Let’s find out what are the best mountain to climb in England. You cans also use the mountains for trail running, walking and mountain biking as well.
Best Mountains to Climb in England
Below is the list of best mountains to climb in uk for beginners. Some of the top peaks for trail runners, mountain bikers and for walking.
- Kinder Scout, Peak District
- Blencathra, Lake District
- Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons
- Ben Macdui,Cairngorms
- Tryfan, Snowdonia
- Ingleborough,Yorkshire Dales
- Blà Bheinn (Blaven), Skye
- Great Gable, Lake District
- Snowdon, Snowdonia
- Suilven Mountain, Sutherland
Kinder Scout, Peak District
Kinder may not look like a mountain, and at 2087ft it barely reaches mountain status by some criteria. But try coming up here and telling this vast upland of peat and grit that it isn’t a mountain. Kinder is a state of mind: a journey into the fragile habitats of the Dark Peak; a world of sphagnum moss, cotton grass and mountain hares.
Thanks to the Mass Trespass of 1932, it’s where our Right to Roam came from. And it’s a huge carbon capture facility, where Mama Nature is trying her best to undo our dirty work. Finally, it has views like the above. So say it loud: Kinder is not just a mountain. It’s a brilliant mountain.
Blencathra, Lake District
Blencathra is the mountain Norman Foster would design for you. Sleek lines, curving ridges, peculiar symmetry, repetition of forms. And for walkers, every kind of ascent route from moorland plod to thrilling arête.
The latter is Sharp Edge: the serrated, up-swept skyway that soars from Scales Tarn to summit saddle in 600 insane feet of ascent. Don’t fancy that? Try the climb from Threlkeld via Hall’s Fell: still thrilling, but minus the vertiginous horrors of its neighbour. Whichever of its myriad ascents you choose, Blencathra will never, ever disappoint.
Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons
The highest point in southern Britain (2607ft) is rightly a magnet for seekers after mountain magic. With its flowing green skirts, bright red sandstone footpaths and peculiar flat cap, Pen y Fan is the definitive Brecon Beacon, arresting the eye from any angle but especially from the A40 just west of Brecon.
Climb it from any base – from Cwmgwdi on the Brecon side, from the Neuadd Reservoirs to the south, or (the quick way) from Storey Arms to the west, and it yields a heady, pulse-pounding mountain experience – often in the company of many other appreciators.
It’s flanked by two acolytes, the near-identical Corn Du and the pointy-headed Cribyn, and any combination of the three will be a day to remember. The view from the summit covers some astronomical distances: on a clear day you can see everything from the Clee Hills in Shropshire to Flat Holm island in the Bristol Channel.
At a whopping 4295ft, Ben Macdui is Britain’s second tallest peak, beaten only by Ben Nevis. But Macdui is, for most walkers, a better experience than Nevis: instead of the continuous slog up the unforgiving Pony Track, Macdui is full of romance and intrigue. It hides away from easy sight in the heart of the Cairngorm plateau, so even getting to it requires a full-on adventure (usually by using Britain’s sixth highest peak, the more accessible Cairn Gorm, as your springboard).
Then there’s the drama: the abyss of Glen Avon to the north-east and the even bigger abyss of the Lairig Ghru to the west; six of Britain’s Big Seven ranged around you; and the wild camping hotspots of Loch Etchachan and the Shelter Stone. There’s folklore: look up the legendary Grey Man of Ben Macdui to add a spingetingling thrill to your ascent. And heritage: this is the mountain Queen Victoria climbed (although she sat on a pony most of the way). Macdui, then: second in feet and inches; unbeatable by all other criteria.
If a picture paints a thousand words, we should just shut up now and say ‘look at the picture on the left’. You don’t need us to tell you that Tryfan, rocketing out of the Ogwen Valley in 3010 ridiculous feet, is probably the most visually impressive mountain in the country, but we’ll say it anyway. And it’s a tough nut: every route of ascent requires the placing of hand on rock; every view is exposed and vertiginous.
If you’re looking for the least demanding ascent, follow the path from Ogwen Cottage up through Cwm Bochlwyd, turn left at Bwlch Tryfan and climb the south ridge to the top. Or seek out the Heather Terrace on Tryfan’s eastern flank (although don’t put too much stock in the genteel name – it’s still a rocky old trail). Either way you’ll still enjoy/endure one of the most thrilling/scary walks/ scrambles in the country. Many will be happy just to stand and stare at it. But those who climb it tend never to forget it. (Mostly, we hope, in a good way.)
With its double-drop nose and flat roof, this Yorkshire behemoth has one of the most distinctive silhouettes of any UK hill. But it’s not just about the visual impact. Consider the variety of ascents: from Ingleton via Crina Bottom (above); from Clapham via Trow Gill; from Chapel-le-Dale via the rocky chimney above Humphrey Bottom.
And consider the enticements: the vast pit which leads to the skylight of Gaping Gill, second largest cave chamber in Britain; the great bastions of The Arks and Black Shiver; the epic limestone pavement above Raven Scar. Many will climb Ingleborough as part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, but for all these reasons, Ingleborough is always worth climbing on its own merit.
Blà Bheinn (Blaven), Skye
Skye’s famed Cuillin Ridge is phenomenal, but being a jagged ridge of 3000ft peaks, it tends to discourage those who consider themselves walkers rather than scramblers. But to the rescue flies Blà Bheinn (‘blah-ven’, usually Anglicised to Blaven), which is a) climbable by the average fit, healthy walker and b) detached from the main ridge and therefore the very best place from which to stare at it.
Reached via a thrilling walk from the shore of Loch Slapin via Coire Uaighneich, its 3048ft summit has everything the main Cuillin ridge has (including the famous gabbro rock which has trained climbers and mountaineers for over a century) but in a deliciously do-able package – and the views to the Red Cuillin and across the sea to the Rum Cuillin are just as spectacular too.
Great Gable, Lake District
You can take six different photos of Great Gable, from different angles, and never think you’re looking at the same mountain twice. There’s this view – the one that earned Gable its proud place as the very emblem of the Lake District National Park; or the knobbly dome it presents westwards to Kirk Fell; or the great crag-faced arch in shows to Brandreth and Hay Stacks in the north.
And with that multitude of faces comes a throng of wonderful ascents, whether from Wasdale Head, Seathwaite (via the hidden hanging valley of Gillercomb), Black Sail or Honister. It’s a mountain of infinite variety, blessed with features to set the heart racing, such as the Napes (the crags seen beneath the summit on this photo), the view over Wast water from the Westmorland Cairn, and the mighty frontage of Gable Crag. Finding all the views, routes and secrets of Gable isn’t the job of one walk. It’s a project – and it’s one you’ll love.
Beautifully formed and higher than any other peak in Wales or England, 3560ft Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa) has a reasonably big claim to be the nation’s favourite mountain, certainly in terms of numbers. The train is mostly responsible for that of course, but there’s also its variety of routes to suit all abilities, chiefly including (though not exclusive to) the Llanberis Path, Pyg Track, Watkin Path, Miners’ Track, Rhyd Ddu, Snowdon Ranger, South Ridge and Crib Goch.
Whether you’re a mountain novice or a thrill seeking scrambler (or anything in between), Snowdon has at least one route for you. In fact the only reason it doesn’t make #1 in our list is that very popularity, which can be overwhelming for some tastes, especially in high summer. But let’s celebrate the fact that Snowdon is the mountain everyone wants to climb – and even better, that it tends to be the one everyone wants to come back to as well.
Suilven Mountain, Sutherland
You should not, of course, judge anything on looks alone. Humans, books, dogs, pubs, a loved one’s cooking. And mountains. Just because a mountain happens to look stunning and spectacular, that doesn’t necessarily make it a great mountain to climb. A great mountain should have nuance and intrigue; romance and drama; a story to tell. A sense of being something other than itself.Unless we’re talking about Suilven.
Don’t get me wrong: Suilven has all those other things and it has them in spades. But first and foremost, it is the best-looking mountain in the United Kingdom. You only have to look at a photo of Suilven to be bewitched by it. And if you happen to glimpse it for real, the effect is tenfold. There are loud mountains and quiet mountains, and Suilven roars.The clue’s in the name.
There are two common theories, but both work perfectly. One says it’s a mash-up of the Norse word ‘sul’ (meaning pillar) and the Gaelic ‘bhein’ (mountain). Pillar Mountain is just about spot-on. But then there’s the theory that it’s all Gaelic, using the word ‘suil’, meaning eye. Eye Mountain – because it catches the eye, whether you’re a road traveler glimpsing it over land, or a sailor looking for the safe port of Lochinver.
Suilven is one of a flotilla of free-standing mountains apparently cruising like battleships through the Inverpolly wilderness in the Assynt, far up in the north-west Highlands. The others – Canisp, Cùl Mòr, Cùl Beag, Quinag and Stac Pollaidh – are hardly less impressive, but Suilven is the flagship. The others are complex beasts with ridges and shoulders and corries. But Suilven?
Once you’ve glimpsed it, you could draw a picture of it straight away: the sheer sides, the sleek, bulbous dome, the prickly tail. It’s like the front end of a Boeing 747 spliced with the rear end of a dragon. The funny thing is, Suilven isn’t colossal. It just looks it because it rises out of such a vast, flattish wilderness. At 2398ft (731m) it doesn’t qualify as a Munro (a Scottish peak over 3000ft). It doesn’t even rival the Lake District biggies. In terms of really popular mountains, you have to go to Yorkshire for its best comparisons: it’s slightly higher than Ingleborough and slightly lower than Whernside.
And yet. It’s not about scale, it’s about sculpture. It’s also about remoteness: even on the shortest line of attack, it’s a five-mile walk just to get to the foot of Suilven from any road. And a five-mile walk back afterwards, unless you head for the famed Suileag bothy and hope there’s a bit of space for your sleeping bag.
Getting to Suilven is a journey in itself, more like a pilgrimage than a walk.Steepness is an issue, too – or at least, the perception of it. From any approach, and even from close up, its sides seem impossibly sheer and punishing. But it’s not quite as bad as it looks: on either side of its central saddle (Bealach Mòr, or the Grand Bealach), steep but perfectly accessible paths, stepped in places, zig-zag their way to the ridgeline, easily breaching those apparently impregnable defences.
If you’ve climbed Ingleborough via the steep chimney from Humphrey Bottom on the path from Chapel-le-Dale, there is nothing here to freak you out.And the final challenge of Suilven is the rare inadequacy of the Ordnance Survey map. Three footpaths that are perfectly clear on the ground, and well maintained by local volunteers, simply do not exist on the OS Explorer or Landranger map, leading to the common misconception that reaching and summiting Suilven will involve trackless bog-stomping and skilled rock climbing.
Neither is true.So yes, Suilven is a challenging walk that needs a full day, plenty of daylight, a lot of stamina, a good forecast and the right kit. But armed with all the above knowledge, you’ll soon realise it is not the inaccessible beast it might appear. The simplest approach – and the one that allows for either a planned or unplanned stopover at Suileag – is from the north-west.
This is where the last outpost of civilisation lies: the port-village of Lochinver, gateway to The Minch, and the last place to make full and enthusiastic use of carpets before the wilderness takes over.From Lochinver, a narrow lane winds eastwards towards Glencanisp Lodge, headquarters of the Inverpolly estate. The lodge offers B&B and self catering accommodation, making it the ideal launchpad for Suilven, if you can get a room (it books up months in advance for precisely that reason).
Anyone not staying at the lodge has to make an early start and drive to the small laybyon the lane a little way before the lodge. If you don’t get a space, you’re stuck with starting and finishing in Lochinver, adding an extra two miles to a jaunt that’s already a healthy twelve-miler. But from this point, the logistical hassles vanish.
From here a track the width of a Land Rover heads east into the Inverpolly wilderness; a four-mile undulation through humps and hillocks dotted with pools and lochans, with a river for company (the Abhainn na Clach Airigh) and Suilven ahead and to the right all the way. It’s a chance to appreciate where Suilven came from. It is a surviving fragment from a range of rocky ground that was worn down by glaciation and eventually crushed beneath the last British and Irish Ice Sheet.
Its layer cake of Torridonian sandstone on top of Lewisian Gneiss was tough enough to resist the crush, and as the glaciers retreated, the ice parted around the mountain, carving and scarring its sides as it went. Even the ice respected Suilven. There are only two branching paths along the track. The first goes left to the Suileag bothy; the second – in the fastness of a ravine between Lochan Buidhe and Loch na Gainimh – is the clear, sharp right-hander that leads to Suilven.
And this is where that little map issue creeps in. From here to the foot of Suilven – and right up to the Grand Bealach – the footpath could not possibly be clearer. But it’s not there on the map. Hopefully the OS will catch up with it on the next update, but until then, you must simply have faith that this is, indeed, the right path. Because it is.
Climbing a head wall that is in effect the first foothill of Suilven, the path then weaves between two lochans – Loch na Barrack and Loch a’ Choire Dubh – to arrive at the foot of the finest-built mountain in the country. It has been breathtaking all the way, but now it is simply eye-widening. Rarely will you see a hill that rises so instantly in front of you, sheer and unapologetic, unconcealed by shoulders or subsidiary summits. You know the old phrase ‘because it’s there’?
Well, some mountains are more there than others, and this is one of ’em.And now, the up. After a five-and-a-half-mile leg-stretcher, you’re about as ready as you’ll ever be for the stiff, sharp climb to the bealach. It’s well trodden, with stepped sections to assist your progress and help prevent erosion. So with some huff and puff and a tailwind, you might go from lochan to bealach in half an hour.What happens next is hard to describe. All day so far you’ve had more or less the same scenery.
Suilven, Canisp, and the great flat of Inverpolly. But at the bealach, the rest of the world, previously hidden behind Suilven, appears instantly. Stac Pollaidh, Cùl Mòr, Cùl Beag, Ben More Coigach, soaring above another seemingly endless wild, watery plain, with the sea off to the west. From here, there’s a choice of destination, for Suilven has two primary summits. The path to the left leads to Meall Meadhonach (‘the middle round hill’), which is the jagged spike on the dragon’s tail.
Visually it’s the more impressive peak, but its summit cone is for serious scramblers only. And at 2372ft, it’s 26ft lower than Suilven’s highest point: the peak to the right, Caisteal Liath, or the grey castle. So that’s where we suggest you go.The path to Caisteal Liath draws many comparisons; Tolkienesque is a word often used. It’s a dramatic climb through a succession of rocky bastions with a passing resemblance to the black spires of Mordor. But it’s never terrifying, just thrilling.
You might need to put hand on rock at a couple of steps, but for the most part it’s a walk, not a scramble. And you’ll be having such a fine time that it’s a surprise – albeit a very pleasant one – when the ground levels out onto a grassy dome and a large cairn ahead marks the summit of Suilven.And here you are. For at least three hours, your every step has been bringing you closer to this place and this moment; it carries a gravity and sense of accomplishment that few other mountains on our islands can offer.
Suilven is yours.Not just Suilven, but everything in Inverpolly feels like yours, too. Almost all the surrounding peaks are higher (only Stac Pollaidh is lower) and yet Suilven is definitely the king of this wilderness. But that’s no reason not to look across at Canisp, Quinag and the rest and think: ‘right, I’m coming for you.’ Suilven should be your introduction to the Inverpolly giants, not a hail and farewell.At this point, you are faced with the idea of retracing every single step you’ve taken today.
In normal circumstances, that might be a prospect to make the heart sink, but not here. This place is so precious, so alien, that walking back through it will feel like a continuation of the experience, not a repetition. You may even find that the sense of achievement acts like the fabled beer scooter – that slight sense of intoxication that means the journey home passes by in a blur of delirium. A detour to gawp at Meall Meadhonach is recommended if the clock is on your side, as is a visit to the Suileag bothy even if you don’t plan on staying the night. The bothy is such a key part of Suilven’s legend that it’s a shame to miss it.
Whilst there you can peruse the visitors’ book and contemplate the famous toilet facilities (a shovel). You can also read a book detailing the Assynt Foundation’s purchase of Suilven and its neighbours in 2005 and their subsequent endeavours to conserve and nurture this fragile environment for both wildlife and wanderers.The final miles whistle by, and as the colours start to fade from the day, you’ll be back at Glencanisp Lodge. Pop into the little ‘honesty shop’ to treat yourself and slip a pound or five to the good folk of the Assynt Foundation.You’ll have neck-ache by this point.
It doesn’t matter that you could see Suilven in front of you all the way in; you will still have been turning round to look at it on the return journey. Its shape is addictive, and you’ll eternally be desperate for that one last hit. It might actually look even more sensational now you know you’ve been to the top. There are hundreds of fantastic mountains around our nation; you’ve just seen ten of them.
But is there any argument against Suilven being the finest of them all? Well yes, of course there is, because these things are subjective and personal; that’s the joy of mountains. You may be a sucker for Snowdon or besotted with Blencathra, and that’s fine by us. But come here, try this, and at least some part of your soul will always belong to Suilven.