Ben Hope - in the shadow of national tragedy
by BlackPanther » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:29 pm
Route description: Ben Hope
Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope
Date walked: 10/04/2010
Time taken: 4.5 hours
Distance: 7.5 km
Ascent: 915m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It was Saturday, 10.04.2010. Bright, sunny morning with a good forecast for the whole day. We had our plans to travel far north to climb Ben Hope and Ben Klibreck. It's a 2 hour drive from Inverness so we had to get up early and I remember packing some stuff into my rucksack when Kevin turned on the TV in the other room to double-check the forecast. Then I heard him calling: Better come here to see this!!!
What I saw on the screen was a distant shot of some smoking debris. At first, I didn't understand what happened.
"A Polish plane crashed in Smolensk, that's in eastern Russia" my husband said "It happened less then an hour ago. All the channels are full of this. About 100 victims, no survivors."
"Was it a passenger plane?" I asked still a bit stunned.
"No, darling. You better sit down - it was the Air Force One. And the President was on board. Plus half the government and army leaders."
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when 7.7. happened? Or when WTC towers fell? For me news about Smolensk was exactly that kind of experience. A disaster for Poland, could turn into a total chaos in the country...
"There's nothing we can do" I said after a few minutes, pushing the shock away "The news isn't precise, they don't even know how it happened, was it a bomb or maybe just an accident... We have to wait and see... And in the meantime let's climb what we planned!"
You may be surprised at my reaction, but what was the point in sitting in the front of TV, watching the blurred footage of burned debris? Moving as it was, we were thousands of miles away from it in our little Scottish world. Show must go on Let's bag a Munro and bring smiles back to our faces
Because we were a bit late driving up, we had to live Ben Klibreck for another day (we climbed it eventually last month). When we arrived at the foot of Ben Hope, the sky was blue and the air was "full of spring" - an adequate feeling for the name of the hill For ruin enthusiasts there is a well preserved broch, Dun Dornaigil, by the road up Strathmore.
From the car park just of the road we followed a boggy path up the slope - the beginning of the route is marked with an appropriate signpost:
The first part of the climb took us steeply up along the stream with some very lovely waterfalls. We stopped in a few places to take pictures. Also, the higher we climbed, the better the views!
After avoiding some crags and balancing on mud, we reached the ridge of the mountain. Here we crossed the stream and simply walked up the slope to the top. It's an easy route, with a prominent path almost all the way up. Once we left the wet bits behind it was a very pleasant walk.
The summit area was still covered with a layer of snow. The trig point is located close to the eastern cliffs of the hill. We sat down on the rocks emerging from snow and looked around - it was a beautiful panorama...
We spent some time on the top and finally we descended back to Strathmore, sinking in more lovely views on the way down.
"So we ticked off Ben Hope" Kevin said at some point "Paradoxically, thinking back to what happened in Smolensk, there's no hope left for Poland."
"There is always hope" I answered, staring at the desolate wilderness in the far distance - "Somebody said once that hope always dies last. And my country will survive it. I believe it will wake up from the nightmare, strong and stable... Emerge to life, like Phoenix from the ashes."
Before we left the remote world of Ben Hope, we paid a short visit to Dun Dornaigil. Unfortunately, the interior of the broch is filled with earth and rubbish, so we could only admire it from the outside:
Well, it was a weird time. Twelve months on, I was proved right - my country went through the hard days with dignity. It is widely known we Poles are tough and hardy creatures Today when I look back I can only feel pride - I may be a mixture of genes but I have enough Polish blood in me to make me proud of who I am.
As for Ben Hope - it's one of the nicest Munros I've climbed so far. Highly recommended
by Bruadair » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:23 pm
A moving story of hope with good report and photo's of the aptly name Munro...............let's all hope Japan can recover from what appears to be an endless tradgedy.
- Posts: 133
- Joined: Nov 2, 2010
- Location: South Lanarkshire
by ChrisW » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:03 pm
by Caberfeidh » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:43 pm
Life does go on (sometimes it seems to go on, and on, and on...) and time does indeed heal.
- Posts: 7119
- Joined: Feb 5, 2009
by Left Behind » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:10 pm
- Hill Bagger
- Posts: 79
- Joined: Jan 24, 2011
- Location: Aberdeenshire
by LeithySuburbs » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:59 pm
I certainly remember lech Valenska and the Gdansk Shipyard and followed the events as they unfolded in the early 80's. The events of 2010 when the tupelov tu-154 crashed are etched into the annuls of history. such events shape our world and Poland, thankfully, never regressed after this terrible incident.
great pictures. Love the picture of ben Klibreck in the distance.
I done This munro on my own in a raging torrent early last year. Fantastic to see the photos in nice weather.
by GarryH » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:58 am
back Backstage and Oscar Time in the 4-15 at Aintree today.
- Posts: 285
- Joined: Oct 6, 2008
by BlackPanther » Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:05 am
It was the most difficult report for me to write, with all the emotions surrounding that Saturday last year. Strangely, as I mentioned before, we chose the hill before we heard the bad news. As if something had told us to pick the mountain of hope for this particular day. Spooky
We will probably never know what happened to that plane and the longer investigators dig into it, the more complicated it looks. But world has moved on and so have I. I'm packing my stuff to climb another hill or two today
Cheers and meows
by gymman47 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:02 pm
by ballarat » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:15 pm
totally off topic,in 1970 a polish lad/man saved my life
his reward (i believe)was good healt till he was 92
sadly passed away last wednesday
i give you this statement
NEVER give up hope
- Hill Bagger
- Posts: 127
- Joined: Feb 26, 2013
- Location: city of sunderland