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A trip to the far north

A trip to the far north


Postby rockhopper » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:48 pm

Route description: Ben More Assynt and Conival

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope, Ben Klibreck, Ben More Assynt, Conival

Date walked: 30/03/2013

Time taken: 17 hours

Distance: 40.5 km

Ascent: 3150m

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Munros: Ben Klibreck, Ben Hope, Conival, Ben More Assynt
Date: Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March 2013
Time taken: 17hrs 10mins (incl stops 4hrs - food, photos, chatting, crampons on/off, scenery gazing etc)
Distance: 40.5km
Ascent: 3,150m
Attendees: me

Had been watching the weather forecast all week in the hope that it would remain good for the holiday weekend. On Thursday/Friday with MWIS forecasting 90% chance of cloud free munro tops and the MET office showing <5% chance of precipitation, the decision was made to go. Had dinner on the Friday night and set off just after 7pm – journey up the A9 past Inverness, over the high road from Alness, through Bonar Bridge and Lairg to just past the Crask Inn went smoothly with only a little light snow falling around Dalwhinnie.

Saturday 30 March 2013

Up around dawn, car thermometer showing -7C but little wind and clear skies – was looking good for the day.

Ben Klibreck silhouetted against the early sunrise

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Knew that there was a starting point further north but that it tended to be very boggy. Instead, started from south of the Vagastie bridge and initially followed a faint track then up and over Cnoc Sgriodain.

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Ben Hope zoomed

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Then dropped down before rising back up and getting into the snow properly. Found contouring round below the 808m height in the soft snow was hard going at times with some steep drops down to the left.

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Then started more uphill to get to the flatter area around 688m with views to the summit.

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And off to the side

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From here on the going got steeper but the snow was mostly soft and deep in places so no need for crampons.

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Looking back

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Could see another walker in the distance. Arrived at the summit and had a chat with him before he left as he, like me, was also heading for Ben Hope later.

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Some more views from the summit

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Ben Loyal

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Trig point

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Reluctantly I set off for the return walk

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Loch nan Uan

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Westwards

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Met another walker lower down. He was camping with his family nearby so hadn’t been able to make too early a start. Got back down to the car and had a look back upwards.

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Got my stuff together and had some food and drink before driving up to Altnaharra then on to the road which goes north to Hope. Stopped at the Ben Hope car park – very busy with only a couple of spaces available.

Got ready and set off just behind a party of three walkers. Difficult to miss the starting point.

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Found the path steep going, pretty boggy and slippery at times. Took a wee detour off to get a photo of a frozen waterfall.

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Met more people on the path which wound its way up through the steep sections before eventually levelling out on an easier slope.

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Views from further around.

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It took me a bit longer in the snow than expected to get to the top.

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Met another walker at the top and spent a while gazing at the views and having some food. Just didn’t want to leave.

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Eventually headed off back down taking a slightly different route before picking up the main path. On the way down I met the walker with whom I’d spoken earlier on Ben Klibreck.

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Views southwards down the strath

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Went past a wee waterfall

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Got back to the car to get changed before heading off. View south past the broch with quite a lot of deer at the roadside.

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Over to Ben Loyal

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And Ben Klibreck

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In one of his recent reports, Foggie recommended the Crask Inn so I headed there for a bar meal. Arrived about 5/5.30pm but unfortunately the owner advised that they were busy with a large party and he couldn’t provide a meal (I should probably have booked in advance) - so I headed off down to Lairg for some food instead. Then followed the drive via Strath Oykel to Ledmore junction and up to Inchnadamph.

Sunday 31 March 2013

Set off in the morning around dawn. Sky was clear so was hoping for another good day weatherwise. Sun starting to light up the surrounding hills.

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Made good progress along the path past some houses until veering off on to open hillside just past a wooded area. Stayed more or less on the contour line above the river before changing to NE and the start of the steeper section.

Views opening up.

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The track was only a little boggy changing rapidly to snow covered – quite slippy and icy at times but there were previous footsteps to follow. Further up as it got steeper the snow got slippier. Got up to the flatter area before the turn to head south and decided to put on the crampons – turned out to be a good decision as conditions got decidedly slippier and icier from here almost up to the summit.

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Patterns in the snow

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View eastwards

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Then onwards and upwards

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Over to Quinag

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Canisp and Suilven

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Got to the top of Conival

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Self portrait

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View along the ridge

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Nice walk along the ridge and went over to what looked like the top of Ben More Assynt

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Then walked over to another point as I wasn’t sure which was the summit

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Spent a while up there all on my own just gazing at the views – chilly wind but the sun was out

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Reluctantly again I eventually set off back down the ascent route. Met two walkers further down putting on their crampons at the same spot I’d stopped earlier. Stopped for a chat then met many more as I continued down – it was getting quite busy. Got back down to the car just after 2pm (BST). I’d had half a plan to drive down and walk Ben Wyvis before heading back to Glasgow. However, this morning’s walk had taken a bit longer than planned - it would mean having to rush the walk, probably still having to cover the last hour or so in the dark and then having the drive back to Glasgow.

So, opted to leave Ben Wyvis for another day in favour of a leisurely drive southwards. Stopped frequently en route for some more photos.

Quinag

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Cul Mor

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Suilven

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Canisp

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Stac Pollaidh

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Ben Mor Coigach

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Beinn Dearg and co

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Just down past Braemore junction I stopped for hitchhiker with a very large bag. Gave him a lift down to Ladybank. Turned out he was a paraglider from Preston - interesting conversation as he explained how he and his friends go paragliding, often having to hitch as they don’t know exactly where they’ll land.

Uneventful drive back down to Glasgow. Arrived back almost exactly 48 hours after leaving having driven nearly 600 miles – back to planning for the next trip.
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rockhopper
 
Posts: 6078
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby dooterbang » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:53 pm

The photos look better here :?

Just a fab trip to do when getting the views.

It's a lovely area.

We also weren't sure about which was the summit :crazy:

Got a cottage booked in Kinlochbervie end of May so will be doing loads up this way...but not munros :)
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dooterbang
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby dunrock » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:55 pm

Absolutely stunning photo's. enjoyed your report.
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:58 pm

Brilliant Rockhopper, brings back the memories for me as these four were 9-12 for me. Spent 1 hour on Klibrecks summit it was that nice. Hope was cold and windy though but clear blue skies and never saw a thing from Assynt or Conival so great to see the views you got. Cheers :thumbup:
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby Meatball » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:10 pm

Very nice!
Sorry I couldn't join you!
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby jonny616 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:11 pm

Fantastic :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:00 pm

That's proper mountain porn, that is!!!
Fantastic pics - got my mouth watering :clap: :clap:
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weaselmaster
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby simon-b » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:01 pm

Just brilliant, rockhopper. That's superb timing to do these four in those conditions. Definitely a memorable area to visit, at any time of year.
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simon-b
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby laconic surf » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:42 am

Another epic there Rockhopper with some superb photies as usual :clap:
Can't wait to visit this area myself, cheers
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby kevsbald » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:30 am

My god, that's a stunning report, sir.
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:03 am

First class stuff! And a great advert to these hills. They all are fantastic viewpoints, especially in snowy conditions. I have to visit them again :D
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:14 pm

great stuff Rockhopper :clap: :D
...i was over in the north west all weekend doing some corbetts ..i saw the paragliders!!
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby pigeon » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:01 pm

Another near miss rockhopper,we were on Ben more and conival on the Monday,great pics,we had the same weather as you,it was magic
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby Graeme D » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:02 pm

There are no words.........! :clap:
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Re: A trip to the far north

Postby Malckyb » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:24 pm

Stunning.. :-)
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