Jagged peaks against acres of the sky; deep, dark lochs and lochans flanked by lush, green forest; shady, mysterious glens; cascading waterfalls and pure white sand beaches that stretch for miles… If it were a hand of poker, Scotland would have all the aces.
Visitors from all over the world are drawn to Scotland for this very reason – to see what it looks like when Mother Nature delivers a home run. And home runs come no more apparent than when the skyline is dominated by heaven-grazing mountains: craggy, dramatic and just longing to be conquered. The Munro.
Some of Scotland’s 282 Munros are situated in the country's most famous mountain ranges whilst others are less well-known; climbing these peaks is a great way for experienced walkers as well as enthusiasts to explore some fine scenery. So popular is this pastime that it has coined its own name: Munro-bagging. The hobby’s disciples (at the last count there were 6000) are called ‘completists’ or ‘Munroists’ and their mission is to climb every single one of them. Many groups stay in a holiday cottage on their walking vacations or arrange a large lodge to make an event of it. We have properties close to each of the eight Munros we have featured too!
Each of Scotland’s Munros is different from the next – the shape of the mountain, its location, the difficulty of the climb, and whether a hike to the peak will take you through the heart of midge land! Read on to discover the most popular Munros in the country.
Bla Bheinn (Blaven) – Isle of Skye
Standing apart from the rest of the Cuillin Ridge on Skye, Bla Bheinn towers magnificently above Loch Slapin. Its two main summits are separated by a narrow ridge giving it a distinctive shape. This mountain has to be one of the most beautiful in Scotland. The northern summit is the Munro, with the southern summit given Munro 'top' status.
The views from both summits are spectacular in all directions, and if you are lucky enough to get a clear day, get ready for a full-on panorama of the Cuillin Ridge. The ascent is relatively straightforward with a trickier section on the ridge between the two summits. The surfaces, however, are rocky and in part; the climb needs hands on the rocks, so be prepared. But the 360-degree views at the summit make it a hike to remember!
Stay close by: Cnoc An Theine. Sleeps six, welcomes two dogs. Set atop the hillside with fabulous sea views across the Sound of Sleat, Cnoc An Theine is a purpose-built holiday home that is ideal for families and small groups. The cottage offers spectacular views across to Morar, the Ardnamurchan peninsula and the small isles of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Canna. What a delight!
Ben Avon – Cairngorms National Park
Ben Avon is a very large and complex mountain sprawling over more than 30 square kilometres. With huge plateaux, cliffs and weird volcanic tors, you will be wandering all over the place to investigate. Nature is at its most diverse here, as the mountain and foothills host a variety of native species of flora and fauna. This is definitely one for the list when Munro-bagging in Scotland.
From the south, the route to this Munro is through a Scots pine forest full of wildlife, from grouse and deer to snake and ant colonies. Higher up, ptarmigan and mountain-hare roam the faces of the mountain and make for an exciting spot. On the way, you’ll enjoy great views over Glen Quoich, Glas Allt Mor and Slochd Mor. At the summit, you will find the huge Leabaidh an Daimh Tor. Some scrambling is required to get to the true summit where there are excellent views of Beinn a’Bhuird mountain.
Stay close by: Lynwilg House. Sleeps 11, welcomes two dogs. Located with Aviemore and Coylumbridge on the doorstep, Lynwilg House is a big, bright house that allows you to enjoy the best of the Cairngorms. The front looks right across to Cairngorm National Park and the ski lifts, whilst behind the house is the start of the very popular Burma Way that allows you to walk or cycle for miles.
An Teallach – Ullapool
An Teallach, meaning ‘the forge’, lies to the south-west of Dundonnell and overlooks Little Loch Broom in an area often nicknamed ‘the great wilderness’. There is no actual peak called An Teallach; its name refers to the whole group of hills, with the dramatic and imposing sandstone mountain boasting ten peaks, two of which are Munro summits. Whilst the full traverse is a magnificent scramble, the two Munros can be reached by an easier there-and-back route.
Bagging the two Munros takes around 5 hours with a start at Dundonnell. This misses the difficult circuit of the ridge above Loch Toll an Lochain, often referred to as the ‘Classic Traverse’, which requires a good head for heights, scrambling skills and care. Luckily there is a by-pass path on the south side of the ridge for an easier climb. A challenging route and not for the faint-hearted!
Stay close by: Mungasdale House. Sleeps ten, two dogs welcome. Located just an 11-minute drive from the An Teallach car park, Mungasdale House is ideally situated if you and a group of friends want to take on the peak. This large holiday home offers comfortable and spacious accommodation for ten people in a wonderful setting, with views out over the gorgeous sandy beaches of Gruinard Bay.
Ben More – Isle of Mull
Located on the Isle of Mull, Ben More is the only island Munro outside Skye. A grand, rocky mountain, it has a fantastic viewpoint for scores of islands dotted around The Minches (the strait in north-west Scotland that separates the north-west Highlands and the northern Inner Hebrides from Lewis and Harris ). Ben More is the highest point on the Isle of Mull, at 3169ft above sea level.
A three-hour climb will get you to the top where you will be greeted with the most fantastic views of Ireland, the Outer Hebrides, and Ben Nevis if the weather is good and the top is not shrouded in cloud! Be aware that this volcanic mountain is magnetic which renders compasses unreliable and make an accurate reading impossible.
Stay close by: Killunaig Church House. Sleeps ten, welcomes two dogs. This is a transformed former Free Church of Scotland, and is a welcoming and comfortable self-catering holiday house. Set in the most fabulous position overlooking the shores of Loch Scridian with Ben More as a backdrop, this makes for a perfect base when Munro bagging in Scotland.
Ben Wyvis – Easter Ross
Standing alone and indomitable to the north of Inverness, Ben Wyvis is a vast and sprawling mountain whose isolated position makes it the dominating feature of a wide area of the Highlands. The climb to its spacious plateau is a reasonably straightforward ascent in good summer conditions and the extensive vistas from the summit make it a not-to-miss mountain.
Ben Wyvis’ brooding slopes and high ridge are magnets for hill walkers, and the magnificent views to Cairngorm and the Fannichs surrounding are amazing, as is the forested lower slopes where aspen, birch, and rowan grow beside a tumbling burn. Twitchers will be delighted to spot the dotterel, a rare migratory bird which nests in the fragile carpet moss of the summit ridge. Wyvis is a good half-day out; a lovely straightforward grassy Munro with amazing views to Scotland's most northern mountains.
Stay close by: Dalmore House. Sleeps ten, welcomes two dogs. Within short driving distance of Ben Wyvis, Dalmore House is a magnificent imposing Victorian mansion house enjoying views over the Moray Firth. With open fires in many of the public rooms and oil central heating, the house is warm and comfortable. This would be a great base for a large group planning to do some Munro bagging in Scotland.
Creag Meagaidh – Glen Spean
Creag Meagaidh feels like the Highlands compressed into one nature reserve. A magnificent massif, its bare plateau is fringed by some of the grandest cliffs in Scotland. Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve (NNR) is the complete mountain experience with a wild mountain plateau and woodland that’s slowly returning to life, creating dramatic scenery. Whether you want serious hill walking, ice-climbing, low-level walks, bird watching or botany, there’s something here for everyone.
Creag Meagaidh rises from the shores of Loch Laggan, 250m above sea level, to the summit itself, standing at an impressive 1130m. And the elusive black grouse, bigger and rarer than its red counterpart, flourish in the combination of woodland and open moorland. Take a stroll by the river, watch for goldfinches and deer, or explore the lochan at Coire Ardair for spectacular views of Creag Meagaidh’s magnificent cliffs.
Stay close by: Camisky Lodge. Sleeps 14, welcomes 4 dogs. This is a breathtaking self-catering holiday retreat. Close to Creag Meagaidh, this sensational house is perfect for all seasons and ideal for those who love the great outdoors. The rooms have all been beautifully decorated and elegantly furnished, with the large bay windows giving fabulous views. There are multiple rooms to unwind in - enough to find some peace from the crowd if needs be!
Ben Hope – North Highlands
Rising 927 metres (3,040ft) above one of Europe’s largest expanses of bog, the Flow Country in Sutherland, Ben Hope is a fine isolated peak and is a magnificent viewpoint. The most northerly of Scotland’s Munros, Ben Hope gives a grand introduction to the vast wilderness of the extreme north. The views of Ben Hope can be seen from miles away, with the peak dominating the skyline.
The drive across isolated country to the base of the mountain is enjoyable in itself. And with views across the far north of Scotland and beyond to Orkney, the panorama is one of the best from any mountain. The ascent is short but steep, with the route marshy and hard going, especially after rain, but the trudge is worth it as you gain height and begin to see the vast expanse of wilderness spread across Sutherland. You will also encounter a beautiful waterfall on the climb (pictured above).
Stay close by: Balnakeil House. Sleeps 17, one dog welcome. Now fully restored, it has been well refurbished to provide a unique and luxurious experience, and within an hour’s drive of Ben Hope, it is the ideal base to attempt the climb! With all the rooms having spectacular sea or mountain views and a mile and a half of sandy beach on your doorstep, the setting is truly magical. To add to the delight, the adorable Beach Bothy next door sleeps two additional people should it be required (at extra cost), so get a group together and start the adventure!
Ben Nevis – Fort William
At its summit, this Ben reaches heights of 1344 m (4409 ft), making it the highest mountain in Scotland. As far as reaching the heavens, this is as close as you get in Scotland. Part of the Grampian Mountain range, with his snow-topped summit and cragged faces, Ben Nevis is the king of them all. The mountain is all that’s left of an ancient volcano; its peak is the collapsed dome of the volcano that imploded millions of years ago.
There has been some debate about the meaning of the name, with there being two translations from the ancient Gaelic language. One meaning is ‘mountain with its head in the clouds’, the other ‘venomous mountain’. Perhaps once you’ve given it a climb you will be able to make up your own mind as to which is more appropriate! Finding group accommodation can be tricky, so one option is to get two properties close to each other if you can’t find one that is big enough.
Stay close by: Druimarbin Farmhouse. Sleeps seven, two dogs welcome. And Coruanan Farmhouse. Sleeps 7, two dogs welcome. Both houses are set in totally private and tranquil locations a mile apart from each other. Druimarbin Farmhouse, with its mix of antique and country style modern furnishings, creates a lovely relaxed atmosphere. The focal point of the house is the large, charming drawing room with its big deep sofas, open log fire and stunning views across the loch to the hills beyond. Coruanan Farmhouse, offering magnificent views directly onto Ben Nevis itself, has been renovated to the highest standard and decorated with furnishings chosen to blend in well with its traditional surroundings.
The next time you are planning a break, ask yourself if you and your friends or family fancy joining the 6,000 Munro baggers for a trip to Scotland. If the answer is yes, then get a group together and plan a weekend to remember.
Stay in a holiday cottage in Scotland for a Munro-bagging trip of a lifetime…
We have everything from cosy bothies, stone cottages and glamping pods to traditional hunting lodges and magical castles. Everything is possible in the wilderness of Scotland. Browse our impressive collection of holiday homes and plan your next break today!