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Discover the heart of the Highlands — hiking in Glen Nevis

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Discover the heart of the Highlands — hiking in Glen Nevis

Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield

11

Tours

70:36 h

109 mi

36,275 ft

Thanks to the commanding, burly presence of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, Glen Nevis is one of Britain’s premier hiking destinations. Around 100,000 eager souls test their mettle against this iconic mountain every year.

As well as Ben Nevis’ status as the loftiest mountain in the land, it is also one of the most spectacular, mostly thanks to its immense North Face. However, there’s more to the Glen than the Ben.

Glen Nevis is a magical valley characterised by cascading burns, beautiful meadows and sublime gorge scenery. Its south side is dominated by the wonderful Mamores, a range of panoramic summit viewpoints linked by a sinuous network of entertaining hikers’ ridges. Then there are the Ben’s neighbours: modest Cow Hill, with its lovely views across Fort William; Carn Mór Dearg and its famously narrow arête; and the mighty bulk of the Aonachs.

In this Collection, I present 11 hikes that intimately explore this magical glen and the peaks that tower above it. The hikes are ordered in terms of difficulty, with the easier walks first and the more challenging mountain expeditions at the end.

Many of these hikes venture into remote landscapes where self-sufficiency is vital. You should carry plenty of food and drink, while a water filter is useful, enabling you to fill up from mountain streams. Waterproofs and warm layers are essential even when fair weather is forecast, as conditions can change very quickly in the mountains.

The ideal time to complete these routes is either late spring or early autumn. The infamous midges are at their worst during the summer months and can be a real nuisance. Winter here is the preserve of equipped mountaineers as the peaks are usually covered in snow and often witness harsh conditions. Snow can linger on Ben Nevis into the summer, so check a mountain weather forecast to know what to expect before setting out.

There are plenty of accommodation options in the region to suit every budget, from campsites to luxurious hotels. Fort William is an obvious base, with many amenities and a range of places to eat and drink, while there are also options in Glen Nevis itself, including the excellent youth hostel.

Fort William is on the West Highland Railway Line from Glasgow, a majestic way to journey to the mountains. There’s also the option of the Caledonian Sleeper, which leaves London Euston every evening and journeys through the night to arrive at various Highland destinations, Fort William among them.

The town is on the spectacular A82 road between Glasgow and Inverness and there are also regular bus services from Edinburgh, Inverness, Oban, Skye, Glasgow and Glasgow airport, which is the closest option if you’re flying in.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Cow Hill — hiking in Glen Nevis

    Intermediate
    03:02
    6.47 mi
    2.1 mph
    900 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This hike takes you above Fort William to the modest 978-foot (298 m) summit of Cow Hill for superb views across the town, Loch Linnhe and into Glen Nevis. It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours, stretch the legs and get a taste of the West Highlands without venturing into the higher mountains.

    

    The

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    06:22
    14.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This walk takes you on a charming out and back along the glen. While the mountain views are sure to stir the soul, it’s the beautiful Water of Nevis that steals the show, as it winds and tumbles its way down the valley. Perhaps the main highlight of the walk is An Steall, the UK’s second highest waterfall

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    05:38
    7.80 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,550 ft
    2,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    An out and back journey into the bowels of the Ben, this hike follows the Pony Track from Glen Nevis before parting ways with this busy path at the Halfway Lochan. From here, it seeks out an atmospheric path beneath the iconic North Face where some of the finest rock scenery in Britain awaits.

    

    Starting

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    05:16
    8.33 mi
    1.6 mph
    3,300 ft
    3,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    These two contrasting Munros make for an excellent horseshoe hike that reveals some awe-inspiring panoramas. Stob Bàn is a craggy peak, characterised by its quartzite crown, muscular, east-facing buttresses and steep gullies, whereas Mullach nan Coirean presents a sprawling, corrie-bitten ridgeline that

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Intermediate
    04:06
    5.88 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,900 ft
    2,875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stob Bàn’s grand east-facing crags make it one of the most attractive mountains in the West Highlands and this, combined with the ease of access from Glen Nevis, makes it a popular objective. This route ascends the exciting north ridge and engages in a few easy scrambling moves before descending through

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    06:27
    11.9 mi
    1.9 mph
    2,675 ft
    2,675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Marmores range is characterised by fine summits and grand corries enclosed by sinuous switchback ridges that make for superb hillwalking. As a dome-shaped, standalone peak that’s only connected to its neighbour by a rather broad bealach, outlier Binnein Beag bucks this trend. Nevertheless, this is

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    07:29
    8.85 mi
    1.2 mph
    4,250 ft
    4,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Pony Track is the easiest way to the summit of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. It’s thought that around 75,000 people attempt the route every year, making it one of the most well-trodden in the land. Your reward is a huge panorama from the Ben’s broad, rocky summit plateau – that is, if the

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    07:46
    12.5 mi
    1.6 mph
    4,275 ft
    4,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Ben Nevis’ neighbours Aonach Mòr and Aonach Beag – the ‘big ridge and the little ridge’ – are the 8th and 7th highest peaks in Britain. Confusingly, Beag is higher than Mòr, which earns its ‘big’ tag due to its greater length and bulk rather than its height.

    

    Unsurprisingly, any route that visits these

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    07:21
    10.4 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,350 ft
    4,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Quite simply, one of the best mountain journeys in the United Kingdom. Taking in four Munros, two exciting grade I scrambles and some sensational scenery, the Ring of Steall fully deserves its billing as a true classic. It’s a long day out with a hefty 4,350 feet (1,325 m) of elevation gain, so save

    by Alex Foxfield

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  • Difficult
    08:44
    12.1 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,900 ft
    4,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Binnein Mòr is sometimes cited as being the greatest mountain in the Mamores. This is high praise considering the range also boasts the fine peaks of Stob Bàn, Sgùrr a’Mhàim and Am Bodach. Yet none are as graceful as Binnein Mòr, a lofty tabled summit that crowns a complex system of steep-sided ridges

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  • Difficult
    08:26
    10.7 mi
    1.3 mph
    5,025 ft
    5,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    For hikers, there’s no finer way to the summit of Ben Nevis than via the CMD Arête. Slung between Ben Nevis and the Munro summit of Càrn Mòr Dearg, the arête is a huge yet graceful rocky arc. The traverse is always exciting and, despite appearances, is actually a straightforward, grade I scramble.

    

    The

    by Alex Foxfield

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    11
  • Distance
    109 mi
  • Duration
    70:36 h
  • Elevation
    36,275 ft

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