A Scottish Highlands trek: “Legendary hiking, with walk-up climbing ascent of Ben Nevis.”
The Scottish Highlands are legendary, not least because they are among “least-populated areas in Europe,” says Mountain Madness, and “much of the region is uninhabited except for scattered farms and villages.”
The highlands in fact, are stunning — with rolling hills, scalable mountains, verdant glens and valleys, navigational streams and river. Indeed, they are a trekker’s delight! Famed Ben Nevis of Scotland is actually the highest peak in Britain, and is included in this tour. This is typically a summer/early fall trip, for weather and environmental reasons.
Days 1-2 | Arrive and overnight in Inverness. Free time to explore.
Day 3 | Travel to the West Highlands, go for a spectacular two-hour trek (about 3.5 km/185-metre elevation gain). Overnight at Edencoille, Kinlochleven.
Day 4 | The Devil’s Staircase. You will hike a stage of the famous West Highland Way trekking route, trekking the most challenging stage and crossing the high point of the route, a pass known as the Devil’s Staircase. About 14 km/500-metre elevation gain, approx. 5 hours. Overnight: Edencoille, Kinlochleven.
Day 5 | Ben Nevis. A transfer north takes you to Torlundy. This is the “true” starting point for a hike up Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. It may only be 1,345 metres high, but starting from sea level makes it challenging. Later have a pint with your fellow trekkers at the Ben Nevis Inn. A 17.5-km/1,506-metre elevation trek, about 10 hours. Overnight: Edencoille, Kinlochleven.
Day 6 | Glencoe’s Peaks. Hike in Glencoe itself, with several mountains to choose from, like Buachaille Etive Mor or Bidean nam Bian. Afterwards enjoy a beer, dinner and maybe live music at the Boots Bar at the Clachaig Inn at Glencoe. Approx. 14 km/1,000-metre elevation hike, about 6–8 hours. Overnight: Edencoille, Kinlochleven.
Day 7 | Kintail. Head northwest to the region of Torridon, which has many of Scotland’s iconic peaks, including the Five Sisters of Kintail — highlights include a four-hour hike and a stop at Eilean Donan Castle. Approx. a 7-km/700-metre elevation hike, about 4 hours. Overnight: Tigh An Eilean, Sheildaig.
Day 8 | Enjoy a bit-of-respite-day with an easier trek — there are various options for easier, more laidback hikes in the region of Torridon. A guide will discuss options (including Ben Damph and Beinn Alligin) with your group. Overnight: Tigh An Eilean, Sheildaig.
Day 9 | Loch Clair. Your last day sees an an easier hike — the circuit of Loch Clair. Then you head to Inverness, the Scottish Highlands unofficial capital, arriving about mid-afternoon, then enjoy a farewell dinner with your group. Overnight in Inverness.
Day 10 | Depart Inverness, fly home.
Scotland Highlands Trek | MOUNTAIN MADNESS
Phone: 800.328.5925 | [email protected]
Length/Departs: 10 days; contact Mountain Madness for current departs on offer (if interested, ask about custom dates).
Accommodation: Cozy inns and pubs.
Price: Check with operator for current pricing (website displays US dollars)
Difficulty/physical prep: Intermediate. This trip involves anywhere from 5 to 8 hours a day of trekking, with elevation gains of about 1,000-2,000+ feet (305-610+ meters) a day, and with multiple days of trekking. Mountain Madness recommends that as a guideline, you should be in good physical shape and doing about four one-hour workouts per week before the trip. Also, you should include in your prep routine (a few times) hiking with a small pack for several hours, with altitude gain if possible. We recommend you ask more about this from Mountain Madness.