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The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

01st February 2021

Taking a walk with a purpose keeps little feet warm and creates life-long memories, and even a love of climbing. Scaling a mountain is the biggest of adventures...

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

01st February 2021

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

01st February 2021

The views, the measurable height achieved (try to choose a peak where you can see the summit before you start), and the sense of accomplishment are unparalleled. Check the weather, pack plenty of snacks, and prepare to ascend!

1 Snowdon, Wales
It’s a big mountain (the biggest in Wales, and the highest point in the UK outside the Scottish Highlands). Climbing Mount Snowdon is a proper adventure, but within the capabilities of many children. It’s not easy, and will take 4–8 hours; Walk Snowdon suggests taking the PYG route up, and back down the Miners’ Track. Of course, the Mountain Railway runs to the summit; inexperienced walkers can take it up or back and halve their trekking. It’s the blockbuster of mountains – there’s a gift shop and cafe at the top, but the sense of achievement when you tackle this big one is unsurpassable. walkupsnowdon.co.uk

2 Ben A’an, Trossachs
A hill that thinks it’s a mountain in the heart of the Trossachs, the views from your ascent will take your breath away (if it hasn’t already been snatched by the climbs). The vistas across Loch Katrine and Loch Achray are stunning at any time, but particularly at sunset. It’s a 4km hike on a signed path to the pointy-topped summit, but the varied landscape ensures you’ll feel as if you’ve journeyed across continents; forests, moorlands and crags, and it’s easy enough for little legs. It’s a popular trek; be prepared to share the summit. walkhighlands.co.uk

3 Cley Hill, Wiltshire
Tell tales of UFOs and aliens as you climb this extra-terrestrial hot-spot – at night it becomes an unofficial observatory for spotting strange lights, flying objects and little green men. In the 1960s, a craft dubbed ‘The Warminster Thing’ was a regular visitor! It’s a short but steep walk up the wild flower-strewn, chalky slopes to the summit, but once you get to the top, the lush views of Wiltshire and Somerset are ample reward. If you’re lucky, you may even spot crop circles in the fields down below. Legend has it that the hill was formed by the devil when he dropped a sack of earth with which he had planned to bury the town of Devizes. We’re not sure that’s entirely true, but we do know that an Iron Age hill fort and barrows have been discovered here. nationaltrust.org.uk

4 Cat Bells, Cumbria
The distinctive shape of Cat Bells draws climbers to it from across the Lake District. Start your day with a trip on the Derwent Water Motor Launch across the water to Hawse End, then head up into the clouds. This used to be lead mining country; there are still mine shafts on its slopes. It’s an easy, family-friendly ascent, and “a place beloved” according to Alfred Wainwright. The views are verdant and rich; fells, huge skies, and the mirror-like lake of Derwent Water, strung with little boats. This place was a favourite of Beatrix Potter; she used the surroundings as locations for her books – Mrs Tiggy-Winkle lived behind a little wooden door on this very mountain. Will you spot her? nationaltrust.org.uk

5 Divis and the Black Mountain, Belfast
The incredible views from Divis and the Black Mountain ridge give a peregrine’s-eye view of Belfast; tower blocks, docks, factories and houses, all of which melt into the Antrim Plateau, Mourne Mountains and, far in the distance, Scotland and Wales. This archaeologically rich landscape is rewarding to walk in; you’ll find easy, way-marked and metalled trails (try the Ridge Trail to take you to the summit of the Black Mountain, marked by a trigonometry pillar, or the Divis Summit Trail, a circular route that takes between 50–90 minutes. There are also more challenging scrambles. Keep quiet, and you’ll spot wildlife, too; hares, badgers and grouse. Try a night-time trip to look over the glittering city and stargaze. nationaltrust.org.uk

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