Aonach Eagach ridge Scotland

Aonach Eagach: Is this Great Britain’s scariest hike?

Author: Naomi Dunbar

Over the next few months we’ll be continuing our scariest hikes in the world series, in which we will bring you hiking trails that are so scary, just reading about them will make your pulse rise and your palms start to sweat. So far, we’ve looked further afield at the likes of Angels Landing in Utah and Mount Huashan in China, but today we’ve decided to stay a little closer home with Aonach Eagach – a thrilling knife-edge ride walk in Scotland.

The Aonach Eagach ridge is located in Glen Coe, which is in western Scotland and forms part of the Scottish Highlands. The ridge towers at 953m high and is often thought of as the UK’s toughest ridge walk, and with good reason, as its tricky to traverse and has drop offs that’ll leave you needing to promptly change your underwear.

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Aonach Eagach is rated as a grade two scramble, so scrambling experience is necessary and hikers may want the protection of a rope in some sections, but its the sheer drops and the spine-tingling exposure which gives it its scariest hikes in the world status.

The ridge itself is only six miles long, but with many butt-clenching downward manoeuvres, physically demanding upward scrambles, and exposed sections that’ll leave you clinging on like a limpet, you’ll need to allow yourself some extra time to make sure you can complete the hike in good daylight.

Vigilance and caution is needed at all times when scrambling this ridge route, and it is best not to tackle it unless you are an experienced scrambler. Is is also advisable to only attempt it with good weather on your side. The rocks can be extremely slippery when saturated and you don’t want to be battling with vicious winds on top of a knife-edge ride.

The ridge has, unfortunately, seen several deaths over the last 10 years, with the most recent being in 2017. Some of the fatalities were experienced hikers, which just proves we need to take the utmost care when traversing technical mountain routes.

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The mountainous landscape that surrounds Aonach Eagach is simply jaw-dropping and I’m sure you’ll recognise many of its surrounding mountains such as Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK, and the Three Sisters standing proudly in the distance.

Video of Aonach Eagach from above


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