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10 treks to spellbinding summits — Soaring Mountains

Trail Magazine

10 treks to spellbinding summits — Soaring Mountains

Hiking Collection by Country Walking Magazine

10

Tours

52:19 h

80.2 mi

26,850 ft

Welcome to Walking! This beautiful Collection is inspired by Welcome to Walking, a 32-page guide included with the January 2022 issue of Country Walking, Britain’s bestselling walking magazine. Produced in association with komoot, it’s the complete guide to getting started in the world of walking: where to go, what to look for, how to stay on track, what to wear – and why it’s the healthiest, happiest, simplest and free-est outdoor activity on the planet.

This Collection takes you to 10 of Britain’s most beloved mountains, from grand Lakeland fells, the Peak District’s highest upland and Yorkshire's most charismatic peak to three of Wales’ most iconic massifs and a trio of Highland giants. Once you scratch beneath the surface, the sheer wealth and variety of mountain adventure available to us in Britain is astonishing. This Collection aims to showcase some of our most spectacular routes.

The 10 walks range from 5 to 11 miles (8 to 18 km) in length and all contain significant elevation gain, with the three routes in the Scottish Highlands entailing the most challenge. Plan to spend the full day on these adventures and allow yourself plenty of daylight. Many hillwalkers pack a head torch as standard, just in case, and make sure you tell someone your planned itinerary before setting out.

We would recommend walking these routes between May and October for the longer days, kinder weather and to avoid the additional complications of winter conditions. During winter, the dangers posed by the cold, extreme weather, snow and ice mean that these peaks are the preserve of experienced and equipped mountaineers only. However, winter is the perfect time to start planning such adventures and preparing for them by hiking lower objectives.

Many of these mountains are very popular, so you might want to skip public holidays and the middle of the day to avoid the crowds. September and October are some of the best months, when the light is golden, the trails are quieter and hints of the coming winter give the mountains a wilder edge.

Regardless of season, every hike in this Collection is prone to challenging weather. Our mountain regions are exposed places, bearing the brunt of weather fronts coming in off the Atlantic. Check a dedicated mountain weather forecast carefully so that you know what to expect and always pack waterproofs and spare warm layers, including a hat and gloves. The higher you climb, the colder it gets. While it might be a pleasant spring morning in the valley, your planned summit may be experiencing sub-zero temperatures. On the flip side, don’t forget your sun protection during the warmer months, even on cloudy days.

With the exception of Snowdon, you won’t find any facilities once you leave civilisation behind and you will need to be self-sufficient. Maintaining lots of energy and staying hydrated are key: pack plenty of food and drink, more than you think you will need. Treat Snowdon in the same way, as it is a serious mountain. Think of the café as a bonus and don’t rely on it.

These are 10 of the finest adventures you can have in Britain. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking boots, strap on your backpack and head for the mountains!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    04:53
    7.47 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,275 ft
    2,275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    ‘Up the Pyg and down the Miners’ has become one of the classic ways to ascend Wales’ highest peak. It’s an atmospheric route that takes you into the bowels of the massif, right into the midst of the great amphitheatre formed by the famous Snowdon Horseshoe of Crib Goch, Garnedd Ugain, Snowdon and Y Lliwedd. Snowdon is thought to be …

  • Difficult
    05:08
    6.53 mi
    1.3 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Cadair Idris, the ‘Chair of Idris’, is a mountain with its fair share of history and legend. Once thought to be the highest mountain in Britain, albeit based on little but its lofty and intimidating appearance from the north, it is the undoubted monarch of southern Snowdonia. In fact, it has many parallels with Snowdon, its big brother in the …

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  • Difficult
    05:07
    10.3 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,850 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Ingleborough is a headline act. It is to the Yorkshire Dales what Snowdon is to Snowdonia and what Pen y Fan is to the Brecon Beacons. However, unlike Snowdon and Pen y Fan, Ingleborough is not the highest peak in the national park, but it is undeniably the most awesome. Its layers of limestone, sandstone and shale have been sculpted …

  • Difficult
    05:40
    11.1 mi
    1.9 mph
    2,225 ft
    2,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    At 2,907 feet (886 m) above sea level, Pen y Fan is the highest point in Britain south of Cadair Idris and is the undoubted centrepiece of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is a majestic peak too; its summit is a great wedge of terraced sandstone carpeted in emerald green. It toys with light and shadow, creating fleeting masterpieces …

  • Difficult
    04:45
    7.49 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,975 ft
    2,975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Ben Lomond’s location as the most southerly Munro and, by extension, the closest big mountain to the population centres of Scotland’s Central Belt, makes it a very popular hiking objective. As far as Scotland’s mountains go, perhaps only Ben Nevis sees more visitors to its slopes. However, location alone could not maintain Ben Lomond’s appeal. This is a grand mountain, …

  • Difficult
    07:29
    8.85 mi
    1.2 mph
    4,275 ft
    4,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Ben Nevis, ‘the Ben’, is the highest point in the British Isles and one of its finest mountains. This status propels 100,000 people to its slopes every year, eager to conquer the highest summit in the land. About three quarters take the most straightforward route to the summit, the only way that doesn’t involve scrambling or climbing: the Pony Track. …

  • Difficult
    04:51
    5.26 mi
    1.1 mph
    2,925 ft
    2,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    England’s highest land is suitably rugged, suitably remote and suitably awe-inspiring. At the centre of a great rocky massif of towering summits, any expedition to ‘the Pike’ is an exciting one. Our route is the shortest — beginning in arguably England’s most scenic valley, Wasalde — and ascends to the summit via the spectacular Mickledore ridge.

    From Wasdale Head, the …

  • Difficult
    04:17
    6.11 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,375 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    When your eyes meet ‘Gable’, it doesn’t matter from which direction you are looking at it, you will want to climb it. Alfred Wainwright had it spot on when he wrote: ‘Great Gable is truly a beautiful mountain, but it is never a pretty one.’ It rises in defiant isolation, right at the core of Lakeland’s mountainous heart, instantly recognisable. …

  • Intermediate
    03:58
    7.85 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,575 ft
    1,575 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Kinder Scout is an emblematic moorland plateau, the highest land in the Peak District National Park, the first (or last) obstacle on the Pennine Way and the site of a pivotal moment in the history of land access. Ironically, considering it’s in the ‘Peak’ District, it is the least peak-like of the mountains in this Collection. However, what it lacks …

  • Difficult
    06:11
    9.30 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,650 ft
    3,650 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Arrochar Alps are a tight clutch of rugged mountains to the west of Loch Lomond that are easily accessible from Scotland’s Central Belt. There are four impressive Munros – prominent Scottish peaks over 3000 feet (914 m) — in the range, yet their thunder is completely stolen by a flamboyant exhibitionist that packs in more character than a Tarantino …

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    80.2 mi
  • Duration
    52:19 h
  • Elevation
    26,850 ft

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10 treks to spellbinding summits — Soaring Mountains

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