A guide to the most dangerous mountains in the UK

Compared to the likes of Everest, UK peaks should be a walk in the park. Yet new research from outdoor clothing retailer, TOG24, says otherwise. 

Changing weather conditions, fading light, slippery slopes and ill-equipped walkers queuing for summit selfies, all keep the amazing volunteer mountain rescue teams busy a full 365 days a year.

TOG24 crunched some numbers on the five biggest mountains in the UK to discover which one takes the crown for most dangerous and it’s probably not what you’d expect!

The research looked at the height of each mountain, average annual visitors, average annual rescue calls, the lowest summit temperature and average annual deaths, to give a danger score out of 100. 

Which is the UK’s Most Dangerous Mountain?

5. Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland. 20/100

The fifth largest mountain in the UK, Slieve Donard stands at an impressive 852 meters and gets around 90,000 visitors per year. It features the Mourne Wall that runs all the way up the slopes to a stone tower at the summit. With an average lowest temperature of -5 degrees celsius and classed as an easy climb, the mountain still sees an average of 66 rescue calls and one death per year. Back in 2006 a British soldier was struck by lightning on the hillside.

4. Cairngorms, Scotland. 29/100

Not a lone mountain but the second highest mountain range in the UK, comes forth in our most dangerous list. The Cairngorms in Scotland can reach a chilly minus 14 degrees, but 30,000 climbers visit each year. Great practice for Everest, this mountain range is popular with ice climbers, rock climbers and skiers. But be warned, on average two people die each year in this location and 150 calls are made to rescue teams as people get into trouble in tricky conditions.

3. Scafell Pike, Cumbria, England. 51/100

The UK’s fourth largest peak at 978 meters and said to take up to 6 hours for beginner climbers. 290,000 people climb Scafell Pike each year, many of them taking part in the ‘National three Peaks’ to raise money for charity. This mountain is one that gets the most rescue calls each with over 600 dealing with people underestimating the challenge ahead. Like the Cairngorms, two people die each year on average.

2. Ben Nevis, Scotland. 55/100

The highest mountain in the UK is the second most dangerous in our list. Coming in at a whopping 1,345 meters high, Ben Nevis in Scotland is not for the faint hearted. Luckily there is a choice of two paths for beginners or those more experienced. Some people even take part in ‘The Ben Race’ where they reach the top and come back down again in 90 minutes! For the rest of us, expect it to be around 5 hours. 100,000 people each year attempt Ben Nevis and sadly six people die each year. Temperatures in this part of the world have been know to reach minus 17 degrees, so hikers must be prepared.

1. Snowdon, Wales. 62/100

Snowdon normally has a reputation for being an easy walk making it popular, but even with this (half a million people a year visit) there is a chance for disaster to strike. 200 calls to mountain rescue are made each year and tragically, more people die on Snowdon than on any other mountain in the UK. Rescuers report people arriving ill-prepared to walk up 1,085 meters, some even wearing flip-flops! Sometimes climbers want to carry on to reach the top even if the wind and rain become heavy and dangerous. 

Mark Ward, from TOG24, said: “Our research shows that no climber, no matter their experience level, should underestimate a mountain and mother nature, they are in charge! Preparation, the right equipment and knowing when to come back down for your safety, applies whether it’s a family hike in the Lake District or a bucket list 8000 meter peak challenge. You should want to do everything to ensure the only thing you come away with is a successful and fun climbing story to tell your friends.”

To find out more about the UK and the World’s most dangerous mountains, read more on TOG24’s website here.

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