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The Magic Mountain Of the North

The Magic Mountain Of the North

Postby prophetofdom » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:17 pm

Route description: Ben Hope

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope

Date walked: 11/11/2011

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 950m

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Ben Hope

The Magic Mountain, apparently one of Scotland’s two magic hills. Everyone I mention this too immediately knows and names the other one strangely and my partner & I both climbed that one last year.

This time on the 11th of the 11th we were planning to climb the northern most munro and the magical Ben Hope. Indeed to go one further we planned to camp at the summit over night taking advantage of the balmy and sunny past three weeks weather we have had this autumn in the Highlands.

In the event we elected not to camp and as we arrived at the Broch immediately before the parking area for the Ben I noticed that Cecile’s 1985 Saab had lost her front light, and an hour later the glove box bolted shut with her mobile, purse and the CD player inside. Indeed as a testimony to Saab’s construction it took two days and finally a full 45minutes of effort with knives, penknives, screwdrivers and brute pulling force before we were reunited with the items. Whether any of this is connected to the magical properties of this hill I cannot say.

The weather was bright and sunny with scuttling clouds indicating higher winds blowing as we commenced the climb, which leads up a very steep and eroded path that zig-zags beside a tumbling waterfall. Important to note here that this is the most splendid fall I have seen in Scotland for swimmers. At the base of each 3-4metre fall is a splendid pool to receive loungers and bathers. My gosh when the sun hits them they must be a treat in summer, worth returning for I do believe. Seriously, they are really good, unfortunately right next to the path so keep your clothes on!!

We made steady progress with my partner preferring the slow and steady approach and the understanding that the top you see is never the top you need to reach, but on she goes slowly but surely. We reached the ridge that I had considered walking along and starting the route from the Broch but maybe another day. Indeed my next time on this hill I think I might come along the Moine Thrust path and up beside the lochans and then walk along the ridge east from the top to the next cairn and continue along to the last ‘top’ before shinning down to be at the end of the ridge we were at now, just over half way up.

From this point the walk is a fairly easy – and still steep – walk through semi-scree with a path loosely defined and irregualar placed cairns for direction. However the closer you go to the edge the more breathtaking the drop. It’s sheer…sheer bloody brilliant in fact. Eventually you get to the top and a further 100m or so is the summit cairn with a fairly substantial shelter offering views north to Orkney and Durness but the views of Ben Loyal are fabulous whilst Foinaven waves teasingly from the West. Soon, I shall traverse her slopes I hope.

Three hours it took us to get up and it was no after 3.30pm and in winter to but Cecile went like a hare doon the hill and reached the bottom in just over an hour laughing all the way whereupon we repaired to the bothy and drunk wine outside in the mild night but a clear still loch and gazed up at the bulk of Ben Hope with eyes turning every Northward in the unending quest to see those elusive Northern Dancing Stars.
Winter Darkening Skies
The Summit Trig Point
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Posts: 31
Munros:108   Corbetts:20
Sub 2000:6   Hewitts:6
Joined: Dec 11, 2009

Re: The Magic Mountain Of the North

Postby kev_russ » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:28 pm

Some nice pics there :thumbup: Need to get myself up there sometime in the near future. No been that far north.
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Posts: 388
Munros:154   Corbetts:53
Grahams:25   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:8
Joined: Mar 17, 2009
Location: Edinburgh

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