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Hillwalking

Some basic information on hillwalking in Scotland

This area of the SMC site describes the general features of the hillwalking areas of this small but beautiful country. These areas correspond to the District Guides published by the SMC, details of which are easily found on other pages on this site (see map below). We cannot possibly answer individual queries on walks, routes, holidays etc., but using these pages and making the effort to read a little and the appropriate guidebook will be found.

An innovation in recent years is Hillphones, which provides the numbers to use to find out the latest information on deer stalking in the main areas. Hillphones is a telephone answer-machine service aimed at providing hillwalkers and climbers with information about the location of deer stalks in parts of the Scottish Highlands. The aim of the service is to reduce conflict and enable the two activities to co-exist on the same mountains at the same time.

For current contact details go to:

http://www.snh.org.uk/hillphones/

Take a wrinkle of hills, add a shower of rain. Blast regularly with a piercing wind, cover now and again with a soft blanket of snow. Thaw, melt, wave sunlight weakly for an hour or two, and start all over again and you have hillwalking in Scotland.

It's never easy to become bored, the ever-changing weather sees to that, while the shifting light means that no view is the same two hours running. The scale lends itself to anything from a morning stroll above the nearest town or village, to a full day's walk, to a week's expedition. There are hills lit by city lights at night, and ranges as remote as you could ever imagine in such a tiny country. It's beautiful, glorious, hardworking, frustrating and rewarding. It's hillwalking in Scotland.

You will share the moors and mountains with the red deer. If you walk quietly other animals will be seen and heard. You never, ever, forget your first Golden Eagle. You'll make human friends too, sometimes for life. You don't have to join a club, though many do. It's good to have company and support, especially for your first expeditions.

The hillwalking pages here should give you a sound basis for walking in Scotland, but it is an individual and independent pursuit. This site has a basic Glossary defining common items of gear etc. Many of the ways up Scottish hills will not be marked, which is where a good guidebook helps.

It is essential to be properly clothed and equipped, and also have the ability to use a map and compass. The preceding sentence cannot be emphasised enough. Once you have gained this knowledge, you may wish to add a GPS unit to your equipment list. We provide GPS waypoint files for all our mountain routes.

We also provide free contour map files for GPS units with sufficient memory. These provide a useful extra visual guide on your GPS screen. In winter, conditions on the Scottish hills can be quite literally Arctic in severity. Never underestimate the hills. Judging the weather, snow conditions and other variables is a skill which takes practice. A good report on these can help, but on the walk the decisions are yours. Stay fit, stay observant, and a lifetime of enjoying the mountains will be yours.

Through the Scottish Mountaineering Trust we provide some funding for Mountan Rescue in Scotland. You can also give directly to Scottish Mountain Rescue. The charity Mountain Aid aims to help to improve the quality of life of anyone permanently injured on the Scottish hills.

 
The SMC District Guides divide the Scottish hill areas conveniently into six main areas, each with its own guidebook. These areas are shown on the interactive map below. They are profusely illustrated including sketch maps and are regularly updated. Essential books for the active hillwalker and surprisingly useful for climbers and casual visitors alike. Click on the relevant area for more information, and on the icons below for guide bibliography & ordering details. The Editor for Hillwalkers' Guides is Rab Anderson.

Map

Please see our Publications pages for more information




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