Let's Get Readyyyy to Ramble!
Climb every mountain, or so goes the song. But we're all busy people, so I think it's best to narrow it down to a select few. Now that the sun is starting to shine, and we're allowed to travel a bit further afield, I've put together a list of 15 must-do walks in the UK. Let me know if you think I've missed out a corker!
As always, make sure you've got the right gear for the day including a map and compass, and tell someone where you're going before you head out. It's better to read this info from Mountain Rescue than it is to have to call them out.
I've included a link for the map that you'll need for each walk, and if you use the code 3MAPS when you buy online at Ordnance Survey, you can get three maps for £20 - a 25% saving :)
1. Kinder Scout from Hayfield, 13km, ^636m
I've started the list with Kinder Scout because it's arguably where rambling got 'official'. When you see a cluster of Berghaus jackets in the Peak District you don't usually think of revolutionaries willingly breaking the law, but The Mass Trespass in 1932 was just that. Following the route today is generally a quieter affair, with strong winds or struggles for a parking space likely to be the main challenges. The only downside to this route is that the summit is a plateau rather than a classic mountain peak, but the view and the variety of the route make this a great walk.
Stay at: Hayfield C&C Club (Literally located at start and finish of the route!)
2. Scafell Pike, 12.5km, ^977m
Of course, this list is going to include the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales. England’s highest peak is achievable for most walkers and offers some great views (in the right weather). Whilst the summit is achievable for anyone with a decent level of fitness, it is absolutely possible to get lost and aim for the wrong summit. This route takes in a little gill scramble, great views, and just happens to end at the pub.
3. Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa, 12km, ^1085m
Everyone knows Wales’ famous mountain, as it has something to suit all tastes, from the rocky scramble of Grib Goch, to the relative luxury of the train. Unfortunately its popularity can also be a bit of a curse, leading to infamous scenes of queues at the summit, litter on the paths, and unnecessary mountain rescues. But get this mountain on the right day and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views, and a real sense of satisfaction. My favourite route takes in the Miners and the Pyg Tracks, giving a challenging walk with plenty of variety.
Map: OL17 Snowdon
4. Ben Nevis, 19km, ^1345m
If you're going to tackle the UK's highest mountain, this route is a winner. Featuring a classic ridge walk and a bit of scrambling, just to add some excitement. Ben Nevis dominates the view, so you'll get a real appreciation of the task at hand! Well, as long as you get good weather. Remember, there can be snow and mist up there whatever the season, so make sure you're well prepared. Once you make it to the summit though, you'll be 100 metres higher than the other summits around you, and (hopefully) rewarded with stunning views accordingly.
Route: Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg
Stay at: Red Squirrel Campsite (The original quirky campsite)
5. Coniston Old Man, 10km, ^799m
This route takes you along the banks of Goats Water, but you can add in the dramatic looking Dow Crag if you prefer. I love Coniston Old Man because it's just so convenient. You can run up and down 'the front' from the car park on Walna Scar Road in a morning, or you can head further afield and take in Levers Water and Great How if your legs need more of a stretch. This route gives you the variety of lakeside paths, abandoned mine workings, and stunning views back down to Coniston, where you should just be able to make out the pub.
Route: Old Man of Coniston
Stay at: Moss Side Farm (Share the space with the farm hens)
6. Moel Siabod, 12km, ^872m
The Daear Ddu route up Moel Siabod offers just the right amount of scrambling...enough to make the walk interesting, but you never quite think you're about to die (which for me tends to spoil a good walk). The setting of Moel Siabod provides you with 360º views from the summit. There's a great spot for a picnic by the disused quarry (it's more picturesque than it sounds) and great views across to The Glyders on your way back down.
Route: Moel Siabod via Daear Ddu
Map: OL17 Snowdon
Stay at: Pant Y Rhedyn (Tents or glamping only, and very friendly pigs and llamas!)
7. Pen Y Ghent, 10km, ^694m
If you can only do one of the Yorkshire three peaks (Pen Y Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside), then I'd suggest this one. And then I'd suggest you come back and do the other two.
Starting in Horton in Ribblesdale, you'll have great views of the summit, and the route is clear and well-signed throughout, including a stretch of The Pennine Way. There's a stone shelter at the top which (if you're lucky enough to find a space) will provide a perfect lunch spot. You'll probably be sharing the path with a few others, but the surroundings are spectacular so it's hardly surprising.
Stay at: Meadow Falls (Friendly, helpful owners, great pods perfect sized site)
8. Helvellyn, 12km, ^950m
I've been lucky enough to be treated to some incredible weather and views on Helvellyn. I've also had some awful weather, and yet somehow it's still up there as one of my favourites. Striding Edge isn't for the faint-hearted, but once you've mastered a little bit of scrambling you're treated to a wide plateau along to the summit, which gives you a great view of the dramatic ridge you've just traversed. The good thing is that if the weather does turn (or if your stomach does) then there are plenty of alternative routes that will feel a bit safer if you prefer.
Route: Helvellyn via Striding Edge
Stay at: Sykeside at Brothers Water (A great setting, with a great pub on site)
9. Slieve Donard via Hares Gap, 16km, ^853m
Okay, so I'll hold my hands up - I haven't done this one (yet), so I've had to borrow some photos from @chrischarlton over on Insta who lives a lot closer to The Mournes than I do. This route will give you some of the most spectacular Mourne scenery, and you'll also get to 'bag' three other summits on the way round. From the top you'll (hopefully) be treated to views across to Tollymore Forest Park, the Irish Sea, and on a really clear day you could even see Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Route: Slieve Donard via Hares Gap
Stay at: Mourne Campsite (Small family run site between the mountains and the sea)
10. Pen Y Fan, 16km,^886m
The Brecon Beacons dominate the landscape in this part of the world, and whilst you can of course enjoy the view from the bottom, but the views from the ridge are spectacular. It's a long and challenging walk up to the top, but the views from the Craig Fan Ddu ridge and into the glacial valley below are well worth the effort.
Route: Brecon Beacons Horseshoe
Stay at: 68 Degrees West (2 miles from Brecon with views of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons)
11. Try fan, 9km ,^917m
This circular route visits the iconic Snowdonian summits of Tryfan, Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr in one stunning mountain route that mixes walking and scrambling. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Don’t try this route unless you’re comfortable with a bit of exposed and rocky terrain. After all, Tryfan is known for being the only mountain on mainland Britain that you can’t reach the summit of without using your hands! The reward here isn’t just the views across to Snowdon, but getting an Instagram-winning shot of yourself jumping between ‘Adam and Eve’!
Route: Tryfan and the Glyders
Map: OL17 Snowdon
Stay at: Gwern Gof Isaf (Camping in view of Try Fan for the last 115 years!)
12. Cnicht, 10km, ^689m
You might be getting the idea by this point that I really love this part of the world. And who wouldn't? Wales, and particularly the Snowdonia National Park never disappoint. If you want to get away from some of the crowds, Cnicht is a great hill for a change of scene. From a distance it looks like a mountain that’s been drawn by a child (or me, admittedly), but up close its far less effort than some of its taller neighbours. With a smidge of optional scrambling and a couple of enchanting lakes, you get just as much of the drama, but far fewer people!
Map: OL17 Snowdon
Stay at: Camping in the Forest, Beddgelert (Quiet, secluded camping surrounded by trees)
13. Ben Macdui, 17.5km, ^1309m
This route was recommended by South Manchester Campers although I've not got round to doing this one myself yet. I'm told that it's the second highest peak in Great Britain, so a long walk with a lot of 'up'. You'll be rewarded with great views, just avoid Midge season (June to September) or you'll end up with a mouthful of bugs when you're gawping!
Stay at: Rothiemurchus Campsite (Camping in the gateway to the Cairngorms)
14. Moel Famau? 6km ^554m ( for drivers)
This route was recommended because "you can drive most of the way". Well, not every walk has to be a marathon does it? Sometimes it's about the effort : reward ratio, and this little hill delivers in spades.
Route: Moel Famau The Easy Way
Map: OL265 Clwydian Range
Stay at: Llyn Rhys (Perfect base for walking and biking, just over an hour from Manchester)
15. Bidean nam Bian and The Lost Valley, Glencoe, 11km, ^1150m
Thanks again to Bryan at South Manchester Campers for the photo and the recommendation! This route through the range of mountains on the south side of Glencoe is a challenging but rewarding hike. Don't be fooled by the relatively short distance - this is a hike and a half, with mild scrambling, steep scree, and snow throughout most of the year. You'll get awesome views from the top, and then a pleasant walk through the 'Lost Valley' as you walk back towards the car park.
Route: Bidean Nam Bian Circuit
Stay at: Red Squirrel Campsite (Plenty of space, and next to a great pub too)
You can see all these campsites and about 80 more on this map - they're all sites that I've stayed at or have been highly recommended by customers. Please feel free to suggest any that you think should be added. I can also really recommend the Ordnance Survey app. For the price of two maps, it's great for planning your own routes, or following any of the ones already on there.
Thanks for reading, Nick 😄 🚌
I've personally chosen the items to include in my blog - I haven't been paid or given free stuff! However, I may earn a small referral fee if you buy something through one of the above links, but this doesn't affect the products I include or the price you pay. Thanks!