With summer holiday traffic at its peak, we round up some of the best British mountain walks you can reach by public transport.
Britain’s most beautiful landscapes are currently at the peak of their summer busyness, so there is no better time to ditch the car and climb a mountain by train or bus instead.
Despite our rural public transport network being limited, there is still a great deal of scope for accessing high and beautiful places by public transport – here are a few of our suggestions. We’ve just described them briefly here, so be sure to do your own research and ensure you are well-prepared for any walk you decide to attempt.
1. Braeriach, Cairngorms
Distance: 20km / 12 miles
Duration: 8 hours+
Ascent: 957m / 3140ft
Jump on bus 31 from Aviemore station to reach Cairngorm Ski Centre, which is the hopping-off point for endless exploratory excursions on the Cairngorms Plateau. For a very full day in the hills, get the first bus of the morning and climb Braeriach – not just Scotland’s third-highest mountain but also one of the finest viewpoints in the National Park.
2. The Arrochar Munros, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs
Distance: 18km / 11 miles
Duration: 10 hours
Ascent: 1545m / 5068ft
Only an hour and a half from Glasgow by train, the Arrochar Alps can often be surprisingly quiet. Start at Arrochar & Tarbet station, and you have the Munros of Beinn Narnain, Beinn Ime and Ben Vorlich all within striking distance.
3. Traverse of the Rhinogydd, Snowdonia
Distance: 25.5km / 16 miles
Duration: 10 hours
Ascent: 835m / 2740ft
One of the benefits of using public transport is that it makes linear routes much easier to tackle. The Rhinogydd (often anglicised to Rhinogs) are among the least-visited hills in Snowdonia – a two-day traverse of the Rhinogydd ridge with a wild camp to break up the journey feels truly wild. Start at Talsarnau station and end at Barmouth, which has good rail connections to Birmingham and other major cities. Look out for a feature on the Rhinogydd traverse by James Forrest in the next edition of The Great Outdoors (September), on sale August 13.
4. High Street, Lake District
Distance: 16km / 10 miles
Duration: 7 hours
Ascent: 684m / 2245ft
The Kirkstone Rambler (bus 508) offers a direct route from the train station at Windermere to Patterdale and Penrith. Use it to take on a traverse of the Ill Bell Ridge and High Street, starting at Troutbeck and ending at Patterdale.
5. Eastbourne to Seaford, South Downs
Distance: 22km / 14 miles
Duration: 6 hours
Ascent: 544m / 1785ft
Ascent: OK, this one isn’t a ‘mountain’ walk, but it offers a fix of spectacular – and extremely lofty – coastal scenery just an hour or so’s train ride from London, along the rolling coastline between Eastbourne and Seaford stations. Highlights along the route include the iconic Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, Cuckmere Haven and Beachy Head Lighthouse.