Prominent summits of the UK and Ireland

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright May 2018, Andrew Hill; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
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Starting with the top 12 most prominent mountains in the UK and Ireland, I hope to develop a sequence of pages continuing down the list.

As well as the absolute height above sea level, the relative height or prominence of the summit is one of the recognised measures of how significant a hill is geographically. For a full discussion of the subject please see Wikipedia entry LinkExternal link

In the earlier sections there will be some notes to help explain the relative height ranking.

For each hill 6 Geograph images will usually be shared to try and provide an overall impression of the summit and some of the features.

The intention is that "Series A" will run through the top 120 in 10 instalments... The top 120 have a prominence of 600m or more, and are listed on Wikipedia, see LinkExternal link

A separate table will be produced for listing hills by name, prominence, summit height and grid reference. Link to follow.

Section A1 / #0001 - #0012

These top 12 are all the mountains in the UK and Ireland that have a prominence of around 3,000 ft / 915m or more, requiring that amount of ascent from the highest col connecting them with higher mountains (or the height above sea level if the highest point of UK, Ireland or one of the other islands). The final two of these are right on the borderline, listed at 915m, so may be just over or just under the 3,000 ft mark.

None of the top 12 is in England - 1 in Wales, 2 in Ireland, 2 Scottish islands are represented (Skye and Mull). The remaining 7 are on the Scottish mainland, three of those being north of / beyond the Great Glen.

Ben Nevis

#0001 // Ben Nevis / Height 1345m / Relative height 1345m / NN1671 (Myriad rank NN/1)

NOTE - Being the high point of Great Britain, the relative height is determined from sea level, because the sea needs to be crossed before it is possible to reach higher ground.

NN1671 : Ben Nevis Summit by Angus NN1671 : Trig point at the summit of Ben Nevis by Steven Brown NN1671 : The cliffs of the north face of Ben Nevis by Peter S NN1671 : Ben Nevis from Beinn a' Bhric by William Starkey

NN1477 : Ben Nevis from near Torlundy by Nigel Brown NN1771 : Carn Mòr Dearg Arête by Russel Wills NN1671 : Top of Gardyloo Gully by Russel Wills NN1671 : The Ben Nevis range from Corpach by The Carlisle Kid

Carn Eige

#0002 // Carn Eige / Height 1183m / Relative height 1147m / NH1226 (Myriad rank NH/1)

NOTES - Carn Eige is second the list because it is the highest point beyond the low-lying fault of the Great Glen which means the "col" between it and Ben Nevis is nearly down to sea level. It is in quite a remote location, and a considerable undertaking is required to reach the summit as indicated by the relatively few photos of different aspects of the mountain. It therefore seems fully worthy of its lofty position in this league table.

NH1226 : Carn Eige by Andrew Smith NH1226 : Summit trig point, Carn Eighe by Jim Barton NH1226 : Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail by Jim Barton
NH1127 : Bealach Beag by Andy Waddington NH1225 : Loch Uaine by trevor willis NH1225 : The southern side of Carn Eige by Nigel Brown


#0003= // Snowdon / Height 1085m / Relative height 1038m / SH6054 (Myriad rank SH/1)

NOTE - Snowdon is the highest in summit in Britain south of the central belt of Scotland, which is where the col is located between Snowdon and Ben Nevis. Snowdon becomes the "parent peak" for the next summit in the list south of the central belt of Scotland.

SH6054 : The summit of Yr Wyddfa by Euan Nelson SH6054 : Snowdon and Y Lliwedd by Gareth James SH6254 : View of Y Gribyn and Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa from the Pyg Track. by John S Turner
SH6155 : Crib Goch, looking towards Snowdon (1085m) and Garnedd Ugain (1065m) by Adele SH6053 : On Bwlch Main by Philip Halling SH6554 : Snowdon panorama from the famous viewpoint by Andrew Hill


#0003= // Carrauntoohil / Height 1038m / Relative height 1038m / V8084 (Myriad rank V/1)

NOTE - Carrauntoohil is the high point for the whole of the island of Ireland. It is suitably rugged and challenging terrain.

V8084 : Macgillycuddy's Reeks: Corrán Tuathail (Carrauntoohil) by Nigel Cox V8084 : The summit of Carrauntoohil by Colin Park V8084 : On The Pinnacles by Adam Ward
V8084 : NE face of Carrauntoohil, with Bro O'Shea's Gulley to RHS by Norman Ekin V8184 : Lake and Mountain by kevin higgins V8084 : Carrauntoohil group from Cruach Mhor by Jim Barton

Sgurr Alasdair

#0005 // Sgurr Alasdair / Height 992m / Relative height 992m / NG4520 (Myriad rank NG/1)

NOTE - Sgurr Alasdair is the high point of the Isle of Skye, so sea level is the reference point. The Cuillin ridge has many dramatic summits, but the prominence of the other tops is small because the ridge stays high over a long distance.

NG4520 : Sgurr Alasdair by John Allan NG4520 : Summit cairn on Sgurr Alasdair by John Allan NG4520 : Sgùrr Alasdair across Coir' a' Ghrunnda by Russel Wills
NG4519 : The north ridge of Sgùrr nan Eag by John Allan NG4422 : The Cuillin ridge at Sgurr na Banachdich by John Allan NG4420 : Sgurr Alasdair by Martyn Ayre

Ben More (Crianlarich)

#0006 // Ben More (Crianlarich) / Height 1174m / Relative height 986m / NN4324 (Myriad rank NN/2)

NOTE - Ben More is not quite as high as #0009 or #0011 but the descent to its relevant col and re-ascent to Ben Nevis is greater. It has a single steep north facing slope near Crianlarich.

NN4324 : Summit of Ben More by Doug Lee NN4324 : The summit of Ben More by Stephen Sweeney NN4324 : Ben More from Stob Binnein by Iain Russell
NN4121 : View towards Ben More (left) and Stob Binnein (right) from near Cruach Ardrain summit by Alan O'Dowd NN4428 : Behind the farm buildings at Auchessan by Stephen Sweeney NN3825 : Ben More from the Crianlarich Community Nature Reserve by Peter S

Ben More (Mull)

#0007 // Ben More (Mull) / Height 966m / Relative height 966m / NM5233 (Myriad rank NM/1)

NOTE - Ben More is the high point of the Isle of Mull.

NM5233 : Ben More Summit Cairn and A' Chioch Ridge by Robert Skipworth NM5133 : Path to Ben More by William Starkey NM5233 : Ben More by Hill Walker
NM5333 : The ridge of A'Chioch by Karl and Ali NM5134 : Mountain lochan on An Gearna by Alan Reid NM5233 : Ben More and A' Chioch by William Starkey

Liathach - Spidean a'Choire Leith

#0008 // Liathach Spidean a'Choire Leith / Height 1055m / Relative height 957m / NG9257 (Myriad rank NG/2)

NOTE - Liathach is the second most prominent peak north of the Great Glen. Many will agree it is worthy of a place in the top ten, having severe slopes on all sides and a long dramatic ridge above Torridon with pinnacles and enough exposure to deter walkers without climbing experience or a good head for heights.

NG9358 : Liathach's central summit of Spidean a' Choire Leith by David Crocker NG9257 : Spidean a' Choire Leith towards The Pinnacles by Chris Wimbush NH0057 : Loch Clair and Liathach by Bob Jones
NG9257 : Liathach - Spidean a'Choire Leith by Rude Health NG9458 : Liathach from Spidean Coire nan Clach by Nigel Brown NG9357 : Retrospective of Liathach Ridge by Robert Skipworth

Ben Macdui

#0009 // Ben Macdui / Height 1309m / Relative height 950m / NN9898 (Myriad rank NN/3)

NOTE - The highest of the Cairngorms, and the second highest summit in Britain, but the col between it and Ben Nevis is a little higher than for some of the mountains listed above.

NN9898 : Trig Point on summit of Ben MacDhui by Eric Sim NN9898 : A winter day on Ben Macdui by Jim Barton NN9899 : Rocky terrain on the approach to the summit of Ben Macdui by Peter S
NN9999 : North-Eastern Slopes of Ben Macdui by Alan Hodgson NN9896 : Ben Macdui from the north ridge of Carn a' Mhaim by Graham Ellis NN9898 : Ben Macdui by Richard Webb

Mount Brandon

#0010 // Mount Brandon / Height 953m / Relative height 934m / Q4611 (Myriad rank Q/1)

NOTE - Isolated on the Dingle peninsula, the col is close to sea level.

Q4611 : Summit of Mount Brandon in the cloud by Sharon Loxton Q4611 : Paternoster Lakes by kevin higgins Q4611 : Brandon Mountain from Brandon Peak by Colin Park
Q4809 : Lough Guttia, Brandon by Jim Barton Q5107 : Brandon Mountain, Co Kerry by Adrian Platt Q4711 : Brandon Mountain Panorama by Adam Ward

Ben Lawers

NOTE - A well known mountain above Loch Tay, just under 4,000 ft. It is relatively accessible and popular, but its slopes are also of importance as nature reserve, with rare plants and animals.

#0011= // Ben Lawers / Height 1214m / Relative height 915m / NN6341 (Myriad rank NN/4)

NN6341 : Ben Lawers - summit cairn by Hill Walker NN6341 : The last bit of the climb to Ben Lawers by Richard Law NN6240 : Ben Lawers from Beinn Ghlas by Richard Webb
NN5839 : View east northeast from Meall nan Tarmachan by Nigel Brown NN7643 : Sheep pasture and mountain by Jim Barton NN6143 : South ridge of Meall a' Choire Leith by Andy Waddington

Sgurr Mor (Fannichs)

#0011= // Sgurr Mor (Fannichs) / Height 1110m / Relative height 915m / NH2071 (Myriad rank NH/2)

NOTE - Another summit north of the Great Glen, indicating more isolated and independent mountains.

NH2071 : Summit of Sgurr Mor by David Brown NH2071 : The summit of Sgùrr Mòr by Nigel Brown NH2071 : Sgurr Mor by Chris Eilbeck
NH2171 : Stalkers' shelter Beinn Liath Mhòr Fannaich by AlastairG NH2071 : View south east from Sgurr Mor by Nigel Brown NH2174 : Allt a' Mhadaidh and the peaks of Sgurr Mor and Carn na Criche by Julian Paren


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