Best Munro to climb in autumn

IF YOU are comfortable bagging those Munros in summer and now want to feel slightly hardier without actually carting an ice axe and crampons about, then autumn is the ideal compromise. Here are five good ones to tick off right now:

1 BLA BHEINN (3,045ft)

Some people find the mountains of Skye daunting, and they can certainly be scary in winter. But at this time of year, if you're lucky, there is nowhere better to be. The air is crisp and clear, yet you won't freeze. This hill, which rises from the sea and stands alone, facing the main Cuillin ridge in all its glory, could give you a day to remember. Don't forget your camera.

2 AN SOCACH (3,018ft)

One of the lower Munros (its name, rather pleasingly, means "the snout") but also a tiring one - it's a long walk up remote Glen Affric to get there. That walk, though, can be spectacular in the glory of the autumn colours. An alternative is to take your bike and use it for the approach to the hill.

3 BEN VORLICH (3,232ft)

This bracing but straightforward hill in the Trossachs has excellent views over Loch Earn, and your road journey to the start is almost bound to be through golden foliage galore. Reward yourself after the climb with a fish supper in nearby Callander.

4 CARN A' CHLAMAIN (3,159ft)

THE woods of Glen Tilt are beautiful in autumn, with countless marvellous beech trees to admire. This hill is far more manageable than the better known Beinn a' Ghlo on the opposite side of the glen. It's so gentle even Queen Victoria got to the summit, though she did cheat by riding a horse.

5 SGURR MHOR (3,232ft)

Torridon is sometimes seen at its best in autumn, when you can pause as often as you like, often in delectable solitude and unplagued by midges, to enjoy the sun sparkling off the lochs. This peak, the highest of several that together form Beinn Alligin, "the jewelled hill", is a fine place to start.

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