My Favourite Mountains (in the UK)

April 1, 2019

How many times have you sat around and discussed the best mountains or hills in Britain? Certainly I have. My favourite mountains are not necessarily the ‘best’ but more a personal view.

They are the mountains and hills that I have enjoyed clibing more than others for a variety of reasons. They cover most of the UK, there are not many mountains I have not climbed.

Anyway no more messing about, here they are and why I like them, a countdown from 10 to 1 with 1 being my favourite (anyone who knows me will know which no 1 is likely to be!)


10. Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales

Ingleborough from Little Ingleborough
Ingleborough from Little Ingleborough

I am a regular visitor to Ingleborough and it is rightly a popular fell. The route up from Clapham past Gaping Gill is one of the best day walks in the country. Many just tick it as their final peak on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge but the sensible will return and explore its slopes and superb limestone scenery time and time again.

9. Place Fell, Patterdale, Lake District

Place Fell from Patterdale
Place Fell from Patterdale

Overlooking Ullswater near Patterdale, Place Fell sums up for me what is so appealing about the Lakes. It is a rounded fell with steep sides falling towards the lake and a rough knobbly summit area that gives the fell that unique Lakeland appeal. A myriad of sheep tracks wind their way through small rocky outcrops. It is best enjoyed in high summer when the bracken is up and the exposed rock making perfect picnic spots. My abiding memory of Place Fell is a deer leaping across my path, not 10 yards in front, if only I had a camera ready.

8. Tryfan, North Wales

Adam and Eve, Tryfan
Adam and Eve, Tryfan

I first climbed Tryfan in 1993 the day I was made redundant from a job in Chester. I drove over on a summer’s evening without a map, compass or really a clue as to how to climb it but I did. It is a wonderful scramble, a proper hands on experience but not for the beginner. On that fatefulday I even made the famous summit leap from Adam to Eve (never repeated on subsequent visits) before heading up Bristly Ridge on to the Glyders. Many knowledgeable walkers have argued that Tryfan is the best Britain can offer and it is difficult to argue.

7. Tom Dubh, Cairngorm, Scotland

Tom Dubh looking east
Tom Dubh looking east

Very likely you have not heard of Tom Dubh as it may well be the most remote mountain in Britain. Hidden in the Cairngorm massif on the Moine Mhor, relatively near Angels Peak, it is a Munro Top that I visited as part of a long, sun soaked 2 day foray in the Cairngorms. It is not particularly impressive to look at but I felt a special reverence when I arrived and trekked up its 400 foot slopes. It felt really special, unique and insanely remote (there may have been no-one within a brisk 3 hour walk and if there was they were lost in the wilderness).

6. Yewbarrow, Wastwater, Lakes

Wastwater from Yewbarrow
Wastwater from Yewbarrow

My favourite visit to Yewbarrow was at the end of an impressive day’s walk having completed the Pillar Horseshoe . Scrambling up was more challenging than I remembered (as was the descent down its ‘spine’!) but it was the wonderful views down Wastwater, over the Scafells and to the incomparable Great Gable which make the mountain so impressive. The postage stamp summit would make a perfect wild camp site, watching the sun set to the west in this wild and remote area of the Lakes, beer or scotch in hand.

5. Dufton Pike, Pennines

Dufton Pike from road High Cup Nick
Dufton Pike from road High Cup Nick

In many ways a climb up the steep slopes of Dufton Pike (near Cross Fell) seems ridiculous. A graceful, steep sided cone shaped mountain Dufton Pike sits next to the massive rolling moors of the Pennines but is so totally different in character it feels you are in another world. I climbed it first as a quick exercise in ticking Marilyns but returned on a hot sunny day on a big walk from High Cup Nick to Cross Fell. Dufton Pike was perfect and the relatively small size and peaked summit is exactly how a mountain should be. Loved it… as I did the pint in the excellent pub afterwards.

4. Ladhar Bheinn, Scottish Highlands

Ladhar Bheinn Summit Ridge

Deep in the remote Knoydart region of western Scotland Ladhar Bheinn gave me my most enjoyable day climbing the Munros. Myself and Barry had camped at Barrisdale after a tough, wet day on Luinne Bheinn. The weather was superb, a cool wind and sun accompanied us to the summit ridge where the views were extraordinary. To the east Loch Hourn lay like an arrow from the foot of the mountain slopes but in every other direction a mass of Scottish coast and islands were presented sparkling in the sun and seemingly endless. Enough to wax lyrical about!

3. Buckden Pike, Yorkshire Dales

Buckden Pike summit to west
Buckden Pike summit to west

I will tell anyone who is prepared to listen that Buckden Pike is the best mountain in the Yorkshire Dales. Wharfedale is a beautiful U shaped escape and the fell looms large at the valley head. It is one of Dales 30 mountains, the summit adorning the front cover of the companion book. Near the summit lies a large cross, built as a memorial to the Polish airmen who died in a training crash during WWII. A special place.

2. Sgurr nan Gillean, Skye, Scottish Islands

Sgurr nan Gillean (left) from Sligachan
Sgurr nan Gillean (left) from Sligachan

The whole Cuillin ridge is majestic (the best mountain range in Britain) and it is crowned by the perfectly formed Sgurr nan Gillean. I have approached the summit via the West Ridge, the Tourist track and more recently the Pinnacle Ridge and Knights Peak. The gabbro rock makes scrambling on these mountains a real pleasure and, if you have a good head for heights, there is surely nowhere better to have ‘fun on the rock’. I have always climbed on the Cuillin in half decent weather (part cloudy but dry) which definitely helps.

1. Blencathra, North Lakes

Blencathra from Threlkeld
Blencathra from Threlkeld

Having Climbed Blencathra over 30 times from every conceivable angle I can safely say I know the fell intimately. Holidaying in Threlkeld has given me the chance to not only explore and appreciate the sharp ridges and deep gullies on its southern slopes but also the empty lands to the north. I have camped on the summit, seen the sun rise, climbed in the snow and taken every conceivable person to its impressive top. Arriving in the Lakes along the A66 is always a pleasure when the saddle of Blencathra comes in to view.

10 are not really sufficient for a list of this kind so without over thinking I have listed another 10 superb mountains I have thoroughly enjoyed climbing.

  • Suilven, Sutherland, Scotland.
  • The Calf, Sedbergh, Cumbrian Dales.
  • Cader Idris, West Wales.
  • Lingmoor Fell, Langdale, Lake District.
  • Helvellyn, Lake District.
  • Ben Nevis, Scotland.
  • Mam Tor, Peak District.
  • Brandon Mountain, Ireland.
  • Ben Aden, Scottish Highlands.
  • Crinkle Crags, Lake District

Enjoy the walks

Jonathan

For a full list of all my ‘Best of…’ blogs please follow this link

5 Comments
  • GK says:

    Can’t believe Roseberry Topping didn’t make it!

  • Artie says:

    What a good lot of information and thank you for sharing. For those of us who are not familiar with the names of the peaks or even of the areas (i.e. those of us from across the pond), it would be extremely helpful and amiable of you to include (at least) the name of the country and (though it’s probably asking too much) the general quadrant in which the walk is located (for example “Wales” or “northwest England”). I don’t mind googling the names but it would be ever so much more efficient if even the briefest of indicators were included in the post. Thank you and keep up the great work!

  • Barry says:

    what happened to mighty An Teallach or have you not been up there yet!

    • Jonathan says:

      An Teallach and other Scottish peaks are fantastic but actually on my 2 occassions up there it has not stood out for me, average weather and was never wowed when I was up there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts My Favourite Mountain Pottery Cottage