For hill walkers with sure feet and a head for heights, scrambling is perhaps the most rewarding way to experience the airy ridges, soaring buttresses and cavernous gullies found among the hills and mountains of Britain. Somewhere between walking and climbing, scrambling involves route finding, the use of your hands, and if needed, a rope. To help whet your appetite for some post-lockdown mountain action, we have come up with a selection of three of Britain’s best scrambles.
1. Carn Mor Dearg Arête (Grade 1, Scotland) The ‘CMD’ arête is a big day out, but if you’re prepared to put the legwork in you can be treated to some of the finest views of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Although there is little ‘hands on’ action on this route, the arête has a spectacular airy feel, and enchains two four thousand footers on the way to the summit of the Ben.
2. Tryfan North Ridge (Grade 1, Wales) A bonafide classic and a contender for the best day out in Snowdonia. Tryfan’s jagged spine can be accessed almost from the road, and swoops straight up to the summit. The great thing is there are a range of possible lines to take, so you can make it as hard or as easy as you like. For the best bang for your buck, continue
to tackle the slightly more serious Bristly Ridge to round off a loop of the Cwm Bochlwyd horseshoe. You can watch the BMC’s short video on Tryfan here.
3. Cam Crag Ridge (Grade 2, Lake District) Tucked away in the Langstrath Valley near Borrowdale, this lesser known gem ascends a buttress and series of steps up the side of the valley to top out between the summits of Glaramara and Bessy Boot. If the airiness puts you off, there are Grade 1 options along the way. You may not need it but carrying a rope and basic climbing equipment is advisable.
Scrambling does carry an increased risk of injury over hiking, but this risk can be minimised primarily by sensible selection of scrambling grade according to your ability. Effective group management by the leader(s) ensures you will not be rushed or taken out of your comfort zone by the group dynamic, but the onus is still on you as an individual to assess your own risk, and if necessary, stop.
Guides will always be happy to guide you up, or another way round the obstacle, or (if necessary) change the route all together.
Take a look at our scrambling guides ready to take you on your next adventure.