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Ben Hope circuit via NE ridge

Ben Hope circuit via NE ridge

Postby ridgerunner » Thu May 05, 2011 9:15 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope

Date walked: 02/05/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 12 km

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Day two of my break and despite an overnight frost , looks likely to be as hot and sunny as Ben Loyal was the day before when i had got a view of ben Hope and saw that there was no snow in the gully on the notheast ridge that i would likely be using.
zoomed view of NE ridge from Ben Loyal

By the time i drove across from Tongue , Ben Hope was already very clear.
view from Tongue causeway

I had decided to do this circuit by parking at the bottom of Loch Hope , walking a clockwise circuit via the Moine path and finishing at the normal starting point and then walking up the road to get my car.
My starting point was easy to find and i could see the green landrover track [Moine path] leading away from the road.
start of walk

What a great way to start a walk-a nice steady ascent on a dry path with plenty to see.
view of the northwest facing cliffs

I had anticipated that the stretch of walk after leaving the Moine path would be a trudge over the moor to the foot of the NE ridge but it was the opposite.
I left the Moine path onto a quadbike track and once this was 3/4 of the way there and turned SW onto a terrace heading for Dubh Loch na Beinne , i followed a path [missed it initially] almost all the way to an obvious notch near the bottom of the ridge.
looking up the ridge

looking back across shoulder approach

it was then a steady walk up the ridge to the tricky bit just after the slope levelled out.
I have indicated on the following photo the bypass gully most people seem to take.
gully above pole

The awkward 30ft rock step is just round the corner in the above photo and its difficult to capture it well.
In isolation it really looks easy scrambling ,but its the sheer drop of several hundred feet below that make it intimidating.
rock step-need to rotate +90 degree

So i took the gully ,but there is still plenty of easy scrambling from the top of the gully to a top which offers great views and was very sheltered.
looking down to starting point

looking back along ridge to a top

it is then a stroll to the true summit.
I followed the usual route down and had only just started walking back up the the road when a Good Samaritan [from Thurso actually] to whom i had passed a few words at the first top , stopped and gave me a lift back to my car.
A fantastic finish to a great circuit in perfect weather.
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Re: Ben Hope circuit via NE ridge

Postby skuk007 » Fri May 06, 2011 10:11 am

Great report and pictures.

First one I've read of someone doing the NE ridge. All the text books I've read say stay away from the North side as its very dangerous. Pics do make it look steep with a few awkward moments but must be a more interesting route up. One for a dry day though. :)
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Re: Ben Hope circuit via NE ridge

Postby ChrisW » Fri May 06, 2011 4:54 pm

nice report and some cracking pic's - looked a little steep though :shock: but the reward looked worth it :D
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Re: Ben Hope circuit via NE ridge

Postby monty » Fri May 06, 2011 6:04 pm

Good walk Ridgerunner. I done the tourist route in the rain and clag. Not nice. Your walk looks spectacular. :D

Re: Ben Hope circuit via NE ridge

Postby LeithySuburbs » Fri May 06, 2011 7:29 pm

Thanks for that RR :) - looks an interesting route. Might refer back to this when I get round to this hill :) .
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