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The UK's fastest and slowest mountain climbs

Julie Smith 24 August 2021

After a difficult 2020, more people than ever before are embracing the beauty of the Great British outdoors and challenging themselves to climb some of the UK’s highest mountains. Luckily the Brecon Beacons is home to the beautiful Black Mountains and filled with a variety of glorious peaks that are surrounded by some of the country’s finest scenery. 

But how do these Welsh peaks compare to those within the rest of the UK in terms of popularity, difficulty and length of time to climb?  Using data available on Strava we have pored over data for the best British mountains to see which ones come out on top.

To compare like with like we have only included routes with a continuous ascent to the top and no downhill sections. We have also taken the data from the most popular climb for each. For each mountain we have also compared the pace per KM of the fastest, slowest and median climbers to give a comprehensive overall result. 

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⛰️ The fastest mountain climbs

⛰️ The slowest mountain climbs

⛰️The most popular mountain climbs

⛰️ The hardest mountain climbs

⛰️ The slowest mountain climbs

The UK’s ten fastest mountain climbs

UK's fastest mountain climbs

Three Welsh mountains feature in the UK's ten fastest mountain climbs along with peaks in Yorkshire, Somerset the Peak District and the Lakes. Cleve Hill in Gloucestershire takes the prize as the mountain which walkers climb with the fastest average pace per KM. The Sugar Loaf comes in at number 10 overall making it the fastest mountain to climb in the Brecon Beacons.    

  1. Cleeve Hill, Gloucestershire
  2. Caerphilly Mountain, South Wales
  3. Hope Mountain, North Wales
  4. Pen-y-Ghent, Yorkshire
  5. Dunkery Beacon, Somerset
  6. High Peak, Peak District
  7. Black Combe, Lake District
  8. Selworthy Beacon, Somerset
  9. Stiperstones, Shropshire
  10. Sugar Loaf, Brecon Beacons

The UK’s ten slowest mountain climbs

UK's slowest mountain climbs

All of the UK's ten slowest mountain climbs are either in Wales, Scotland or the Lake District so these regions are perfect if you fancy really stretching your legs on a challenging walk.  Walkers tackling Mellbreak in the Lake District had the average slowest pace per KM during their climb, closely followed by Ben More in Scotland and Y Garn which is part of the Snowdonia National Park.

  1. Mellbreak, Lake District
  2. Ben More, Scotland
  3. Y Garn, Wales
  4. Helvellyn, Lake District
  5. Beinn Narnain, Scotland
  6. Hallin Fell, Lake District
  7. Ben Nevis, Scotland
  8. Scafell Pike, Lake District
  9. Loughrigg Fell, Lake District
  10. Tarn Crag, Lake District

Most popular UK mountains - Pen y Fan

While compiling the various facts and figures we’ve also taken a look at which mountains have the most popular climbing routes and some clear winners have emerged. According to our research Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons is the UK’s most popular mountain climb, followed by Catbells in the Lake District and Ben Nevis in Scotland.  

Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales complete the top 5.

  1. Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons 
  2. Catbells , Lake District
  3. Ben Nevis, Scotland
  4. Snowdon, North Wales
  5. Corn Du, Brecon Beacons
  6. Pen-y-Ghent, Yorkshire
  7. Ben Lomond, Scotland
  8. Dumyat, Scotland
  9. Whernside, Yorkshire
  10. Helvellyn, Lake District

UK’s hardest mountain routes to climb

Hardest UK mountains to climb

To work out the hardest mountain routes we have used a combination of the average steepness and number of metres climbed for each peak. These UK mountain routes are perfect if you fancy challenging yourself to one of the UK's trickiest hikes:

  1. Ben More, Scotland
  2. Beinn Narnain, Scotland
  3. Ben Nevis, Scotland
  4. Ben Vorlich, Scotland
  5. Great Gable, Lake District
  6. Ben Lomond, Scotland
  7. Slieve Donard, Norther Ireland
  8. Skiddaw, Lake District
  9. Y Garn, Wales
  10. The Old Man of Coniston, Lake District

UK's easiest mountain routes to climb

Easiest UK mountains to climb

If you're just starting out or just fancy taking things a little easier with a less strenuous climb, here are the ten easiest routes to tackle:

  1. Kisdon, Yorkshire
  2. Hay Bluff from Gospel's Pass, Brecon Beacons
  3. Cleeve Hill, Gloucestershire
  4. Caerphilly Mountain, South Wales
  5. Twmpa, Brecon Beacons
  6. Bloodybush, Northumberland
  7. High Peak, Peak District
  8. Dumyat, Scotland
  9. Moel Famau, Wales
  10. Selworthy Beacon, Somerset

Discover the mountains of the Brecon Beacons

If you have been inspired to climb some of the UK's finest mountains, you'll find a stunning selection of scenic peaks within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Read our ultimate guide to the Black Mountains to learn more about peaks such as the Sugar Loaf, Hay Bluff and The Skirrid and plan a wonderful outdoor adventure in the Brecon Brecons National Park.



Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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