For a hiking trip there’s been aÂ suspiciousÂ lack of physical activity noted on this site over the past two weeks, wouldn’t you say? Time to fix that today with a straight climbÂ upÂ highest hill on Mull. AllÂ mountainsÂ have a certain magnetic attraction for those who enjoying a good harrumph, but Ben More has more than you’d suspect. At 3,172 feet, the peak is a true beauty because every inch of it is climbedÂ fromÂ sea level and that’s a rarity. Plus, the views fromÂ theÂ top are spectacular. Beneath the summit are the glens and table-lands carved by retreating glaciers some 10,000 years ago. Eastwards across the sea are the serriedÂ mainlandÂ mountains; to the north, the sawtooth peaks of Rum and Skye; southwards, the Paps of Jura; and if you lookÂ westwardÂ on a clear day, you can almost seeÂ as far as Ireland. Bound by lochs on either side – and Iona and Staffa seemingly close enough to touch – theÂ panoramaÂ is superb. (Double click each image for a greater sense of scale.) Many hikers mistakenly assume Ben More is a volcano. It is not,Â despiteÂ the picturesque “smoking” that often appears near the summit. In fact, it is a much rarerÂ phenomenon: a highly magnetic mountain. Extruded 55 million years ago, the iron-rich basalt is so strongly magnetic thatÂ chippingsÂ will jump on to a proffered magnet. MoreÂ importantly, compass readings can’t be trusted, particularly at the summit, whichÂ has been struck by lightning and remagnetized so often that readings vary enormously even within a few feet. AnotherÂ surpriseÂ is the lack of a well-marked trail, which led to more than a few heated discussions on the extended hike up – all of which evaporated into thin air once we had summited and, more to the point, returned back to ground level unscathed.