Ben Nevis Tops Experts Ranking Of Best Mountains In The UK
A team of experts have rated Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands as the best mountain to climb in the UK. Keighley News reports that the 4,413ft peak was rated as ‘moderately’ difficult to climb. Second and third on the list were Snowdon (3,560ft) and Scafell Pike (3,209ft), which are respectively the highest mountains in Wales and England.
Ben Nevis has always drawn outdoor enthusiasts because of its special status as the highest mountain in the UK, and of course the breathtaking views that reward a hike to the summit. It’s also surprisingly accessible because of the various climbing routes you can take to the top.
The Mountain Path, also known as the Pony Track, is the easiest and most popular route. In good weather conditions, a reasonably fit person should be able to manage the trek to the summit and the descent in about eight hours.
For those wanting a bigger challenge, the Carn Mor Dearg Arête route is longer and more demanding. It has some steep rocky sections that require scrambling (the use of hands and feet). The ultimate challenges are the Ledge route and the Tower Ridge route on the North Face of the mountain. They require first class scrambling skills and a head for heights.
The other Scottish mountain in the top ten is Ben Macdui, which is in the same Grampian Range as Ben Nevis, is rated as ‘difficult’. It’s the second highest mountain in Scotland, measuring up at 4,296 ft, and it is quite exposed in sections, requiring excellent navigation skills especially in winter weather.
The experts also issued some top tips about staying safe on your mountain adventure. The first rule is perhaps the most important, especially if you are planning a hike in the Highlands of Scotland: always check the weather forecast.
The weather at high altitudes can change suddenly, and even if it feels balmy and calm when you set out, it is easy to get taken by surprise by cold, wet or windy conditions. Mist and fog are also a serious hazard that can leave walkers lost or even cause dangerous falls as they stray from paths.
Wintery conditions tend to arrive in Scotland earlier than in the rest of the UK, with snow and ice possibly arriving in mid November. If you have any doubts about your ability to handle the conditions, or if the weather suddenly deteriorates, it’s always best to stay safe and postpone your walk or turn back.
Having the correct gear is important too: you should wear sturdy comfortable boots with thick grippy soles and warm insulating layers of clothing. Carry plenty of water and a hot flask if the weather is cold, plus nourishing and high energy foods.
Always plan your route carefully and make sure you have a paper map to back up electronic navigation devices. Finally, always let someone else know where you are going and what time you are expected to get back.