible for someone with little hiking experience.

It takes approximately four to five hours to ascend Ben Nevis and a further two to three hours on the descent. Over 150,000 people attempt to climb Ben Nevis each year.

2. Ben Macdui

Height: 1,309 m (4,296 ft)
Mountain Range: Cairngorms
Country: Scotland

With a height of 1,309 metrs (4,296 feet), Ben Macdui is the UK’s and Scotland’s second-highest mountain. It sits in the Cairngorms mountain range, one of the UK’s most difficult ranges due to the harsh weather. Snow can fall at any point of the year and the weather is very changeable. The ascent is relatively easy as the mountain isn’t steep, but the rough conditions can make it difficult to navigate.

While slightly overshadowed by the fame of its fellow Ben, Ben Macdui is an amazing climb for the keen hiker. Despite what you may think, these two mountains aren’t named after a really famous ‘Ben’. The word actually translates to ‘mountain’ or ‘hill’ in Gaelic.

3. Braeriach

Height: 1,296 m (4,252 ft)
Mountain Range: Cairngorms
Country: Scotland

The third-highest mountain in the UK is Braeriach, which has a height of 1,296 meters (4,252 feet). The mountain has some of the most persistent snow patches in the UK; the Sphinx snow patch typically lasts longer than any other snow in the UK. In the last 300 years, the snow patch has only melted 10 times.

Braeriach is one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the UK due to its remote location and steep elevation. It typically takes between eight and 10 hours to ascend and descend the mountain.

4. Cairn Toul

Height: 1,291 m (4,236 ft)
Mountain Range: Cairngorms
Country: Scotland

The English translation of Cairn Toul is ‘hill of the barn’. Many climbers try to tackle Cairn Toul on the same day as nearby mountains, such as Devil’s Point, a 1,004 meter (3,294 feet) mountain to the south.

The mountain has relatively rough paths to navigate and you may find some loose rocks on your climb. Many climbers are also put off Cairn Toul due to its remote location.

5. Carn na Criche

Height: 1,265 m (4,150 ft)
Mountain Range: Cairngorms
Country: Scotland

Carn na Criche, which roughly translates to ‘boundary stone’ in Gaelic, is a 1,265 meter (4,150 feet) high mountain in the Cairngorms range. A cairn (mound of stones) marks the mountain’s summit.

As with all mountains on this list, the weather can have a major impact on how easy your climb is. Scotland is prone to strong gales, snow, and rain. While this mountain doesn’t have exceptionally difficult routes, it can be tricky if you aren’t used to climbing in bad weather.

6. Sgor na Lochain Uaine

Height: 1,258 m (4,127 ft)
Mountain Range: Cairngorms
Country: Scotland

Don’t worry if your Gaelic is a little rusty. Sgor na Lochain Uaine translates to ‘peak of the little green lake’ in English, and its nickname (much easier to remember) is ‘The Angel’s Peak’. However, there’s no easy way out of the mountain’s strenuous conditions. If you want to climb the UK’s sixth-highest mountain, you’re going to have to navigate rugged slopes and occasional rock-scrambling.

Sgor na Lochain Uaine mountain has an elevation of 1,258 meters (4,127 feet). It was upgraded to Munro status in 1997 after being previously considered a top on nearby Cairn Toul (the UK’s fourth-highest mountain). The Munro are mountains in Scotland that exceed 3,000 feet (914 m). The official Munro list is managed by the Scottish Mountaineering Club and features 282 peaks and 227 tops. People around the world try to complete as many mountains on the Munro List as they can.

7. Cairn Gorm

Height: 1,245 m (4,085 ft)
Mountain Range: Cairngorms
Country: Scotland

If skiing’s your thing, then you’ll love this next mountain. Cairn Gorm is the UK’s seventh-highest mountain, with an elevation of 1,245 meters (4,085 feet). The mountain is one of the country’s top ski resorts in the winter, with over 30 km (19 miles) of ski runs. You can access the resort via the Cairn Gorm Mountain Railway, Scotland’s only mountain railway.

Cairn Gorm provides a relatively challenging climb. It typically takes around two hours to reach the summit, although this can vary based on your experience and fitness. Around two million people visit the Cairngorms mountain range every year. Cairn Gorm is the last mountain on this list that is located within this mountain range.

8. Aonach Beag

Height: 1,234 m (4,049 ft)
Mountain Range: Grampians
Country: Scotland

Aonach Beag means ‘little ridge’ in Gaelic. Don’t let the name confuse you, though. The mountain is still on the Munro List and is a demanding climb. Aonach Beag has a large summit plateau surrounded by steep slopes. Snow typically falls in the winter, so you’ll need suitable snow boots, ice-picks and experience climbing in frosty conditions.

Many hikers choose to tackle Aonach Beag around the same time as the ‘other Aonach’, Aonach Mor. You’ll find this mountain next on the list!

9. Aonach Mor

Height: 1,221 m (4,006 ft)
Mountain Range: Grampians
Country: Scotland

While Aonach Mor translates to ‘big ridge’, it’s actually the smaller of the two Aonachs, with an elevation of 1,221 meters (4,006 feet). The mountain is located around 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Ben Nevis in the Grampians mountain range.

It typically takes around six hours to ascend and descend Aonach Mor. The climb can be tiring, so make sure you’ve packed plenty of water and take breaks as and when you can.

10. Carn Dearg

Height: 1,221 m (4,006 ft)
Mountain Range: Monadh Liath
Country: Scotland

With an elevation of 1,221 meters (4,006 feet), Carn Dearg is the same height as Aonach Mor. It’s best suited to a more experienced hiker as the climb requires rock-scrambling and knowledge of navigating tough terrain. Part of the route features loose and uneven ground, which can be tricky to scale.

The mountain takes between six to eight hours to climb. However, it can take nearly 10 hours if you are extremely cautious and are trying to scale the mountain at a slower pace.

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