Climbing The Highest Peaks in the UK
The UK is not even close to having any of the highest peaks in the world, but it is still an absolutely superb place for climbing. Scottish Highlands, Lake District and Peak District holidays will not disappoint any traveling climber, but, if you’re planning a climbing trip to the UK, what exactly are the best and highest peaks to tackle in the UK?
As a matter of fact, the ten highest peaks in the UK are all in Scotland, so we’ll mix it up a bit and include the rest of the country so you’ve got more choice. We’ll start, though, with the highest peak in Scotland and the entire British Isles: Ben Nevis.
The Ben, as it is widely known, stands at nearly 4,500ft (4,409ft (1,344m) to be exact) above sea level in the Grampian Mountain range of the Scottish Highlands. It is one of the most frequently ascended mountains in Britain and features some truly exhilarating places for rock and ice climbing. In fact, its north face has some of the highest cliffs in the country, reaching a vertigo-inducing 2,300ft (700m), which prove to be most attractive aspect of Ben Nevis to climbers around the world.
Up next is Ben Macdui, which is the second highest mountain in the UK at just more than 100ft smaller than its parent peak, Ben Nevis, standing at 4,295ft (1,309m). The path to the summit of Ben Macdui is a long one, but the views from the summit will take your breath away more than the ascent and perhaps even more when you consider that the summit is supposed to be haunted by the Big Grey Man of Ben Macdui.
England’s highest peak goes by the name of Scafell Pike. It cuts into the natural skyline of the Lake District at 3,209ft (978m) above sea level. Along with Ben Nevis and Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike is part of the National Three Peaks Challenge, so if you manage to conquer all three on your trip to Britain, kudos to you. Scafell Pike is not to be confused with the separate peak known simply as Scafell, which is the second-highest peak in the Lake District at 3,162ft (965m).
Helvellyn is another fantastic climbing spot in the Lakes. You can even bring your tent and pitch up on the mountainside or at the water’s edge of Red Tarn, the lake that sits on the eastern flank of the mountain itself. Its peak is 3,117ft (950m) high, cementing its place as one of the best climbs in the UK. The Lake District can offer some of the best views in the world and especially from this height.
Snowdon rounds off our list and the National Three Peaks Challenge at 3,560ft (1,085m) high in the Welsh sky. If you take Scotland out of the equation, Snowdon is the highest peak in the UK. It’s a very busy mountain indeed, but there are many paths that lead to its summit. The name Snowdon literally means snow hill but, year on year as a result of climate change, there has been less and less snowfall on the mountainside. It is, without doubt, still one of the most difficult climbs in the UK.
- Written by James Hills
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