New to Munro bagging and not sure where to begin? We felt just the same when we began our Munro bagging journey. Knowing where to begin can be a daunting thought. We have put together a list of 10 of the easiest Munros to get you started.
What is a Munro?
A Munro is classified as a Scottish mountain over 3000 ft, and there are 282 of them in Scotland.
We have picked Munros that have straight forward paths to follow with very little scrambling involved, however a reasonable fitness level is still required for any mountain of this height. We highly recommend that you take a compass and map. It is also useful to download the OS map (this works without signal) and the route onto your phone before you go. We use the Walkhighlands website as it provides comprehensive routes of all the Munros for free. Always have a back-up paper copy of your map though and learn at least basic navigation skills.
Phones can break, batteries can drain, and heavy rain or snow can leave a touchscreen useless. Make sure you are prepared for the weather (waterproofs, gloves, sunscreen etc). We have experienced all weathers in the one day and it can change quickly when you are out there. Wear waterproof shoes/boots! There is nothing worse than soggy feet during a day of hiking!
If you want to get an idea of the weather forecast before you set out I recommend using the Met Office mountain forecast site.
With all that in mind here are our suggestions
This Munro is the closest to Glasgow which makes it one of the most visited Munros in Scotland. This was my first Munro and many people choose it as their first. There is a large pay and display car park at Rowardennan, but it can get full quick quickly so it’s best to arrive as early as possible to get a parking spot. It has toilets and an information centre and behind this there is a sign for the start of the walk. Do not confuse this with the sign for the West Highland Way path.
Ben Lomond is 974 metres high, with a good path, and when you reach the top you are rewarded with excellent views of Loch Lomond and its islands. There is a trig point at the top which you are meant to touch to say you have truly bagged that Munro. The easiest route back is to retrace your footsteps and return down the same path however there is a slightly more difficult path you can use to descend if you choose to do so. I came down the same path as it was my first Munro and I wanted to keep it straight forward until I gained a bit more experience. It took 5 hours from start to finish.
Means ‘The fairy hill of the Caledonians.’ Schiehallion has a distinctive pointy cone shaped peak that is clearly visible from far away. The walk starts from the Braes of Foss Car Park (£2 parking fee) and follows an excellent path which is maintained by the John Muir Trust. There are toilet facilities available here and some information boards. You follow the straightforward path up the hill, passing some old tumbledown sheepfanks with excellent views the full way.
The excellent path continues right onto the top of the ridge before the last section takes you across a boulder field. There are numerous cairns along the ridge but keep going as the true summit is further than you might initially think. The summit barely has a cairn but it is obvious on a clear day and provides views across Rannoch Moor to the peaks of Glencoe. You are best to return the same way you ascended until you reach the carpark at the bottom. The walk there and back took us just under 5 hours.
Interesting fact – Schehallion was used in a very famous 18th century experiment to estimate the weight of the earth.
3. Ben Hope
This is Scotland’s most Northerly Munro. Ben Hope is one of my favourite Munros. It has some of the most spectacular panoramic views. It starts at a small parking area in Strathmore (free to park). The start of the walk is sign posted here. It follows a path up a stream with many waterfalls and pools on the way. It can be steep and rocky in places but it’s generally a good path the whole way. Watch out for the horse flies, they got me many times on the way up, and their bites hurt!!
The trig at the top marks the peak at 927 metre. This is the highest point on the North Coast of Scotland. The views all around and out towards the sea are just incredible. Returning the same way is the best way to get back. The walk took us 6 hours, but we spent 45 minutes at the top to savour the views.
4. Ben Wyvis
Is the closest Munro to Inverness and is also a natural nature reserve due to the rare plants that grow here. You can park at the Ben Wyvis car park (no charge). It can often be full as this is an extremely popular hike with locals. Try arriving as early as possible to avoid disappointment. It has a very good path through forestry to start that continues up a steep zig zag path to reach the top of An Cabar. Some people mistakenly believe this is the summit, but from here it is fairly level going along the ridge until you reach the true trig point at 1046 metres.
The ridge of Ben Wyvis is extremely exposed due to the mountain’s solitary nature. It can get very windy and cold at the top, so be prepared! Both coasts of Scotland are visible on a clear day and views in all directions are tremendous. Return the same way using the path. It took us 6 hours to complete but we hiked it in winter and our faces literally nearly froze off as the icy wind battered us on the ridge. In summer I think it would take around 5 hours.
5. Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers
This route is great if you want to bag two Munro’s in one go. You get a great head-start as the beginning of the route is already 400m above sea level. Even though Ben Lawers is in the top 10 highest mountains in Britain it is not as hard as you might think to get to the top, mainly due to the height the walk begins at. A bonus is that on the way to its summit you get to bag its smaller neighbour Beinn Ghlas. These two mountains are located a short distance from the village of Killin.
Ben Lawers has a good-sized car park (£3 parking fee for the day). The site is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and there are excellent paths up both Munros. From the car park follow the path to the first summit Beinn Ghlas. It’s a substantial Munro at 1103 metres high. You then descend a little from Beinn Ghlas and continue along a grassy ridge before making the ascent up to Ben Lawyers Summit which is marked with trig point at 1214 metres. The views are from here are wonderful. You return to the ridge, then take a right down a path back to the car park. This path avoids having to reclimb Beinn Ghlas and gives a gentle decent back to the starting point. It took us 5 hours to walk both of these Munros.
6. Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)
Not to be confused with the other Ben Vorlich at Loch Lomond. There are actually quite a few Munros with the same name so it can be a bit confusing at first. The start point for this Munro is Ardvorlich and there is some verge parking near the start. It has a good path and an enjoyable walk to the summit which provides an excellent viewpoint for much of central Scotland. A trig point marks its 985 metre summit. From a distance Ben Vorlich and its neighbour Stuc a’Chroin look like twins but this is not the case, Stuc a’Chroin is a much more difficult Munro to climb and would not recommend this until more experience is gained. Use the same path to return to your car. The route took us 5 hours.
7. Buachaille Etive Beag: Stob Dubh and Stob Coire Raineach
These two Munros are in the heart of majestic Glencoe. The walk starts at the Glencoe car park (no charge) opposite the Beehive Cairn. They are not as high or dramatic as their neighbour Buachaille Etive Mor but make for an easier hill climb with views just as spectacular. The path has undergone improvements over the years by the National Trust for Scotland, so it’s not as boggy as it once was. When you reach the bealach you can take a right to reach the summit of Stob Duhn.
The first cairn is the true summit at 956 metres but is worth carrying on a bit further for views down Glen Etive. On a clear day the paps of Jura can be seen from here. Retrace your steps back to the bealach where you can make your ascent to the summit of Stob Coire Raineach at 925 metres. Great views can be seen of Aonach Eagach, Ben Nevis and over Rannoch Moor. Retrace your steps to the bealach and back down the path to the car park. It took us 6 hours to do both.
8. Ben Chonzie
This has to be to one of the easiest Munro’s. Some people say it is not the most exciting hike, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a great Munro for beginners and for getting used to navigation skills. There is space for parking at Glen Ledmock near Comrie (no charge). You follow a land rover track for most of it, then a faint/indistinct path. Near the top (if you aren’t sure you are on the right path) there’s a fence that can be followed to the 931 metre summit. There are great views from the top as you stand by the trig point. There’s a very good chance you will spot a mountain hare on this walk as there are a large population of them in this area. Retrace your steps back down the same path to get down. This Munro took 4 hours to complete.
9. The Glenshee Trio:
The Cairnwell, Carn Aosda and Carn a’Gheoidh. Your first thought might be that 3 Munros in one day is too much for a beginner, but in fact they are probably the easiest Munros you could do. The Glenshee ski centre (free parking) is the starting point and is 600 metres above sea level which gives a massive head start in terms of elevation. I would suggest following the Walkhighlands route and doing Carn Aosda (917 metres) first. You will reach the summit before you know it. Then make your way along to Carn a’Gheoidh (975 metres), my favourite of the 3 summits. Finally make your way back and turn right to climb The Cairnwell (933 metres). These 3 Munros took us only 4 hours, which is quite incredible as most Munros on their own take longer than this. Views are rewarding from all 3 summits.
10. Meall Chuaich
Is an hour south of Inverness and an hour North of Perth. A layby marked number 94 on the A9 is the best place to park for it. You follow a tarmac track which runs alongside a water channel to Chuaich power station. Continue past this towards Loch Chuaich. Follow the path to the right just before reaching the Loch, past a bothy and a small bridge. Soon there is a path to the left that you take to Stac Meall Chuaich then continue a bit further to reach the summit of Meall Chuaich. It’s a good path and fairly easy ascent to the large cairn at 951 meters high. Views of Badenoch, Strathspey and Cairngorms summits can be seen from the top. Retrace your steps to get back to the starting point. This route took us 5 hours.
Despite the title of this article it’s important to remember that on the wrong day in the wrong conditions no mountain is straightforward. Check the forecast before you set out for the day. Not only is it safer, but it is much more enjoyable to hike in pleasant weather and be rewarded with cracking views at the top. There is nothing more frustrating than reaching the summit of a mountain to be met with cloud as far as the eye can see! That being said, we are in Scotland and a dry day can seem like a rarity at times! Dress for the weather, hone your navigation skills and get out there and enjoy what Scotland’s beautiful hills and mountains have to offer!
You never know, you might just get bitten by the bug!
Remember when enjoying Scotland’s mountains to take only photos and leave only footprints.
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