Spring and summer are the seasons when hill-walkers flock to Scotland from all over the world to enjoy some of the world’s best mountain scenery and the very Scottish pursuit of Munro Bagging.
It’s not unusual to spend months picking peaks and planning routes to the summits of Scotland’s Munros (the 283 mountain peaks over 3,000ft), but don’t forget to plan the drive to your route carefully as well.
Driving in Scotland is a wonderful experience in itself, and if you are unlucky with the weather it can be the only way to take in the rapidly changing and stunningly beautiful scenery.
What’s more, a carefully planned journey with two cars gives you the opportunity to start and end your day at different points, giving you access to a wider variety of walks.
Your car – essential walking equipment
Scotland can seem vast when you’re stood 3,000 feet above sea-level, with views of mountains, valleys, oceans and islands. It can also seem pretty big when you’re tasked with reaching its more remote areas or if you want to take in several regions or mountain ranges in one holiday.
That’s when you realise your car is an essential part of your walking equipment. Railways in Scotland are limited to routes between larger cities (but do include popular bases like Fort William and Ullapool), and serious walkers need to carefully plan start and end points in order to get the most from their day, but still get down before legs get too tired or the famous Scottish midges come out in droves.
If your party is big enough, renting two cars can give you access to some walks that would not otherwise be possible. You can take two cars to your end point, leave one there and drive to the start of your route in the other. Once you have completed your walk, simply drive back to the start point and pick up the car you left there.
Where to fly for Scotland’s best Munros
The usual (and increasingly affordable) way for people outside Scotland to organise their travel is to fly to one of Scotland’s airports and hire a car. You’ll find Avis in all these airports (contact details can be found on our pages for Glasgow Airport, Prestwick Airport, Aberdeen Airport, Inverness Airport and Edinburgh Airport car hire).
Fly to Inverness for the easiest access to the Central, Western & Northern Highlands and the Western Isles, including the popular bases of Lochalsh (Skye) and Ullapool. Some of the top Munros best reached from this airport include Slioch, those on the Cuillins (Skye), Beinn Eighe, An Teallach and in remote Knoydartt, as well as the most northerly Munro, Ben Hope.
Fort William, the outdoor capital of the UK, lays in-between Inverness and Glasgow. Although Inverness is closer, the drive from Glasgow to Fort William takes you past the famous Loch Lomond and through the ever-changing scenery of Glen Coe. Fort William is wonderfully positioned as a gateway to the Highlands and Islands. It is the start of the road to the isles, one of Scotland’s most iconic drives, and close to Glencoe, perhaps the single most popular area for mountaineering in Scotland and home to the knife edge ridge of Aonach Eagach and the Three Sisters of Glencoe: Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh.
Glasgow provides great access to the Southern Highlands and Glasgow Airport is in fact the closest airport for those travelling to the Isle of Mull. Ben More, Mull’s only Munro, is the most remote Munro of all, and is often the final Munro for Munro Baggers (enthusiasts who tick off the peaks).
The Cairngorm Mountains can be reached from Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. As well as being Scotland’s main ski resort, the Cairngorms also boast several popular Munros, the highest of which is Lochnager.
Useful links for planning your holiday
The links throughout this post take you to further relevant information. You can also find a full map of the Munros of Scotland on www.munromagic.com, detailed routes on www.walkhighlands.co.uk and enjoy a more personal take on the Barber Family’s blog.
To help you plan some more family-orientated activities, you can see some of the best family activities in Scotland on the Europe & Beyond blog (www.europe-autos.com).
And to get you started with finding accommodation, some self-catering options in the areas mentioned above can be found at Scotland Holiday Cottages (http://www.holidayhomesgroup.co.uk/scotland.html).
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