Scottish Highlands Big Mountain Walks II
Scottish Highlands Big Mountain Walks II
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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. 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. 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 Tarmachan Ridge – in our view the best walk in the Southern Highlands
- 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
- 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.
The Sharp Ridge
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 its 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.
8 miles/13.0km with 4,100 feet/1,250m of ascent
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.
8½ miles/13.5km with 3,000 feet/920m of ascent
Ben Nevis via Ledge Route
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 zigzags to a well earned drink in the Nevis Inn.
10 miles/16km with 4,900 feet/1,500m of ascent
Ben Cruachan Horseshoe
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.
8 miles/13km with 4,700 feet/1,450m of ascent
Ring of Steall
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 Sgorr 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.
7½ miles/12km with 5,550 feet/1,700m 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