10 Stunning Grahams to Climb in Scotland
Grahams are mountains which scale between 2000 and 2500 ft high, just slightly shorter than Corbetts (over 2500 ft) and Munros (over 3000 ft). They might be on the shorter scale, but Grahams boast equally impressive views and a great sense of achievement when climbing to the top.
To help kickstart your hillwalking adventure, we've selected 10 scenic Grahams across the country to put you through your paces.
The Buck Aberdeenshire
If you're heading to the north-east of Scotland, be sure to add The Buck to your Grahams bucket list. The Buck lies right on the Moray/Aberdeenshire border and is a fantastic Graham to climb for all skill levels. We recommend wearing some good solid boots and gaiters for this hike, the ground can get very boggy and pathways can often disappear due to overgrown heather. Don't let this put you off though, you'll be blown away by the impressive views at the top which see over to Sutherland and the Cairngorms. Keep your eyes peeled for Pictish-style carvings and you may even be joined by a few furry friends during your climb. Deer, sheep and even mountain hares have been spotted en route.
Height: 721 m (2365 ft)
Distance: 4.6 km/2.75 miles
Time: 2 hours
Mount Blair Angus
For some of Scotland's finest views, take the satisfying ramble up Mount Blair. A prominent landmark around Glen Shee and Glen Isla, this straightforward hill walk is a must for budding photographers who wish to capture the best of Angus' surrounding scenery. Setting off from the Perth & Kinross and Angus boundary, head east along the quiet road which links Glen Shee with Glen Isla where you will find a gate up to a grassy track hill, make sure you're wearing good hiking boots as this is a very muddy path but gradually becomes drier the further uphill you walk. Towards the summit, you'll find a communications mast and a view indicator which will allow you to see up to 40 Munros on a clear day. We hope you've brought a good packed lunch with you - enjoy a picnic with a view, overlooking lower Glen Isla with Strathmore and even Fife and beyond.
Height: 744 m (2441 ft)
Distance: 4.5 km/2.75 miles
Time: 2 hours
Meall Odhar Argyll
Situated about 3 km to the west of Tyndrum, Meall Odhar is an amazing choice for those who enjoy a rewarding view after a long hike. The summit provides sights looking down on the heathery slopes of Meall Odhar, with Loch Hoil below. The hike is not too steep although the wet grass and mud can make the ascent up quite slippery. If you're a wildlife enthusiast, keep your eyes peeled for roe buck, buzzards, ravens and much more.
Height: 656 m (2152 ft)
Distance: 10km/6 miles
Time: 4.5 hours
Creag Dhubh Cairngorms
If you've conquered a few of our Grahams already, you might be up for something a bit more challenging. Head to the Highlands for your next Graham adventure to take on the mighty Creag Dhubh. A favourite amongst rock climbers on its lower slopes, its dizzying heights and rough terrain is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Start your journey to the summit from the car park at Loch an Eilein. Along the way, you'll have time to soak up the views and the atmosphere of the beautiful pine woods and delightful lochs. The route is best tackled by more experienced hillwalkers and is a great way to spend an afternoon to see Scotland's natural beauty.
Height: 756 m (2480 ft)
Distance: 5km/3 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
Cairnsmoor of Fleet Dumfries & Galloway
Situated to the East of Newton Stewart, Cairnsmore of Fleet is the most southerly of the Grahams and is considered one of the wildest places in south west Scotland. This hike is a walker's paradise with its stunning views of the Cree Estuary and the Solway Firth. The route starts near Graddoch Bridge which you can take the tourist trail all the way to the stop of the summit. The hill walk is relatively straightforward to follow but the ground can be quite boggy during the final stretch. You're also bound to see some interesting wildlife during your hike too. Wildlife highlights include red deer, red grouse and the peregrine falcon - the world's fastest bird.
If you have a few hours to spare after your climb, explore more of the nature reserve by popping into the visitor centre or if you've got enough stamina left, take the short walk around the farm area.
Height: 711 m (2333 ft)
Distance: 12.25 km/7.5 miles
Time: 3.5-5 hours
Beinn Shiantaid Isle of Jura
Wake up, pack up and start hiking the magnificent Beinn Shiantaidh. This Graham is one of the Paps of Jura along with the Corbett Beinn an Oir and the Graham Beinn a' Chaolais and is the second highest peak of the mountain range. Make sure you set your alarm nice and early for this one, the route takes several hours to complete, so pack plenty of food and water in your rucksack to keep your energy levels up. Start the route from the parking area on the north side of the Three Arch Bridge over the Corran River. The walk is a great one to climb on a clear day, as it can be particularly challenging in heavy rain with its boggy ground, rocks, and scree paths on the hills.
Of course, if you're not quite ready to climb a Graham just yet there are plenty of flatter walks to be enjoyed. Take the short 6 km walk to the loch and admire the view of the Paps.
Height: 757 m (2483 ft)
Distance: 16.5 km/10.25 miles
Time: 9-10 hours
Beinn Talaidh Isle of Mull
Beinn Talaidh is the highest Graham on the Isle of Mull. It's prominent position and symmetrical cone shape is a huge draw factor for many visitors and is often mistaken for the famous Ben More, the island's only Munro. This is a slightly longer walk and is best tackled by more experienced hillwalkers especially if you're really looking to push yourself. Take the ascent via Glen Forsa to the north. The hill is mostly pathless with very steep grass slopes, but at the end you'll be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views.
Height: 761 m (2497 ft)
Distance: 18 km/11.25 miles
Time: 5-6 hours
Beinn Bhreac Loch Lomond
We're staying with Scotland's west coast and heading to Beinn Bhreac in Argyll. Part of the Luss Hills, this Graham rises from the western shore of Loch Lomond near the village of Tarbet. This largely trackless climb is another challenging one, but the views make it a hike worth taking on. The 5-hour round-trip is a great way to push your body to new limits. Starting off in a large cark park from Glen Douglas, you'll be tackling rocky slopes and will be fully immersed in the rugged, open landscape. Make sure you have good hiking boots on, there's lots of bogs and marshes to get through. When you've made it to the top, the summit boasts impressive views of Ben Lomond and of course, Loch Lomond's bonnie banks.
Height: 681 m (2234 ft)
Distance: 5.4 km/3 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Càrn na Coinnich Loch Ness
Nessie might be Loch Ness' famous resident lurking beneath its waters, but we've got another resident that we'd like to introduce to you. Meet Càrn na Coinnich! This six-mile hike is for those who are looking to whisk off to the magical Scottish Highlands. The walk kicks off just before the bridge over the River Meig, from here you will catch sight of twin Corbetts, Meallan nan Uan and Sgurr a' Mhuilinn, and gradually climb your way up to the summit.
This Graham is suitable for walkers of all abilities and is a straightforward hike until approaching the summit where the ground can be quite rough. There's lots to take in, so pack a few snacks and give yourself time to admire the views. Highlights include Orrin Reservoir, the Strathfarrar Munros and Beinn Eighe, to name just a few.
Height: 673 m (2208 ft)
Distance: 12.6 km/7 miles
Time: 4.5 hours
Ben Mór Coigach North Highlands
Last but by no means least, we end our list with another Highland gem, Ben Mór Coigach. Dominating the north Ullapool skyline, it is one of the best walks to spot wildlife. Start your climb at The Postman's Path, a six-mile route from Strathcanaird to Achiltibuie. This Graham is a particularly challenging route compared to the others on this list and should only be undertaken by experienced hillwalkers. Make sure to be extra careful when it rains too as the path can be quite slippery. On a clear day, you'll see spectacular coastlines and golden eagles soaring up above in the sky. Make sure to pack insect repellent, especially in the summer, as the area is rife with lots of pesky midges between June and September.
Height: 743 m (2437 ft)
Distance: 10.5 km/6.5 miles
Time: 5-7 miles
Responsible Tourism and Outdoor Safety
The prospect of climbing a Graham can be very exciting but it's important to stay safe while out in the fresh air. Before you go, here are a few tips to help you come extra prepared:
1. Know your route - learn how to properly navigate using a map and compass
2. Read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code - this handy guide will help you make informed decisions
3. Check the weather forecast on the day you plan to climb the Graham
4. Stick to the summer months - hiking in the mountains especially in the winter will need specialist knowledge, skills and experience
5. Pack the essentials - make sure to bring all the appropriate essentials
6. Wear appropriate clothing - Scotland is known for having four seasons in one day
7. Bring a friend!
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