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Start hillwalking in Scotland

Scotlandís glens, hills and mountains are the perfect place to start hill walking.

Almost 60% of Scotlandís landmass could be termed as hills or mountains. Scotland has the highest mountain in the UK (Ben Nevis), the most remote mountain areas (e.g. Knoydart, Cairngorms) 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 of the most remote walking country in Europe.

With literally thousands of miles of tracks, stunning scenery and breath-taking views, it is a hill walkerís 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. 

Check out our access pages for details of the outdoor access code and any localised restrictions.

Taking a progressive approach to hill walking is the way to build up your fitness, stamina, experience and confidence. Set realistic goals to start with and donít be afraid to turn around. 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. We also offer members a subsidised range of mountain safety courses and events, click here for all the details.

Check out the Walk Highland website for recommended routes and accommodation options. You will be able to find information and inspiration there to help you make the first steps.

Another alternative is to join a local hill walking / mountaineering / climbing club. There are many clubs affiliated to Mountaineering Scotland listed here which you can choose from. No two clubs are the same and we recommend that you talk to more than one club before you decide which one to join.

The high mountains of Scotland should, however, be treated with respect. They experience severe weather patterns in winter, with semi-arctic temperatures and violent storms. Even summer can see snow and blizzards, especially on the high plateau of the Cairngorm Mountains. Scotlandís mountains offer a huge variety of challenges from gentle walks through glens and up smaller hills, to serious summer expeditions in rough, pathless terrain. In winter the hills transform into mountains, where mountaineering skills are required.

You should 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.

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.