Some Mountains, Hills and Summits of Great Britain

These pages feature some of the many mountains, hills, fells, summits and high points in Britain. The criteria for inclusion are that (1) I've climbed the hill in question, and (2) that I've taken a photo at the summit. Wherever possible there is also a picture of the hill from a neighbouring summit or adjacent valley, or a picture of the view from the top.

See the home page for an explanation of the status terms (Munro, Corbett, Marylin, Hewitt, et al).

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Location: Lake District, Eastern Fells
Grid Ref: NY 380143
Height: 2041 ft (622 m)
Status: Wainwright, Nuttall

Notes: Birks is the eastern outlier of St Sunday Crag, itself a satellite of Fairfield. It is on intimate terms with the lower third of Ullswater and the view of the lake from here is particularly fine; also of note is the panorama of fells crowding in around Patterdale to the south and the valley of Grizedale to the southwest. The ascent is straightforward and enjoyable; leave the Grizedale lane at NY386158 and take the path climbing through Glenamara Park to Thornhow End, which is steep but very well constructed, and then follow the plainer path along to the col between Birks and St Sunday Crag, where you turn hard left for a simple stroll to the summit.

Black Down

Location: South Downs, West Sussex
Grid Ref: SU 919296
Height: 919 ft (280 m)
Status: Marilyn, County Top (West Sussex)

Notes: This trig pillar presumably once stood on open heath but nowadays it is surrounded by forest. It marks the topmost point of an area of heathland a couple of miles southeast of Haslemere, on the Surrey / West Sussex / Hampshire border. The summit itself lacks interest but Black Down as a whole is splendid walking country, featuring a generous networks of paths, cycle tracks and viewpoints. A good portion of the South Downs, from Ditchling Beacon to Butser Hill, is visible from the viewpoint about 600m south of the trig point.

Black Fell

Location: Lake District, Southern Fells
Grid Ref: NY 340015
Height: 1059 ft (323 m)
Status: Wainwright, Clement

Notes: Black Fell stands roughly a mile north of Tarn Hows, near Coniston. Like many of the lower Lakeland summits it makes up in ruggedness what it lacks in height and is surprisingly rocky. The most direct ascent is a simple stroll by a path from the lane between the fell and Tarn Hows. As Black Fell is the first high ground west of Windermere the views around the eastern and southern arcs are extensive, while a huge panorama of Lakeland summits fills the views to the north and west.

Black Mixen

Location: Radnor Forest, Powys
Grid Ref: SO 196643
Height: 2133 ft (650 m)
Status: Hewitt, Nuttall

Notes: Part of the Great Rhos group of hills in the Radnor Forest, Black Mixen is home to a radio mast, a couple of associated buildings and some engineering debris. The surrounding terrain is unpleasant, cloying moorland. Black Mixen is best gained from the forest tracks immediately to the east; if you approach from either Bache Hill or Great Rhos as part of a round then you're in for a bit of pathless walking. A summit for collectors only, and not a place to be in poor weather.

Black Mountain

Location: Black Mountains
Grid Ref: SO 255350
Height: 2306 ft (703 m)
Status: Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, County Top (Herefordshire)

Notes: It's not black and it isn't a mountain, but it is the highest point on the England/Wales border. A long heathland ridge, it is traversed by the Offa's Dyke long distance path. The summit is unmarked, in fact it's pretty nearly impossible to tell when you're at the highest point as the gradients along the ridgetop are imperceptible. A road immediately to the west (Hay-on-Wye to Capel-y-Ffin) allows access to the ridge at a number of points and non-drivers can take advantage of the summer Sunday bus from Hay. The view mainly encompasses similar ridges to the left and right, with other summits of the Black Mountain range predominating. For better views walk a mile north to Hay Bluff.

Black Mountain (South Top)

Location: Black Mountains
Grid Ref: SO 266322
Height: 2090 ft (637 m)
Status: Nuttall

Notes: Black Mountain's south top is very similar to its parent fell except that the summit is actually obvious, and that there's a view across part of rural Herefordshire towards the Malvern Hills. It can be climbed in roughly an hour from Capel-y-Ffin and no doubt all who climb it will go on to Black Mountain itself and then Hay Bluff.

Blackstone Edge

Location: South Pennines
Grid Ref: SD 972164
Height: 1549 ft (472 m)
Status: Clement

Notes: The main watershed of Britain rises to this craggy height between Rochdale and Huddersfield in the narrowest part of the Pennines. Blackstone Edge is on the route of the Pennine Way and is a remarkable outcrop of gritstone overlooking Rochdale to the west. It is roughly midway between the A672 at Windy Hill and the A58 at the White House above Littleborough, and can easily be ascended from either in less than thirty minutes.

Blea Rigg

Location: Lake District, Central Fells
Grid Ref: NY 301078
Height: 1775 ft (541 m)
Status: Wainwright

Notes: Blea Rigg is the greater part of a huge shoulder of upland that runs down from the Langdale Pikes to the southeast, terminating ultimately at Loughrigg. The most obvious feature of Blea Rigg is the daunting line of crags on its north slope, overlooking Easedale. The true summit is a matter of guesswork for the ridge contains a number of outcrops and tors. The one pictured here does not match Wainwright's drawing but does appear to be the highest point. Blea Rigg is most easily climbed from Easedale Tarn by a path to the southwest. The panorama is confined by the huge bulk of High Raise and its satellites but it does give an excellent view of Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark, while the Helvellyn and Fairfield ranges are well seen to the east together with the Coniston group to the south.

Bleaberry Fell

Location: Lake District, Central Fells
Grid Ref: NY 285195
Height: 1932 ft (590 m)
Status: Wainwright

Notes: Bleaberry Fell is the northernmost top of the ridge that stretches northwards from the Langdale Pikes between Derwentwater and Thirlmere. It is an excellent viewpoint for Keswick itself and also shows Skiddaw, Grizedale Pike and the Eel Grag group off to great advantage. The fell can be climbed from Keswick via Walla Crag in just over an hour. Walla Crag (to the north) and Falcon Crag (to the west) both have superb views over Derwentwater. The path southwards to High Seat and High Tove is rather boggy.


Location: Peak District, Derbyshire
Grid Ref: SK 092959
Height: 2077 ft (633 m)
Status: Hewitt, Nuttall

Notes: Bleaklow lays on the route of the Pennine Way and thus is blessed with well trodden and well maintained routes to its summit. Were this not the case it is doubtful whether Bleaklow would ever be visited other than by hardy list tickers, for it is a remote moorland top surrounded by exceptionally difficult terrain. Even with the assistance of the Pennine Way one does arrive at Bleaklow's cairn with a sense of accomplishment. Bleaklow lays at the centre of a broad and largely flat upthrust of peat moorland and hence there are no views, save of the equally inhospitable rises of Black Hill to the north and Kinder Scout to the south. The summit is one hour's climb from Snake Pass or one and a half hours from Longendale.

Blease Fell

Location: Lake District, Northern Fells
Grid Ref: NY 312270
Height: 2638 ft (804 m)
Status: none

Notes: Blancathra's far west top. The summit is not really significant, except as Blencathra's best viewpoint for Keswick and Derwentwater. Rather it's the vast, convex grassy slope that descends to the Glenderaterra valley to the west that is well known, for it's this face that Blencathra presents to Keswick, and this face that a substantial majority of fellwalkers choose for their descent from the ridge back to Threlkeld. It's sheer tedium and is hell on the knees and calves, but everyone seems to agree that it would be far worse as an ascent. If you do climb Blencathra this way, Blease Fell summit will be a little piece of heaven.

Blencathra (a.k.a. Saddleback)

Location: Lake District, Northern Fells
Grid Ref: NY 323277
Height: 2848 ft (868 m)
Status: Wainwright, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall

Notes: Saddleback may be the popular name for this splendid fell, but Blencathra is its proper name and it's known as such to all serious fellwalkers. It's the eastern neighbour of Skiddaw in Lakeland's northern fells, and towers over the village of Threlkeld at its foot. From Clough Head (top picture) Blencathra is revealed as a ridge with several tops, each with a supporting buttress falling to the Keswick - Penrith gap below. The highest top is Hallsfell, at the eastern end of the ridge. Surprisingly, there is no trig pillar, just a simple cairn. The easiest way up is by the well-trodden path from Scales up the eastern shoulder of Scales Fell. The superb views take in most of Lakeland and the northern Pennines.

Bonscale Pike
Bonscale Pike

Location: Lake District, Far Eastern Fells
Grid Ref: NY 453200
Height: 1719 ft (524 m)
Status: Wainwright

Notes: Bonscale Pike is not really a seperate fell at all though it has that appearance when viewed from nearby Howtown. It's really just a minor top of Loadpot Hill. It can be climbed by way of a very steep grassy path from Howtown though it's probably more often approached from its neighbour, Arthur's Pike. The view of Howtown and Ullswater is excellent, and so is the view of the High Street ridges to the south. The Helvelln range is well presented to the west, but to the east the view is shut in by the rather dreary bulk of Loadpot Hill.

Botley Hill

Location: North Downs, Surrey
Grid Ref: TQ 396553
Height: 875 ft (267 m)
Status: Marilyn

Notes: Boring name, boring hill. Botley Hill is the highest part of that section of the North Downs straddling the meeting point of London, Kent and Surrey (and as such is the nearest Marylin to London), but the summit itself is a disappointment. The top of the downs here is flat, and the highest point lays within a pasture grazed by sheep. A road runs right past the trig point, which is just the other side of the hedge (and, to the chagrin of purist summit baggers, is not actually at the highest point which is some thirty metres away within the pasture). There is no view. The surrounding countryside is very pleasant, however, and you could justify a visit to Botley Hill by walking a local section of the North Downs Way (which passes only a few hundred metres away) and taking in this "summit" as an afterthought. (Update; the ground near the radio mast is now known to be higher than the trig point and hence is the true summit; I shall need to revisit this hill someday).

Bowscale Fell

Location: Lake District, Northern Fells
Grid Ref: NY 333305
Height: 2303 ft (702 m)
Status: Wainwright, Hewitt, Nuttall

Notes: Bowscale Fell is a lonely summit standing northeast of Blencathra, its parent fell, in the north of the Lake District. It's a grassy dome tucked in between loops of the Calder and Glenderamackin rivers, and is probably best climbed from the path along Bannerdale from the village of Mungrisedale to the east. The most obvious features of the view are the vast "Back o' Skiddaw" wilderness to the northwest and the arresting sight of Blencathra just west of south. There's also a good view eastwards towards the northern Pennines on clear days.

Bradnor Hill

Location: Herefordshire
Grid Ref: SO 282584
Height: 1283 ft (391 m)
Status: Marilyn, Clement

Notes:Bradnor Hill is situated immediately to the north of Kington in Herefordshire. While it's not the only summit to be situated on a golf course it is unique in that it forms one of the course's tees. From the golf course's clubhouse take the vehicle track to the north northwest and then work your way round to the summit in an anticlockwise direction, taking care not to put any golfers off their strokes. The hill is open access land. There is a good view of the verdant hills of Herefordshire and Powys though there is no foreground interest. The Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains and the Malverns are the highlights of the panorama. 

Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain

Location: Scottish Highlands, Perthshire
Grid Ref: NN 925724
Height: 3510 ft (1070 m)
Status:  Munro, Murdo, Marilyn

Notes: One of the Beinn a' Ghlo group, Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain is best ascended by first climbing Carn Liath (q.v.) and then following the ridge. There's a good path all the way though there is quite a substantial drop between the two summits. The view is dominated by Beinn a' Ghlo's principal top, Carn nan Gabhar, and its outlier, Airgiod Bheinn, filling the eastern arc. The Cairngorms are well displayed to the north, and the main feature eastwards is the Ben Lawers massif. A really fine climb.

Bram Rigg Top

Location: Howgill Fells
Grid Ref: SD 668964
Height: 2205 ft (672 m)
Status: Nuttall

Notes: A minor top in the Howgills, midway between Calders and The Calf and off to the left of the main ridge path. There are paths to and from the little cairn, although none are shown on the map. The neighbouring hills dominate the scene to the north and south, with wild, empty valleys to the east and west. About ten minutes' walk from Calders.

Bredon Hill

Location: Vale of Evesham
Grid Ref: SO 957402
Height: 981 ft (299 m)
Status: Marilyn

Notes: Bredon Hill lays alone within the Vale of Evesham, a broad, wooded hill covering an area of several square miles. It stands above the lovely village of Elmley Castle, about four miles west of Evesham, from where there is a track to the top. This ascent is exceptionally muddy but it does hide the best of the views until you reach the summit. The panorama is allegedly glorious, taking in the Cotswolds, the Malvern Hills, the Forest of Dean, Black Mountain and the whole of the vale of the Severn from Bristol to Birmingham - though on the day I climbed Bredon Hill in March 2005 a dense fog denied me any view whatsoever. The summit is a broad pasture ringed by a drystone wall and some Iron Age earthworks. There is a topograph set within a lone rock, while a couple of hundred metres to the south a squat brick tower (pictured) appears to occupy the highest point of the hill.

Broad Cairn

Location: Scottish Highlands, Mounth
Grid Ref: NO 240815
Height: 3274 ft (998 m)
Status: Munro, Murdo

Notes: Broad Cairn is part of the Lochnagar massif and is one of two Munros laying to the south of the Dubh Loch. Access is easy, there being a vehicle track from Spittal of Glenmuick to within half a kilometre of the summit. A path goes most of the rest of the way though the summit dome itself is defended by a tedious boulder field. The view is excellent, ranging over the whole of the eastern Mounth, the tops of the Cairngorms and the lower hills of Angus and Aberdeenshire.

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This page last updated 6th May 2011