Ben Nevis#11 in Best Things To Do in Scottish Highlands
Price & Hours
The most popular trail in the Scottish Highlands is also one of its most challenging. Ben Nevis, the U.K.'s tallest mountain, sits just 7 miles southeast of Fort William. Nevis clocks in around 4,406 feet high, yielding incredible views at the top for those tough enough to ascend its summit. Of all the 125,000 travelers who visit the mountain per year, only 25,000 successfully conquer Ben. The trail is nearly 11 miles total and, according to the Fort William tourism board, takes about seven hours to complete (four hours up and three hours down), though some hikers reported that it can take less time in ideal weather conditions. Travelers who did reach the top say the trek was completely worth it for the unmatched views of the Highlands.
Echoing the concerns of the Fort William tourism board, hikers said the weather conditions in Ben Nevis are unpredictable and can change rapidly, even during a perfect summer's day. Always check the weather beforehand. Wind conditions in particular are known to get more intense the closer you get to the summit, regardless of the temperature. And because the terrain is entirely composed of rock, you'll want to wear the proper hiking shoes. Plan to carry lots of water and snacks, and know that the only restrooms available are at the bottom of the mountain.
The Fort William tourism board advises against hiking Ben Nevis from October to May. By this time, snow is present on the mountain and hiking is unsafe unless you're carrying ice axes and crampons. During summer (peak season), prepare to contend with lots of crowds.
If you didn't rent a car, you can reach Fort William by coach bus only. If you purchased a Highland Rover ScotRail pass, the bus route to Fort William is covered. If you don't have the pass, you can reach Fort William via Stagecoach. Stagecoach also offers bus service to Ben Nevis. Several of the top tours in Scotland also visit Ben Nevis. For more information on Ben Nevis, visit the Fort William tourism board's website.
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#1 Isle of Skye
If you only had time to visit one part of the Scottish Highlands, let it be the Isle of Skye. Located on the west coast of the Highlands, Skye is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides. The island is filled to the brim with otherworldly landscapes. There's a lot to see on this island, but travel experts and visitors say you can't leave without peeping these gems: the Quiraing, the Old Man of Storr, Neist Point and the Fairy Pools.
The Quiraing is the perfect introduction to Skye's spellbinding geography. As you descend down the Quiraing, you'll be greeted with sweeping views of stunning geography: Cracked plateaus with craggy cliffsides lead the way to an expansive valley of verdant rolling hills, stately rock formations and alpine lakes. Situated 13 miles south is the Old Man of Storr, a single, pinnacle-shaped rock which stands out for its looks; it's so tall and distinct, it can easily be spotted from sea level miles away.
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