The Cairngorms National Park is a fantastic place to hone your climbing and mountaineering skills, or to develop a lifelong interest.
Climbing and mountaineering in the Cairngorms is world class. Yet, at the same time, the huge variety of terrain means there’s something for everyone, whether you want an easy relaxed trip or a challenging venture. Regardless of your age, fitness or ability there’s something for you here.
If you've come for climbing with character, the Cairngorms is the right place for you!
According to Mountaineering Scotland, the Cairngorms offers "some of the best mountain climbs in Scotland".
One thing climbers comment on is the great variety of climbs here, with each peak having its own unique characteristics and wildlife.
And there are plenty of peaks to choose from! The Cairngorms contains 55 of Scotland's 282 Munros (a mountain over 914 metres).
The Cairngorms is home to some of the UK's most iconic hikes and climbs too
For instance, the Park contains the Lairig Gru, one of Scotland's most well known mountain pass routes. You'll also find Scotland's second highest peak here - Ben Macdui at 1,309m, followed by Braeriach at 1,296m, Cairn Toul at 1,291m and Sgor an Lochain Uaine at 1,258m.
For climbing, some of the most impressive and cleanest climbs in the Cairngorms can be found around Creag Dubh Loch and Lochnagar in the southern Cairngorms, and The Shelterstone Crag in the northern Cairngorms.
- Is there anywhere in the Cairngorms that teaches climbing and mountaineering skills?
Yes! There are some excellent training centres in the Cairngorms, which people from all around the world visit to brush up their skills, such as Glenmore Lodge. There are also lots of smaller, independent providers who run fantastic courses and group trips to boost your skills. These courses are available all year round. Browse the listings and you’ll find them!
- When is the best time to climb in the Cairngorms?
The Cairngorms National Park is a year-round destination and every season has its own unique charm, so it very much depends on personal preference. Some, for example, love the turning of the leaves and the awe-inspiring colours of autumn. Others prefer the longer days and warmer temperatures of summer. If you’re climbing in winter, however, clearly safety is particularly important and you need to have the right skills and equipment for the conditions. If you are at all in doubt of whether you do, hire a guide. There are many walking guide services listed on our site.
- Are there midges when you're climbing in the Cairngorms?
In the summer months, midges can be a feature in the Cairngorms! However, when you’re climbing, even in summer, the temperatures can remain quite cold, which keeps their numbers down. They tend to prefer lower levels and damper conditions, such as boggy forests with shelter. So, if you want to avoid midges, climbing is one of the best things you can do!