It’s often said there is no such thing as winter hillwalking - it’s real mountaineering. This gives some idea of the added seriousness of tackling any of Scotland’s Munros in the snowy season.
The rewards of the winter mountains are greater too - changing conditions underfoot mean that no day is the same, and many of the mountains take on an almost Alpine grandeur.
A safety first approach
When taking on Scotland’s mountains in the winter, erring on the side of caution is essential.
Few daylight hours as well as changeable and often severe weather need to be taken into account. All hillwalkers should gain some summer experience before taking to the hills in winter.
Navigation is more difficult than in summer, and you need to be able to assess which routes and terrain will be safe in the current conditions.
When there is snow lying you need to carry an ice axe and crampons, and know how to use them. If inexperienced, consider going on a winter skills course - there are many excellent instructors available.
Also, be sure to check and understand the avalanche forecast as well as the weather.
Munros to try in winter
One of the closest Munros to the central belt, Ben Chonzie has the feel of a high rolling moorland in summer conditions. It’s at its best when covered with a white blanket - watch out for graceful mountain hares in their winter coats. (Read more)
The great cone-like peak of Schiehallion is one of the most famous Munros. The well-made path up from the Braes of Foss car park is hidden by the snow, but if you get good conditions hard névé can ease the going over the bouldery summit ridge. (Read more)
The Torridon region has some of the most spectacular mountains in the country, but many of them can become quite technical ascents in winter conditions. Nearby Fionn Bheinn above Achnasheen is more amenable, and on a good winter’s day gives truly spectacular Alpine views. (Read more)
The most Easterly Munro offers a choice of approaches. A beautiful option is through the magnificent pinewoods of Glen Tanar from the north, but this is a long route for a short winter’s day. Much quicker is the ascent from the south, beginning at Glen Mark at the head of Glen Esk. (Read more)
Beinn na Lap
This rounded Munro is another great viewpoint, with the added attraction that the start of the walk can only be reached by train on the West Highland Line - an unforgettable journey on a sunny winter’s day. (Read more)
Cairn na Caim and A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag, Drumochter
These two summits lie on a vast rolling plateau to the east side of the A9 through the Drumochter Pass. Unloved by many summer visitors, under good snow cover they offer an entirely different experience, but one calling for very careful and exact navigation as the upper slopes become a featureless white world. (Read more)
Paul Webster is the co-author of The Munros: A Walkhighlands guide, published by Pocket Mountains