Aonach Beag

Europe, United Kingdom, Highland

Aonach Beag is a mountain in the Highlands of Scotland. It is located about 3 km east of Ben Nevis on the north side of Glen Nevis, near the town of Fort William. Apart from Ben Nevis, Aonach Beag is the highest peak in the British Isles without the Cairngorm mountains of eastern Scotland. The name Aonach Beag implies that the mountain is smaller than its close neighbour to the south, Aonach Mòr (big ridge), to which it is linked by a high bealach. However Aonach Mòr is the lower of the two hills; the names refer to the relative bulk of the two mountains rather than their altitude, which in any case would have been unknown when the hills were named. The easiest route of ascent is to simply take the gondola lift serving the Nevis Range ski area on Aonach Mòr (a height of 650 m above sea level), and follow the ridge joining the two peaks. More traditionally, the hill is often climbed from the south from Glen Nevis; the walker thus avoiding the paraphernalia associated with the ski development. Aonach Beag is almost invariably climbed in conjunction with Aonach Mòr. Aonach Beag's north face holds one of Scotland's longest lying snow-patches (grid reference NN196718), which sits at the bottom of the climb known as 'Queen's View' at an approximate altitude of 950m. This patch has been known to last through to the first lasting snows of the new winter. As of May 2011, this snow patch has been ever present since late 2006.