By Cecilia Mariani
Ben More is the highest peak and the only Munro on the Isle of Mull, which sits off the mainland of Scotland to the west of Oban. Ben More is only 966m high, but as the highest point on the island the views from it are breathtaking. I climbed it around two years ago, on a warm and snow-free winter’s day. I was with two friends, and we had come to Mull for a three days camping trip. It was so warm that February that it really felt like the start of spring.
Although small in size, Mull has a lot to offer. It’s great for hiking, cycling, strolling along the beach, wildlife watching, it has some great historic sites to visit and restaurants where you can find the best seafood. It even has its own bothy for some overnight adventures. But, if your eyes are always looking up to find the next peak to climb, then Ben More is the obvious objective, and one of my all time favourite walks.
The first attractive thing about Ben More is that it’s on an island, so you have to take a ferry to get to it. I think it makes every trip feel a bit more like an adventure. Plus, Scottish islands are little communities somewhat detached from the rest of the world, full of their own little secrets and hidden corners.
What has always fascinated me about hiking mountains and Munros in Scotland (and in most places in the UK and Ireland) is that you can walk from the sea to the summit. And this is certainly the case for Ben More – the car park is right on the shore. There’s no cheating with cable cars or parking on high mountain passes here. If you want to get to the top you have to hike every single one of those 966 metres. Your legs might curse you at the time, but you’ll definitely feel a great sense of achievement at the top.
On the day we hiked up Ben More, we were to be treated to the illusive magic of a cloud inversion. These occur through a combination of cold temperatures and high pressure, and are more common in winter. There is something quite special about standing on top of a mountain that stands clear of the clouds like an island in a sea of cotton wool. We felt extremely lucky to be on top of Ben More at that moment, on a island, on an island.
Once you have made the descent and sweated a little more with the final effort, you arrive back at the shore. If you enjoy a bracing dip this would be a perfect spot for a swim! There’s no better thing after a hot summer’s day hiking. It would be sure to get you refreshed and ready for that beer waiting for you in Tobermory. (As it was February we decided against it but we were tempted.)
Ben More became one of my favourite walks that day and I sing its praises to anyone who will listen. It is a great mountain in it’s own right, but added to an island adventure and with the right weather it can be really special indeed. So pack your bag, lace up your boots, and don’t forget your swimsuit!
If you are interested in a guided walk on this or any other walks, hikes and treks in our ‘Favourite Walks’ series just get in touch with us by email, phone or through our social media pages. firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: Be careful to pick the right Ben More. There’s another Ben More above Crianlarich, in the Highlands. No ferry to get there. So make sure you’re going to the right one!)