Scottish Highlands Big Mountain Walks II

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Duration: 7 nights
Type: Adventure Walks
Walking Grade: 6

Complete some of Scotland’s finest mountain ridges on our specially devised holiday. This holiday was devised by HF Holidays leader Steve Woollard. Here’s what he says about the holiday: “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.”

Holiday Highlights

  • Discover the dramatic scenery and history of the Scottish Highlands
  • Tackle some of Scotland’s finest ridge walks
  • Includes the Tarmachan Ridge – in our view the best walk in the Southern Highlands
  • Some exhilarating Grade I scrambling
  • Plus some of the classics: Ring of Steall & the Ben Cruachan Horseshoe
  • In addition to plenty of Munros, superb scrambling 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: 8 miles (13km)

Total Ascent: 4,100 feet (1,250m) 

The unsung Munro of Mullach Fraoch-choire, hidden behind A’Chralaig, with its pinnacled south ridge – “the sharp ridge” deserves to be better known. The traverse of the two Munros gives an excellent route of many contrasts. We start at the end of Loch Cluanie, at the head of Glen Shiel and climb steeply to gain the broad south ridge of A’Chralaig which we follow to its summit. Things start to get more interesting as we continue north and pass over Stob Coire na Craliag. The ridge then turns east and narrows considerably, with the path along its crest descending to a Bealach, the ridge then turns north again and is broken by a series of pinnacles that can be climbed over or around, either way, it's very airy. After the pinnacles, the ridge rises to the fine pyramid summit of Mullach. From the summit we continue along the ridge a little further before dropping steeply off to the west into An Caorann Mor.


Distance: 8½ miles (13.5km)

Total Ascent: 3,000 feet (920m) 

Although not as big as some of the other walks the Tarmachan Ridge still provides a challenging and rewarding day and is probably the best ridge walk in the southern Highlands. We start by ascending a broad grassy ridge to an unnamed top, crossing a gap before ascending steeply up a rocky path to reach the main summit - Meall nan Tarmachan. From here we continue to the impressive Meall Garbh top. Now the fun starts, a short scrambly descent leads to a spectacular airy arête followed by another scrambly descent. The route continues over two more tops - Beinn nan Eachan and Creag na Caillich before descending to pick up a track which leads back to the start point.            


Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total Ascent: 4,900 feet (1,500m) 

Ledge Route is a truly magnificent expedition up Ben Nevis weaving its way through the North Face rock buttresses. The scrambling only reaches Grade 1 in a couple of places but the route still feels serious because of its length and situation. We start at the North Face carpark and follow a relatively gentle path to the CIC hut. From here we head up towards the imposing Carn Dearg buttress, skirting it on the left to gain Number Five Gully and the start of Ledge Route, which we follow to the summit of Carn Dearg, mostly on a good, but airy, path with a couple of short sections of easy scrambling. From the summit we cross the plateau to the summit of Ben Nevis and then descend by the Pony Track to a well earned drink in the Nevis Inn.


Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total Ascent: 4,700 feet (1,450m) 

Ben Cruachan is a superb multi-topped mountain cirque with spectacular rocky arêtes and is one of the classic mountain circuits of Scotland. We start by heading up to the Cruachan dam and then heading westwards to Meall Cuanail, our first summit. Next is the steep ascent up to the main peak. From here we follow the narrow, bouldery ridgeline, passing the scrambling obstacle nicknamed the “the granny stopper”, to the midpoint summit Drochaid Ghlas. The narrow ridge continues and we ascend steeply to Stob Diamh the second Munro. From here we follow the ridge south over Stob Garbh and head down to the start.


Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total Ascent: 5,550 feet (1,700m)

One of the classic Scottish “hard walks”, this route links the narrowest ridges of the Mamores, over four Munros, with several airy sections and easy scrambling, around the Steall waterfall. We start at the Lower Falls car park in Glen Nevis and ascend Sgurr a' Mhaim, our first Munro, then turning south we head across the airy Devil’s Ridge with a bit of scrambling over the tops of Stob a’Choire Mhail and Sgurr an Lubhair. We continue on over the Munros of Am Bodach and Stob Coire a'Chairn where the ridge narrows again to an exposed arête before reaching An Gearanach, our last Munro. But the day is not over, a steep descent leads us to the bottom of the Steall waterfall and beyond is the wire bridge which, for many, is the most heart-stopping moment of the day. Assuming you’ve managed to cross the wire bridge a pleasant walk down the Nevis gorge leads to our pick-up point.


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

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

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 have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. 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.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

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 ‘Good’, ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ 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 Best 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 ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ 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

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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

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Adventure Walks
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