UK 2021: Save up to £50 pp

Scottish Highlands Big Mountain Walks I

Ben Nevis from Corpach, Lochaber, Scotland
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Challenge Walks
Walking Grade: 6

Complete some of Scotland’s finest mountain ridges on this exciting holiday. These routes often follow strong features like an airy ridge, include a bit of scrambling to add interest, and finish on a pointy summit so you know you’ve "topped out". The “Big Mountain Walks I & II” holidays feature some absolute classics, all of which are must-do's for keen hillwalkers. And if you've done them before you know you'll never tire of this fine collection.

Holiday Highlights

  • Discover the dramatic scenery and history of the Scottish Highlands
  • Tackle some of Scotland’s finest ridge walks
  • Includes the CMD Arête – the connoisseurs’ route up Ben Nevis
  • Some exhilarating Grade I scrambling
  • Plus plenty of Munros, superb scenery and the ultimate bragging rights on completion of this challenge

What’s included

  • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, a full programme of walks with all transport to and from the walks, plus evening activities
  • Great walking: challenge yourself to tackle some of Scotland’s finest mountain walks, in the company of our experienced leaders
  • Accommodation: our country house is equipped with all the essentials – a welcoming bar and relaxing lounge area, a drying room for your boots and kit and an indoor swimming pool

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Total Ascent: 4,150 feet (1,280m)

This walk traverses the complete southern ridge of Glen Coe, which is largely hidden beyond the Three Sisters, and covers some impressive mountain terrain. A classic and strenuous walk on one of Scotland’s most complex and interesting mountains. We start by a steep ascent to gain the northern end of Beinn Fhada, the third Sister. We follow the ridge to a rock buttress which we ascend with a short section of Grade 1 scrambling on good holds, The Bad Step, and on over a narrow rocky ridge to gain the summit of our first Munro Stob Coire Sgreamhach. We head west along the rocky ridgeline to the twin summits of Bidean nam Bian, our second Munro and highest mountain in the area, and then on over Stob Coire nam Beith. From here we descend steeply back to the Glen and a well earned drink in the famous Clachaig Inn.


Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total Ascent: 3,300 feet (1,020m)

The south side of Glen Shiel presents an imposing ridgeline of seven Munros. This walk takes in two of the Munros; Aonach air Chrith and Maol Chinn-Dearg in a sporting round of the trembling ridges.

After crossing the valley bottom we have a steep ascent over rough terrain to gain A’Chioch and the start of the easy scrambling over its sharp summit crest. More scrambling (short sections of Grade 1) over the rocky connecting ridge (Druim a’ Ciche) to gain the main summit. We continue along the airy coire rim to our second summit from where we descend down Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach, the path becoming progressively easier as we descend.


Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total Ascent: 4,550 feet (1,400m)

The peaks of the Grey Corries provide the spectacular white ridgeline that can be seen to the south from Spean Bridge and give a very pleasant ridge-walk in a remote location. We start at the eastern end and ascend the grassy northern ridge to gain Stob Choire Claurigh - our first Munro. From here the narrow Grey Corries ridge is spread out before us with Ben Nevis providing a soaring backdrop. Undulating over a succession of tops and never dipping below 1020m the ridge provides such interest that the journey seems almost effortless. We pass over Stob Coire an Laoigh our second Munro and on to Stob Coire Easain where we turn north and follow a tributary ridge back to the forest and our starting point.


Distance: 11½ miles (18km)

Total Ascent: 4,850 feet (1480m)

Climbing Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain, should be on everyone’s bucket list and the Carn Mor Dearg Arête provides a magnificent route up. We start at the North Face carpark and make our way up onto the ridge leading up to Carn Mor Dearg, a Munro, from where we get views of the impressive north face of Ben Nevis. The ridge now narrows to form the famous CMD Arête. It is more of a clamber than a scramble but the slopes on either side are very steep. Eventually the arête merges into the side of Ben Nevis which we ascend steeply to join the crowds on the summit. Descent by the Pony Track leads us to a well-earned drink in the Nevis Inn.


Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total Ascent: 4,900 feet (1500m)

The bold peak of Ben Starav occupies a commanding position at the end of the beautiful Glen Etive. A steep ascent gives access to an exhilarating high-level ridge walk. From the Glen we ascend the north ridge which sweeps up directly to the summit of Ben Starav our first Munro. We head east along the sharp arête involving some easy scrambling to Stob Coire Dheirg. We then descend steeply to the Bealach before ascending again to Glas Bheinn Mhor, our second Munro, we continue along the ridge until a steep descent leads to the Allt Mheuran which we follow back down to the Glen.


Enjoy a final breakfast before making your way home. 


Situated in a stunning location on the shores of Loch Leven, Alltshellach is a stately Scottish house set amid a rugged landscape. The house is a picture of Highland solidity, with spectacular views of craggy mountains and grassy slopes beyond the loch. This pocket of domesticity lets you admire nature at your leisure though, sipping tea or G&T as you watch clouds scud across the sky. In fact, this one-time home of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles has been recast as a hiker’s hotel, with an air of old-world splendour, excellent accommodation, a generous indoor pool, three lounges and a supremely cosy Highland Bar that’s well-stocked with local beer and whisky, all of which is (almost) enough to distract you from the vast vistas over the waters. But it’s the great outdoors you’re here for and the house is ideally situated for accessing the Mamores, the mountains of Glen Coe and tackling Ben Nevis as well as bagging munros and spotting local wildlife.


Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas. You must wear a face covering by law in public areas in hotels in Scotland. This is mandatory in public spaces; however, face coverings will not be required whilst eating and drinking in the restaurant and bar areas or whilst you are outside our houses. In Wales face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings for the HF Big Pub Quiz. There will be one other evening of entertainment at the start of the week, which will vary depending on the country house that you are staying at. Our Walk Leaders will also be on hand in the bar or lounge for individual or small group walks talks briefings, which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options and ask any questions. All of our swimming pools are open, except for Glen Coe, which will not re-open this year. Swimming Pools will be operated in line with maximum capacities.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.


Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

There are 38 comfortable bedrooms, all in the main house, with a range of Classic, Premium and Superior room options to choose from. Rooms radiate cosiness thanks to little touches – a remedy for even the dreichest day. Those with a view are worth the extra spend, as you’ll be overlooking the gardens and loch. The Superior rooms include Room 21, a spacious corner room with lovely views of Loch Leven, while Room 23 is a stately showstopper that was once the official Bishop’s bedroom, complete with original features and cracking views.

All ‘Classic’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ and ‘Superior' Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger televisions – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply


Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive gardens, heated indoor swimming pool, multi-purpose ballroom, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring, return to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Stroll the gardens that dip down to the loch. The small peninsula at the bottom of the lawns is called An Dunan and often becomes an island at high tide – look for prehistoric rock art cut into the slabs on its side. Make time too to plunge into the heated indoor swimming pool (currently closed) and do a couple of lengths under the watchful eye of the mountains through the panoramic windows. Inside the house, head for one of the communal areas: you’ll have three to choose from and can kick back, relax and catch up with other guests. Later, stop in the Highland Bar for a nip of whisky or a nightcap – the comfy seats make a fine spot for a dram and there’s a range of good single malts to choose from that’ll have you believing you’re living a laird’s life.

Food & Drink

As at all of our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Alltshellach is full of Scottish flavours and focusses on locally sourced and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when you might be treated to Cullen Skink Soup and a trio of smoked salmon, mackerel pate and steamed mussels with Highland oat cakes, while mains may include Highland game and ‘Barlotto’, a type of nutty risotto made from barley instead of rice. Finish off with a spoonful of Iron Brew Ice, chocolate and marmalade mouse and Atholl brose, a luxurious blend of honey, whisky and carefully selected herbs for a flavour of the Highlands.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Alltshellach

10682_0005 - Alltshellach - Exterior

Getting to Alltshellach

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.


  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.


  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

7 nights
Challenge Walks
Walking Grade:

Fully Booked

UK 2021: Save up to £50 pp

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