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Ben M贸r Coigach, North Highlands
漏 VisitScotland / Airborne Lens

Landscapes and nature

14 Stunning Grahams to Climb in Scotland

Are you thinking of starting hillwalking in Scotland? If so, you're in luck! Hillwalking provides a whole range of mental and physical health benefits, with many of us preoccupied by the pursuit of Munro bagging. It's not always about Munros though, Scotland has lots of spectacular hills to climb, including Grahams.

What exactly are Grahams? In short, they're 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 14 scenic Grahams across the country to put you through your paces.

1. Beinn Mh貌r, Isle of South Uist

Climb your way to the top of Beinn Mh贸r, the only Graham on the island of South Uist. Start off at Stoneyfield in Glen Massan where you will walk along a road until you reach a house and barn that leads up to an uphill forestry track. The trees are a great source of shade especially on a hot day. As you zig-zag your way through the forest, the track reaches a small turning area and then narrows to a steep path. You'll find a series of 'Walkers Welcome' signs with an opportunity to stop by the running water streams to cool down. Eventually the path bears left which will lead you out of the forest. This is where you'll be given your first glimpse of Beinn Mh贸r.

There are two options to reach the summit on this climb. You can either head diagonally left keeping below the ridge which takes you all the way to the summit or head directly up the ridge then turn right. Although the second option is a bit more difficult, it's worth it for even more impressive views. Once you've reached the top, you'll be treated to panoramic views of Ben Lui, Ben Cruachan, the Arrochar Alps and Ben Lomond.

Height: 741 m (2431 ft)
Distance: 18.75 km/11.75 miles
Time: 8 - 10 hours

Explore Beinn Mh貌r.

2. 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

Explore The Buck.

3. 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

Explore Mount Blair.

4. 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

Explore Meall Odhar.

5. Dun Rig, Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders are renowned for its beautiful countryside and rolling hills, making it the perfect base to bag a Graham. We're here to shine a spotlight on Dun Rig, a great option if you're seeking a long hike. It is a fairly moderate hill walk with the terrain on some parts of the route quite steep. In terms of views, it doesn't get any better than this. Starting off in Peebles, this phenomenal walk will allow you to see four Donalds along the way, including Stob Law. The entire route takes approximately 6-8 hours to complete so make sure you're an early riser for this one.

Height: 744 m (2440 ft)
Distance: 23.5 km/14.5 miles
Time: 6-8 hours

Explore Dun Rig.

6. 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

Explore Creag Dhubh.

7. Cairnsmore 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 coast. 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

Explore Cairnsmore of Fleet.

8. Tinto, South Lanarkshire

Are you ready to give Tinto a try? We thought so too! This cone shaped hill rises from the Southern Uplands of Scotland and is the perfect introduction to hillwalking. The trek takes between 2-3 hours to complete and is easy to follow, making it a reasonably gentle climb with only a few steep sections. Start your journey to the top from a car park near Thankerton but if you're up for a more challenging hike, take the route which starts from the south. It's central location also makes it easy to get to by public transport; take the bus along the A73 from Lanark and Biggar and get off at Fallburn. During your hike, you can enjoy superb views of Ailsa Craig, Arran in the Firth of Clyde, the Arrochar Alps, Lochnagar in the Cairngorms and a huge bronze age cairn - the largest in Scotland.

You also might be wondering where the Graham got its name from. Tinto is also known as the 'Hills of Fire' and due to its popularity amongst hillwalkers, the well-worn track reveals an underlying red rock which illuminates the area when the sun sets.

Height: 711 m (2332 ft)
Distance: 7 km/4.25 miles
Time: 2-2.5 hours

Explore Tinto.

9. Beinn Shiantaidh, Isle of Jura

Paps 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

Explore Beinn Shiantaidh.

10. 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

Explore Beinn Talaidh.

11. 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

Explore Beinn Bhreac.

12. C脿rn 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 C脿rn 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

Explore C脿rn na Coinnich.

13. M贸r Bheinn, Perthshire

Another iconic Graham to climb is M贸r Bheinn. This craggy hill lies on the south side of Strath Earn between St Fillans and Comrie. Start your walk from Glen Artney church car park then head along the old railway bridge before climbing up the forestry track. Although the climb is quite steep, it's very pleasant with a choice of good views to admire and the trees will provide lots of shade, especially during the summer months. At the end of the track, you'll pass through Sron na Maoile, Sron nam Broighleag and then to Creag na h-Eararuidh before climbing over a few deer fences to reach its summit. It may be a tough climb, but you won't be disappointed with the views. Fill your camera roll with stunning shots of Glen Artney which looks out towards Uamh Bheag.

Height: 640 m (2101 ft)
Distance: 17.3 km/11 miles
Time: 6.5-7 hours

Explore M贸r Bheinn.

14. Ben M贸r Coigach, North Highlands

Last but by no means least, we end our list with another Highland gem, Ben M贸r 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 Achilitibuie. 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.

Ben M贸r Coigach is also no stranger to the big screen either, it made a star appearance in the heart-warming film, Edie. It follows the story of recently widowed Edie who plans to climb a Scottish mountain on her own.

Height: 743 m (2437 ft)
Distance: 10.5 km/6.5 miles
Time: 5-7 miles

Explore Ben M贸r Coigach.

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:

  • Know your route - learn how to properly navigate using a map and compass, lots of Grahams across Scotland are in remote locations with no phone signal.
  • Read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code - this handy guide will help you make informed decisions while exploring Scotland's great outdoors.
  • Check the weather forecast - even if your Graham bagging adventure has been planned well in advance, it's important to check the weather to see if it's still safe to climb on the day.
  • Stick to the summer months - you might be tempted to climb a Graham at any time of year but hiking in the mountains especially in the winter is a form of mountaineering. You'll need specialist knowledge, skills and experience to stay safe.
  • Pack the essentials - you'll be outside for most of the day so make sure to bring all the appropriate essentials. Take a comfy hiking rucksack and pack food, water, spare clothes, tick remover, a compass and a map.
  • Wear appropriate clothing - Scotland is known for having four seasons in one day so make sure you're dressed for the weather. Wear light clothing, a waterproof jacket and a pair of sturdy walking boots as the rugged terrain can be quite challenging.
  • Bring a friend - if this is your first time climbing a Graham, it may be wise to bring someone along with you who has a bit of hillwalking experience under their belt.

Read more on our guide to safety outdoors in Scotland.