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COVID-19 guidance for walking, hiking and climbing in Scotland

New to hiking in Scotland?

Scotlandís glens, hills and mountains are the perfect place for hiking and walking.

Scotland has the highest mountain (Ben Nevis) and some of the most remote mountain areas (e.g. Knoydart, Cairngorms) in the UK and is the only area in the UK that has regular snow covering in winter. 

The Scottish mountains are recognised as unique due to their height and proximity to the Atlantic and offer some great walking for beginners, but also some of the most remote walking country in Europe.

With literally thousands of miles of tracks, stunning scenery and breath-taking views, it is a hikers paradise. Scotland also benefits from walker-friendly access laws; with only limited exceptions, you are able to explore some of the best hill walking in the world. 

Read about access rights in Scotland

Autumn offer - 25% off Mountaineering Scotland membership plus a free gift

If you haven't been hiking in the hills before it's a good idea to build up your fitness, stamina, experience and confidence gradually. Part of the fun is challenging yourself, but set realistic goals to start with, and donít try and do too much too son or be afraid to turn around if you feel you need to. 

Before you start, you'll need to think about:

There are lots of great websites and guide books out there to help you plan your adventures. The WalkHighlands website is a good place to start for recommended routes and accommodation options, and can help you make the first steps.

Another alternative is to join a local club where you can meet new people, go out on organised walks and learn from the experience of other club members. Mountaineering Scotland has over 160 affiliated walking, climbing and ski touring clubs, and we offer training sessions so that members can learn important skills like navigation and winter skills along the way. No two clubs are the same and we recommend that you talk to more than one club before you decide which one to join. 

Find a club

The high mountains of Scotland should be treated with respect and conditions in the car park and and the top can be very different! Even summer can see snow and blizzards, especially on the high plateau of the Cairngorm Mountains and on the summit of Ben Nevis. 

Scotlandís mountains offer a huge variety of challenges from gentle walks through glens and up smaller hills, to serious summer expeditions in rough, pathless and boggy terrain. In winter the hills transform into mountains, where more advanced mountaineering skills are required.

  • You should always take appropriate clothing and equipment, including a map and compass, enough food and drink for the day, and check the weather forecast before you set out.
  • Take a look at our mountain safety pages  which will help you decide what equipment to take and give advice on essential skills such as navigation. 
  • Mountaineering Scotland offers a range of subsidised mountain skills courses and events to help you gain confidence and be self reliant in the hills - find out more.

If you have any further questions, please contact our Mountain Safety Advisor Heather Morning.  Heather can be contact by phone on 01479 861241 or by email.

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