Mountain Guides in Scotland

When thinking of places that people might want to engage mountain guides, Scotland probably doesn’t come as high up the list as The Alps, or Nepal, or Peru.  In Britain we have a strong do-it yourself tradition in our own hills. That hasn’t always been the case though. The Victorians recognised the value of local experts and would often explore the mountains of Scotland and even the Lake District fells with guides.

One reason for going with a mountain guide in Scotland may be to achieve a goal that is technically beyond you.  A good example of this can be found here on Skye, where, on the crest of the Cuillin, we have the only mountain summit in Britain which requires rock climbing skills to get to – the Inaccessible Pinnacle of Sgurr Dearg. Many hillwalkers attempt to complete a round of the “Munros” (Scottish mountains over 3000ft) and unless they have climbing skills or know someone who does , then engaging the services of a guide is the only option for them. A fine bank holiday weekend at the In Pinn will usually see a fair selection of the mountain guides in Scotland in attendance with their groups.  If you’re looking for a serene and peaceful Skye experience then perhaps it’s best to avoid the Inaccessible Pinnacle at May Bank Holiday time!  A guide can also help you push the envelope a little, if you’re wanting to attempt some of the more challenging mountain routes such as the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe or a traverse of Liathach or An Teallach in North West Scotland.  They can also pass on some of their skills to you, so you come better prepared to tackle those more challenging routes for yourself next time.


There are plenty of other reasons for going with mountain guides in Scotland.  You may be an experienced competent hill goer who wants to get the best out of an unfamiliar area and maximise your use of time.  A guide, with their local knowledge and ability to assess what is going to be a rewarding excursion for you or your group, can greatly assist in this.

Sometimes the role of  mountain guides in Scotland is not to deliver technical skills but to enhance enjoyment.  A guide will probably have spent a long time in Scotland gaining their experience and this means that not only can they manage your safety, on a remote backpacking trip for instance, but their knowledge of the history, culture and natural environment of the area will make your trip all the more fulfilling.


Our guides at Mountain Freedom, wherever we’re operating in Scotland, are experienced and qualified to the standard required to lead your chosen activity.  That could be low level or mountain walking, scrambling, rock climbing or wild camping and backpacking.  Qualifications are administered by a national body, Mountain Training UK, who carry out thorough training and assessment courses.  Our guides often hold multiple “tickets” qualifying them in differing disciplines such as various categories of walking and climbing, even canoeing and mountain biking.  We have guides of levels of qualification ranging from UIAGM (International Mountain Guide) to WGL (Walking Group Leader) working with us.  Additional to their qualification, and just as importantly, our guides have great local knowledge and lots of experience working with all sorts of different groups. They also know how to cook great food on a camp stove!


  1. Catherine Thompson Reply

    Hello, I have previously contacted re hiring a guide on the isle of Skye. I am interested in attempting the Cullin ridge but do not have the experience to complete this alone. I am looking to get a few people together and hire a guide.
    Possible dates would be from the 1st June until 6/7th.
    Could you please let me know an estimated cost of such a thing for around 4 people?
    I am not sure how long it would take to complete this and if it can be done in one go or if it would have to be done as individual day trips but we would be keep to camp out if this facility is possible?

    • Ian Reply

      Hi Catherine, I replied to your PM by email before I saw this – additionally to the info I offered in the email, yes it’s possible to tackle the Cuillin in a series of forays, and this is probably a better bet for less widely experienced mountaineers than attempting to traverse the whole ridge in one go, which is a serious undertaking calling for luck with the weather as well as good fitness and a fair amount of previous experience. it’s also a cheaper option as the logistics are less complex and level of commitment a bit more forgiving! Have a look at our Skye Ridges and Scrambles or Skye Munros programmes, there are groups you could join doing this on various dates throughout the season, and we could certainly arrange something that fits your dates if you don’t see anything that fits your diary. Tackling things in a “non-linear” order allows you to develop your skills progressively over the course of several outings. And yes, you can do this with a wild camping/bivvying approach. I’ll email you again with some additional info. Cheers, Ian

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