Highest Mountains In UK In Order

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Here are the highest mountains in the UK in order of height. I’ve gathered together some additional relevant information on each, including their height in metres and feet, their location (including a link to the appropriate OS map), and a general description of the mountain. I hope you find this a useful resource.

1. Ben Nevis

Height: 1345m/4413ft
Region: Lochaber, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer 392

At 1345m, Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in the UK. It’s Gaelic name, Beinn Nibheis, translates into English as either “venomous mountain” or “mountain with its head in the clouds”. Both being quite apt names as the Ben is often wreathed in cloud making visibility at the summit difficult and therefore navigation can be very tricky. Essential to get right as there are steep cliffs from the top.

Being the biggest, it’s a popular climb to bag and tens of thousands of people flock to the area every year to conquer it. At peak times you’ll need to book your accommodation well in advance. The main route to the top is via the Pony Track, a well-constructed path that was originally built in the 19th Century to provide access to the observatory at the summit.

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2. Ben Macdui

Height: 1309m/4295ft
Region: Cairngorms, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer OL57

Situated in the Cairngorms National Park, Ben Macdui is the second highest peak in both Scotland and the UK. The English translation of the Gaelic name is either MacDuff’s hill or, my personal favourite, the Hill of the Black Pig.

Should you climb Ben Macdui, you’ll be following in the footsteps of a 19th Century British monarch, Queen Victoria. In 1859, Queen Victoria climbed up to the summit and took in the views with a glass of whisky and water as she was told that pure water would be too chilling. I’ve always preferred a flask of hot soup on a hike but, whatever your cup of tea, it’s worth taking a moment at the top to check out the summit indicator plaque erected by the Cairngorm Club in 1925, which shows the direction of various landmarks.

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3. Braeriach

Height: 1296m/4252ft
Region: Cairngorms, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer OL57

Just across the River Dee in the heart of the Cairngorms lies Scotland and the UK’s third highest peak, Braeriach. Braeriach is an example of a Gaelic name, Am Bràigh Riabhach, where the English version doesn’t match the romance of the original, with the translation being “Brindled greyish upper part”. Meh, we’ll just stick with Braeriach.

It’s the highest point in the Western part of the Cairngorms region and its claim to fame is that the snow on its Northern flanks only melted away half a dozen times in the 20th Century. Indeed these slopes have some of the longest continually lying areas of snow in Scotland and the UK.

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4. Cairn Toul

Height: 1291m/4236ft
Region: Cairngorms, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer OL57

At 1291m, Cairn Toul is the fourth tallest mountain in the UK. Like a number of UK mountains, it is both a Marilyn (a peak with a prominence of 150m/490ft or more) and a Munro. A combination that I rather like, though I don’t think that the American actress ever set foot on the slopes of Cairn Toul.

Just below Cairn Toul is a bothy called Corrour. Originally constructed in the late 19th Century this stone building was formerly a cottage for local deer watchers. When the last deer watcher moved out it then became a handily placed bothy for use by local mountaineers. Like all bothies, it’s a handy mountain refuge and Corrour comes well equipped with a single room featuring a fireplace and chimney, and a separate composting toilet. It’s looked after by the Mountain Bothies Association.

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5. Carn na Criche

Height: 1265m/4150ft
Region: Cairngorms, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer OL57

Carn na Criche is the 5th highest peak in the UK and lies in a wild and beautiful part of Aberdeenshire in Northern Scotland. It is just along a line (around 1.5miles away) from number three peak, Braeriach, and often climbed at the same time.

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6. Sgor an Lochain Uaine

Height: 1258m/4127ft
Region: Cairngorms, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer OL57

Lying almost midway between Cairn Toul and Braeriach, Sgor an Lochain Uaine is the sixth tallest mountain in the UK. It only became a Munro in the last few years of the 20th Century, though its promotion to this exclusive club was less to do with a growth spurt and more to do with a reclassification based on its prominence (a measure of the summit’s independence from other nearby mountains). In English, the Gaelic name An Lochan Uaine means Peak of the Little Green Loch. A reference to the very attractive lochan lying at the foot of the mountain.

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7. Cairn Gorm

Height: 1245m/4084ft
Region: Cairngorms, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer OL57

Cairn Gorm, which gives its name to both the mountain range and National Park that it lies in, is the seventh highest mountain in the UK at 1245m. Strangely, the Gaelic name for the Cairngorm mountain range means Blue Hills, but originally it went by a different Gaelic name that translates as Red Hills. Whilst neither seem particularly apt names when you look at the peaks, Cairn Gorm is one of the most easily identifiable of the mountains in this range due to its distinctive shape.

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8. Aonach Beag

Height: 1234m/4049ft
Region: Lochaber, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer 392

There are two mountains in Scotland that go by the name Aonach Beag. The eighth tallest peak in the UK is the Aonach Beag located a couple of miles away from the highest UK mountain, Ben Nevis. The other Aonach Beag is around 19 miles to the west and over a hundred metres shorter. Be careful you set off to climb the correct mountain…

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9. Aonach Mor

Height: 1221m/4006ft
Region: Lochaber, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer 392

Just near Aonach Beag and Ben Nevis is Aonach Mor, the ninth tallest UK peak at 1221m. It’s home to the Nevis Range ski development and by far the least strenuous way of completing the ascent to the summit is to take the ski gondola to the top station (at 650m) and then hike the remaining distance to the highest point on the mountain. Walkers looking for more of a challenge can hike the entire route up from Glen Nevis. During a 2013 storm, gusts of 142mph were recorded at the summit of Aonach Mor.

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10. Carn Mor Dearg

Height: 1221m/4006ft
Region: Lochaber, Scotland
OS Map: OS Explorer 392

If you’re looking to tackle Ben Nevis but want to avoid the crowds on the Pony Track, then another option to consider is a circular route which includes an ascent of Carn Mor Dearg. A narrow ridge, known as an arête, links Carn Mor Dearg with its more famous neighbour and the views of the Ben from the summit of Carn Mor Dearg are, on a clear day, nothing short of spectacular.

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76. Snowdon

Height: 1085m/3560ft
Region: Gwynedd, Wales
OS Map: OS Explorer OL17

Coming in much further down the highest UK mountains list is the first peak outside Scotland and the seventy-sixth on the UK list: Snowdon. It’s Wales’ highest mountain and gives its name to the Snowdonia National Park.

Snowdon holds a special place in the hearts of mountaineers as it was used extensively by Sir Edmund Hillary as part of his training for his successful first climb of Mount Everest in 1953. Apart from following in Sir Edmund’s illustrious footsteps there are plenty of options for reaching the summit, including various well-trodden paths and the mountain railway, which travels up from nearby Llanberis. At the top you’ll be able to contemplate the stunning views with a cuppa from the Hafod Eryri café.

257. Scafell Pike

Height: 978m/3209ft
Region: Cumbria, England
OS Map: OS Explorer OL6

Much, much further down the high peaks list is Scafell Pike, the first English mountain. At only 978m this is a mere babe in comparison to the Scottish mountains. But, like any of the peaks on this list, Scafell Pike isn’t one for the faint-hearted. Make sure you go with all the gear you might need, know to use a map and compass (and have them with you), check the weather forecast, and let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Remember that there’s no shame in leaving a hill climb for a day when the conditions are more favourable – don’t be another Mountain Rescue statistic. Take a look at my guide to “Walking in the Lake District for beginners” for more advice.

#1 Ben Nevis (1345m)
#2 Ben Macdui (1309m)
#3 Braeriach (1296m)
#4 Cairn Toul (1291m)
#5 Carn na Criche (1265m)
#6 Sgor an Lochain Uaine (1258m)
#7 Cairn Gorm (1245m)
#8 Aonach Beag (1234m)
#9 Aonach Mor (1221m)
#10 Carn Mor Dearg (1221m)
#76 Snowdon (1085m)
#257 Scafell Pike (978m)

Data compiled with reference to the Database of British and Irish Hills