Many find the prospect of a winter in Scotland intimidating. When first encountering images of Ben Nevis or Ben Macdui in full aspect, they write off an expedition there as something for the professionals, out of the realm of the ‘mere enthusiast’. Gaps in confidence, the need of technical equipment, or the jump in scale, means that a lifelong pledge to make it up Scotland’s iconic peaks in winter is delayed for this year, and then the next, and then the next.
It is of course necessary to be aware that the scale of the Scottish Mountains is generally quite different to those south of the border. When crossing over to the highlands, peaks that break the 1,100meter line become the relative norm, rather than a rare exception. With only 4 summits in the British Isles outside of Scotland that exceed 1000meters, it is easy to imagine it as another world entirely.
It is important to remember that not all of Scotland’s mountains are on this scale. It is still possible to climb quite a few Munroes without pushing much further than an average hill day in the Lake District. If you pick your goals wisely, early success can provide valuable lessons and experience without being too fierce or frightening. Challenge and reward are scattered amongst the slopes and peaks. Scotland could be the place where your winter mountaineering confidence is made.