Unreal shapes; otherworldly summits; mountains where you can watch the sun set twice. Every hill has something special to offer, but these ones go over and above…
Whether you’re looking to dazzle some new hillwalkers or are seeking something different yourself, these mountains are some of the most distinctive the UK has to offer. Cameras at the ready!
1. Suilven, Assynt
Considered one of Scotland’s most iconic hills, the remarkable, other-worldly outline of Suilven towers over Lochinver. Surprisingly, you can tackle this hill with little scrambling, a sharp zig-zagging path making for one of the more accessible routes to the summit. Walk to the foot of the trail from Lochinver – which makes for a lengthy trek, but the reward is well worth it. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see all the way to Skye.
2. The Cobbler, Arrochar
Ben Arthur’s affectionate nickname comes from the distinctive rocky summit, which is said to resemble a cobbler leaning over, hard at work. Climbers of this hill are challenged to ‘thread the needle’, the only way to reach the true summit, by scrambling out onto the rock pinnacle situated at the edge of the ‘middle’ of the three peaks. Only for those with a true head for heights.
3. Tryfan, Snowdonia
Said to be the only summit in Wales you must use your hands to reach, Tryfan may be small but it certainly offers a mighty climb. As well as the ridges, the summit of Tryfan is home to two monoliths known as Adam and Eve, and there’s a traditional challenge that involves leaping between them. Caution needed!
4. Schiehallion, Perthshire
As well as being an almost perfect, conical shape, Schiehallion is also known for its part in the invention of contour lines. During the summer months, this is also considered one of the best Munros for beginners as it offers an accessible route to the summit whilst also presenting opportunities to scramble for more daring Munro-baggers.
5. Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire
Roseberry Topping has been dubbed Yorkshire’s miniature Matterhorn. You can start this walk just before Roseberry Lane and enjoy a pleasant stroll along the outskirts of Newton Wood before beginning your climb. During the summer months, early morning climbers may be rewarded with a sighting of roe deer.
6. Inaccessible Pinnacle, Isle of Skye
Tackling the infamous ‘In Pinn’ is no easy feat, and this fin of rock sits atop Sgùrr Dearg – the only Munro with a peak that can only be reached via rock climbing. If you don’t have rock climbing experience and/or equipment, a guide will be needed. Wickedly tricky, you can start your walk from just before the Glen Brittle mountain rescue post and cross Allt Coire na Banachdich to begin your ascent.
7. Chrome Hill, Peak District
Chrome Hill is a distinctive limestone reef knoll that’s also known as the ‘Dragon’s Back’, the pinnacles resembling the scaly plates of a slumbering beast. Start in the village of Earl Sterndale and follow the footpaths that head towards Parkhouse Hill. This is a popular hill during the summer solstice, due to the unique ‘double sunset’ phenomenon said to be spotted from the southern summit.
8. Slieve Croob, County Down
The mountain itself is an impressive, stark structure in the heart of the Dromara Hills – but it’s a feature on the lower slopes of this hill that make it truly special. Legananny Dolmen is a megalithic tripod dolmen that’s approximately 5,000 years old, and can be reached by walking from the village of Leitrim.
9. Buachaille Etive Mòr, Glencoe
This is perhaps one of the most photographed hills in all of Scotland, particularly when the first snow of the year settles across the peak. Looming over the A82, the dark and gloomy Munro looks almost threatening, and as a result can appear quite off-putting to beginners. But fear not, this mountain is not as tricky as it first seems – starting your ascent from Altnafeadhalso gives you a much less intimidating view for the climb to come.
10. Glyder Fach, Wales
Glyder Fach boasts a unique, boulder-strewn summit, and is well known for its Cantilever Stone— a massive slab of stone that looks to be precariously balanced as it stretches out towards the sky. West of the summit sits Castell y Gwynt, a strange and spiky rocky outcrop. One popular way to reach Glyder Fach is from Ogwen via the Devil’s Kitchen – but despite this sometimes being known as the ‘tourist’ route, it shouldn’t be underestimated.
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