The best Scottish island peaks – and how to climb them

This is Trail magazine's collection of the finest peaks on the wild and dramatic Scottish islands - plus our recommended routes up them.

The view of Blabheinn from Loch Slapin.

by Trail magazine |

Scotland's west coast is home to a collection of beautiful islands that boast some of the finest mountain scenery on the planet. So many, in fact, that it's hard to know where to start.

The collection of walks below includes 6 of the Hebridean highlights from our Trail 100{:target=_blank :rel=noreferrer noopener}bucket list, with tips on the best routes to walk them by and an interactive map for each.

CLICK HERE to view our full collection of the best mountains on Scotland's islands in Komoot, then scroll down for full descriptions, photos and routes for each peak.

The Inaccessible Pinnacle, Isle of Skye

Britain's greatest scrambles: The Inaccessible Pinnacle, Isle of Skye
Yep, that huge fang of rock really is the summit. ©Ben Weeks, Trail magazine

Sgurr Dearg, more commonly known as the Inaccessible Pinnacle, is an exposed blade of rock that juts upwards from Skye's notorious Cuillin Ridge. Many people believe this is the hardest mountain summit in Britain to bag. Reaching the top involves a roped-up and nerve-shredding scramble, and getting down is even more thrilling by way of an abseil off the back. Even if you never climb the 'In Pinn', you have to go and see it with your own eyes.

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Sgurr nan Gillean, Isle of Skye

sgurr nan gillean
The iconic view of 'The Peak of the Young Men' from Sligachan.

The jagged mountains of Skye's Black Cuillin are rightly regarded as some of Scotland's most fearsome and visually spectacular, but Sgurr nan Gillean still stands out. The view above is the one most people remember, gazed upon from the safety of Sligachan bridge and offering up the first view of the Cuillin to most Skye visitors. Reaching its tiny summit (one of the UK’s best) involves a short and horribly exposed section of Grade 2 scrambling, where you're likely to be grateful for the security of a rope. And it couldn't be more worth it.

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Beinn an Oir, Isle of Jura

Beinn an Oir and Beinn Shiantaidh from Beinn a' Chaolais, by Peter Edwards.

At 785m Beinn an Oir is the highest peak on Jura and makes up one-third of the island's famous 'Paps' – three unique mountains in this secretive part of Scotland's Inner Hebrides. Although not high enough to reach Munro status, this is a popular Corbett offering up great views across western Scotland. Its scree slopes can feel gruelling, but the rewards are worth the effort.

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Bla Bheinn, Isle of Skye

Sizing up the south ridge of Blabheinn, which provides one of the finest viewpoints of Skye’s Black Cuillin peaks.
Sizing up the south ridge of Bla Bheinn, which provides one of the finest viewpoints of Skye’s Black Cuillin peaks.

Detached from the main Black Cuillin Ridge but formed of the same distinctive gabbro rock, this shapely outlier offers plenty of challenge and scenery that feels out of this world. From Loch Slapin, it is a steep scramble over grippy rock to the summit of ‘The Blue Mountain’ – from where the spiky wonders of the Skye's famous ridge rise spectacularly into view ahead.

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Ben More, Isle of Mull

Ben More horseshoe
Looking back to A’Chioch from the north-east ridge of Ben More.

Ben More is the highest peak on the wildlife-rich Isle of Mull, the only island Munro outside of Skye, and a favourite finishing point for many people as they 'compleat' their round of all 282 of Scotland's Munros. It can be walked easily enough from the north on a path that starts beside Loch na Keal, but the interesting north-eastern ridge (above) that links to neighbouring A'Chioch is the way to do it.

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Askival, Isle of Rum

Askival, Isle of Rum

The Isle of Skye isn’t the only Scottish island with a Cuillin ridge. The extraordinary island of Rum has its own alternative version – and Askival is its crown, the highest and most satisfying peak of the Rum Cuillin. The majestic pyramidal peak is the highlight of this classic Inner Hebrides ridge traverse.

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CLICK HERE to view the full collection of our favourite mountains on Scotland's islands in Komoot.

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