Scottish Highlands Big Mountain Walks I
Traverse some of Scotland’s finest mountain ridges
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Choosing the level of your walks
Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Complete some of Scotland’s finest mountain ridges on our specially devised holiday. The trekking routes on this holiday were put together by HF Holidays leader Steve Woollard. Here’s what he says about how he chose the itinerary:
“Guests often ask me which is my favourite mountain in Scotland, a tough question to answer as there are so many to choose from! I like routes that follow strong features like an airy ridge, include a bit of scrambling to add interest, and finish on a pointed summit so you know you’ve got to the top. The “Big Mountain Walks I & II” holidays are my top ten mountain routes in the West Highlands. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you”.
A high level of fitness and stamina is required. You should be an experienced mountain walker, comfortable with heights, some easy scrambling, and long, strenuous walks on difficult mountain terrain.
- Share Steve’s favourite routes with him and tackle some of Scotland’s finest ridge walks
- Includes the CMD Arete – 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
- 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
Alltshellach is a fine highland residence, situated on the dramatic shores of Loch Leven. With magnificent mountain views, excellent accommodation and a superb indoor pool, it's extremely popular with all outdoor enthusiasts.
Alltshellach has 37 bedrooms, all located in the main building. Many of the rooms enjoy excellent views of the loch and the surrounding mountains.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued on request
- A small fridge is available for storing medication Good signage for fire escape routes
- One bedroom key issued per room (second key available on request)
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff has had disability awareness training
The nature of these routes means that the days will be long and strenuous with considerable steep ascents and descents over rough ground, bogs and streams, and will include easy scrambling up to Grade 1. The routes also involve moving along narrow airy ridges and walking above steep slopes where a slip could have serious consequences.
It is essential that you have previous experience of mountain walking in the UK over rough terrain (including scrambling) and have a good head for heights.
Scrambling is the link between hill walking and rock climbing with the use of hands on the rock to assist progress. We will only be doing easy scrambling (up to Grade 1) which requires no special mountaineering skills or equipment and which should be within the capability of any adventurous and experienced hill walker. Examples of comparable Grade 1 scrambles are Crib Goch in North Wales and Sharp Edge in the Lake District.
This programme may be varied during the week to suit the weather and the conditions of the routes.
Bidean nam Bian Greater Horseshoe
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.
6 miles/ 9.5km with 4,150feet/1,280m of ascent
The Trembling Ridges
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.
6½ miles/ 10.5km with 3,300feet/1,020m of ascent
Grey Corries Ridge
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.
10 miles/16km with 4,550feet/1,400m of ascent
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 zigzags leads us to a well earned drink in the Nevis Inn.
11½ miles/18km with 4,850feet/1480m of ascent
Ben Starav High Ridge
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.
10 miles/16.0km with 4,900feet/1500m of ascent
The cost of all transport to and from the walks is included in the price of your holiday. Some of the days involve long coach journeys of up to 1½ hours each way, therefore we will be leaving early and getting back late.
Discover the Highlands
Alltshellach is situated beside the shores of Loch Leven. This is a spectacular location with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.
About 2 miles away, across the loch is the village of Ballachulish. Here you’ll find a post office, food store and bank. A much wider range of facilities can be found in Fort William, about 14 miles to the north.
As the adventure capital of Britain, the Lochaber region is a popular destination for all outdoor enthusiasts. During your stay in Glen Coe you may enjoy visiting the following activities and places of interest:
Jacobite Steam Train
Ride the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig. This stunningly scenic line includes the famous Glenfinnan viaduct, featured in the Harry Potter films. Steam trains run every day and early booking is reccomended. www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite
Isle of Mull
Reached by car ferry from Oban, or Lochaline, Mull is one of the most popular Scottish islands. You could visit the colourful harbour at Tobermory or the abbey on Iona. www.calmac.co.uk/mull
Isle of Lismore
The peaceful island of Lismore is ideal for a relaxed exploration. You can hire bikes at Port Appin, about 30 minutes' drive south of Alltshellach, then take the short ferry crossing to the island.
The bustling harbour town of Oban, about 45 minutes' drive south of Alltshellach, is a popular destination. There's always plenty of activity around the harbour and its well worth the walk up to McCaig's Tower, a remarkable folly built in the style of a Roman ampitheatre, with commanding views over the town.
Eilean Donan Castle
Nearly 80 miles drive north from Alltshellach is this romantic and much photographed Scottish lochside castle. Located on a small island just offshore, the castle is isolated by the sea at high tide, only accessible via a stone bridge. www.eileandonancastle.com
Try your hand at ice climbing on the indoor wall at nearby Kinlochleven. www.ice-factor.co.uk
Travel to Glen Coe
Our address is: Alltshellach, Onich, Fort William, Invernesshire PH33 6SA
The nearest station is in Fort William, however most guests travel to Glasgow then catch our transfer coach. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
Many guests opt to fly to Glasgow Airport, then join our transfer coach to Glen Coe.
Glasgow to Glen Coe transfer
We offer a coach transfer between Glasgow Buchannan bus station**, Glasgow airport and Alltshellach every Saturday. The transfer is £32 return and £21 for a single trip, but a place must be reserved at least 14 days in advance by calling our Reservations team on 020 8732 1220.
On arrival days our coach leaves Glasgow Buchanan Street bus station at 4.15pm, or Glasgow airport at 4.45pm. We will arrive at Alltshellach at 7pm which is in time for dinner on your first evening.
On departure day the transfer will get you back to Glasgow Airport by 11.30am and to Buchanan Street bus station by 12.00 noon.
** Buchanan Street bus station is about 15 mins walk from Glasgow central station (frequent buses are available) or 5 minutes walk from Glasgow Queen Street station.
If you are not travelling on a Saturday, the journey from either Glasgow Buchanan Street or the airport can be made using the Scottish Citylink bus, numbers 914 or 915. See www.citylink.co.uk for the timetable. Ask the driver to stop at the north side of Ballachulish Bridge - from here it is a 400 metre walk to Alltshellach.
From Glasgow take the A82 towards Crianlarich. Continue on the A82 towards Fort William. Head for Ballachulish keeping the village on your left. Go straight on at the roundabout over the steel bridge and take the second right B863 to Kinlochleven and the seafood restaurant. Alltshellach is 400 yards further on, on your right.
Travelling from overseas
Ideally book a flight to Glasgow Airport. From here you can join our coach transfer to Alltshellach (see above).
The next best option is to fly to Manchester Airport, which has a better range of long-haul flights. There are trains from the airport to Glasgow (some direct, others need 1 change). Allow 4 hours to get to Glasgow, then join our coach transfer to Alltshellach. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
There are also flights to Edinburgh with a train transfer to Glasgow.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person