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Munro bagging for insomniacs

Munro bagging for insomniacs


Postby andyfitz » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:12 pm

Route description: Ben Hope

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope

Date walked: 03/03/2012

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 7.5 km

Ascent: 946m

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Increasingly, I spend an inordinate amount of time between Monday and Friday thinking about, planning and discussing walks for the weekend. This week, however, by clocking off time, at around 6.00pm on Friday, I had no plan. The weather forecast for Saturday was uninspiring. My usual hillwalking partner and his weeblackdug had their own plan. This involved camping....in February.....when it's cold......in a tent! Not for me!

I decided on the way home from work that I would pass on the walking this weekend. There were, after all, many other things I could be attending to - or so I had been told!

By 10pm I felt somewhat restless. By 11pm I decided to retire for the night but found that I could not sleep. By midnight my bag was packed and by half past midnight I was firing up the Land Rover, pulling out the drive and heading North.

A mere 6 hours and 260 miles later I was parking at the foot of Ben Hope.

Now I should, at this juncture, state a fact and give credit where it is due. A very handy thing for an attached hillwalker to have is an understanding and tolerant partner/spouse. Had the last minute notion to drive through the night to get a short walk done given rise to some adverse comment or opposition, I could not have complained. I possess, however, a spouse who fully appreciates the importance to me of this type of nonsense. One who demands no more than that a note be left detailing my whereabouts. I am grateful for this...... but then again maybe she's just glad to see the back of me. Now I'm wondering what she gets up to when I'm out on the hills!

Anyway, as I was saying, by 6.30am I was parked up at the small Ben Hope car park - situated about 2 miles beyond Alltnacaillich Farm in Strathmore. An immediate start was, however, out of the question. The wind was preposterous. The extent of the wind was such that I struggled to open the door of the car. This was not a series of strong gusts but a consistently strong wind which was threatening to turn the day into just a long drive.

I decided to wait an hour or so in the hope that the wind would abate. I tried to get 40 winks in the car. This proved impossible. The car was on the wrong end of what MWIS would describe as a "considerable buffeting". I was starting to consider the possibility of the a couple of tons of Land Rover being couped onto its side with me in it.

ben hope 002.jpg



At 8.15am I got bored of waiting for the wind to abate and set off.

First things first and something that is often a tricky thing for me - finding the start of the path. On numerous occasions I have missed the start of a perfectly good path and ended up...........ah!, here it is.

ben hope 003.jpg



The path up Ben Hope from this point is easy to follow. It's a bit soggy....well, a lot soggy at various parts but tolerable and not in the Premier League of bog trots.

The route is consistently steep. In its early stages the path runs parallel to the Allt a Mhuisell. This provides a good excuse to stop regularly and take snaps of its many wee waterfalls. I did not manage to catch the effect on my mobile phone camera but the wind was, on occasions, blowing the water back up the waterfalls.

ben hope 004.jpg


ben hope 031.jpg



Did I mention it was windy?...No. It was, from the start of the walk, very windy indeed. This was making progress slower than I had hoped. Towards the top of the hill and at the summit it was pretty tortuous going. I was doing my best not to get blown over the cliffs the wind was blowing towards.

It was starting to look like the fantastic views, which I understand to be available from the summit of this hill, were not to be mine today. The views around me on the way up were tolerable enough though.

ben hope 012.jpg

ben hope 018.jpg

ben hope 014.jpg

ben hope 017.jpg

ben hope 023.jpg

ben hope 026.jpg


The way down was the way up backwards. I was back at the car 3 hours after setting off - a wee bit longer than I thought it would take.

I'd had it in my mind that there would be plenty of time to do Ben Klibreck on the way home. There was plenty of time and the legs were fresh but I'd had enough of getting blown at for one day.

Ben Hope is a fine hill and an easy walk. The next time I can't sleep I will tag it on after Ben Klibreck and hopefully get the fine views from the summit.

On the return journey I did get to see the scenery I had missed in the darkness of the journey there. It's a nice part of the country and one I hope to explore in the near future. Here are a couple of pics from vicinity of Ben Hope. One of a pointy Broch thing and one of a hoose with no roof.

ben hope 035.jpg

ben hope 047.jpg



Another 6 hours and 260 miles later and I was home - in time for a social engagement that evening. A full day.
Last edited by andyfitz on Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby SusieThePensioner » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:21 pm

Wow, did you not feel tired driving back? Enjoyed your report and some good photos for your efforts :thumbup:
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby monty » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:44 pm

Nice report andy. Some of us have the bug deeper than others hahaha. The path was axraging rivercwhen i done this one. Good effort
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby laconic surf » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:49 pm

Really enjoyed the report. Aside from the tiredness, I reckon the night drive would have been great fun, if you like that sort of thing, which I do :D
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby chickadee » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:13 am

Great report! I love the spontaneity of the trip (something I can definitely see myself doing in the future once I'm no longer living with Overprotective Mum who would panic if I did that, even at my age...) and the walk looks great. Wind-battling should be a Scottish sport! Maybe it already is. Also I love the sign for the path, it's so wee and understated. 'Way up Ben Hope' as if it's just a short wander rather than a Munro, heh.
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby andyfitz » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:30 am

Thanks for the comments.
No tiredness Susie/laconic surf - although I'm not averse to pulling into a lay-by on the A9 for a snooze if required.
Go for it Chickadee - parents worry for a living. We get used to it after a while.
I'm guessing this would have been a 45 min trot for you Monty :D
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby Bod » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:02 am

That was a good one Andy, like it very much......a cool alternative plan for you. Like the landy :D :D :lol:
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby jonny616 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:35 am

Nice one. I have talked to a couple of my pals about a day trip to do Hope. Some keen others think i'm mad :lol:
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby quoman » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:02 am

nice trip Andy
I am thinking of doing the four up there in may or june wi pals fi the work dont know of if we will manage the 4 though.
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby dogplodder » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:09 am

andyfitz wrote:Increasingly, I spend an inordinate amount of time between Monday and Friday thinking about, planning and discussing walks for the weekend. This week, however, by clocking off time, at around 6.00pm on Friday, I had no plan. The weather forecast for Saturday was uninspiring. My usual hillwalking partner and his weeblackdug had their own plan. This involved camping....in February.....when it's cold......in a tent! Not for me!


From what I read there my morning brain told me that when you set off on an impulse to drive from Airdrie to Ben Hope at midnight (love the madness of that and yes you do have a great spouse!) you were going up to join your pal. So all through your report I was thinking "When's he going to meet the buddy with weeblackdug?" which was becoming quite a concern to me wondering how they survived in a tent in that awful wind! :shock: :lol:
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby davetherave » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:12 pm

A lot of good quotes could be taken from your short story Andy. :)

Dont you take your dogs on your walking trips? maybe they prefer to get a good nights sleep. :)
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby andyfitz » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:00 pm

davetherave wrote:Dont you take your dogs on your walking trips? maybe they prefer to get a good nights sleep. :)


Almost invariably take some of the dogs with me when walking Dave. On this occasion I thought it unfair to subject them to 12 hours in the car for a relatively short walk. Managed to sneak out without them noticing - avoiding a chaos of barking and running about at that time of the night.

Bod wrote:That was a good one Andy, like it very much......a cool alternative plan for you. Like the landy :D :D :lol:


I love the big Landy more than anything (except the family, the dugs and fine malts). It is the very business for loading the dugs, mates and gear and heading for the hills.
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby chickadee » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:33 pm

andyfitz wrote:Go for it Chickadee - parents worry for a living. We get used to it after a while.


Well it'd less ridiculous if I wasn't 28, but since I had to move back home to save money, I've found it much harder to get out and away because my mum is convinced I'll fall off a hill and am not capable of surviving outside for a few hours. ;)
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:39 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: Lol my kind of complete madness...although once I am up in Sutherland I am unable to leave for at least 3 days....its so beautiful up there!!! Thanks for sharing...it made me laugh :D :D :D
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Re: Munro bagging for insomniacs

Postby morag1 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:13 pm

Wow! you are one serious insomniac! Also one serious Munro bagger :o

Nice report - I can sense how much you enjoy getting out to the hills :D

Where will you go next time you cant sleep I wonder :problem:
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