Sneaky Friday skive on Ben Loyal and Ben Hope
by malky_c » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:30 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope
Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Loyal
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Ben Hiel
Date walked: 11/10/2013
Time taken: 8.4 hours
Distance: 22.5 km
Ascent: 2155m10 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).
Corbetts: Ben Loyal.
Sub 2000 Marilyns: Ben Hiel.
Time taken: 5 hours 30 minutes.
Weather: Calm and cool, turning to strong sunshine later on
After a few hectic weeks at work, I fancied a few days off. The weather forecast looked perfect on Friday, so the only decision was whether to go north-west or south-west. I had been saving Ben Loyal for a day like this, so that decided it in the end. I thought I'd aim for a Doogz/Soulminer style early start for a change, so I was parked up near Loch Loyal for just after 6:30am.
I started walking in the dark, with the headtorch out for the first few steps through some particularly thick undergrowth. Before long, it was light enough to see and I was halfway up Ben Hiel. My camera wasn't up to much but the eastern light was impressive.
Ben Griam Mor and Beag from Ben Hiel:
Good views from the sumit, but I left too fast. By the time I was halfway down, an attractive red glow had hit the east-facing slopes. Would've looked better from the summit!
Loch Craggie. Orkney just visible in the distance:
Sgor Chaonasaid in the first sunlight:
South through Bealach Clais nan Cip:
The ascent to Sgor Chaonasaid was accompanied by lots of stag bellowing, and before long I was exploring the tors at the summit. The rock was rather greasy, so I avoided anything too difficult.
Cnoc nan Cuilean:
Kyle of Tongue from Sgor Chaonasaid:
Main summit from Sgor Chaonasaid:
The walk onto the main summit was easy and on a pretty decent path. I was eating my (second) breakfast there by 9am.
NE from the summit:
More easy walking took me onto Beinn Bheag, then a steeper descent towards Sgor a' Chleirich. I strolled out to the summit to look at the view. It was a long, steep drop down to Loch Fhionnaich.
Calbhach Coire and Kyle of Tongue:
Summit of Sgor a Chleirich:
A quick retrace of steps took me to a steep grassy descent. I spent most of the way down trying to decide whether to include Sgor Fhionnaich in the route or not. I didn't in the end, and enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the side of Loch Fhionnach. Sgor a' Chleirich was even more impressive than I expected, reminding me of Sgorr an Fhidhleir in Coigach.
Loch Fhionnaich and Sgor a Chleirich:
Ben Hee and Meallan Liath Choire Mhic Dhughaill:
The views from the lip of the corrie were worth another break. Then I dropped down a steep grassy gully to the woodland below. A descending traverse led me across a couple of burns and onto a faint path towards Curnside.
Tongue from the lip of Coire Fhionnaich:
There were tantalizing glimpses up to the four main western spurs of Ben Loyal - part of the hill that looks well worth exploring in the future.
Looking up at Sgor a’ Bhatain:
Sgor a’Bhatain and Sgor a’ Chleirich:
Before reaching the ruin, I traversed off east back to Loch Loyal, covering some rough ground. I was back at the car shortly after midday.
The main summit and Sgor Chaonasaid:
Achnanclach bothy across Loch Loyal:
Loch Craggie Loch Loyal and Beinn Stumanadh:
Most extensive parking spot in the area:
Aborted second bit:
The next part of the plan was to drive back through Altnaharra, then onto the Hope road. I wanted to cycle in to Sabhal Beag from here - my last unclimbed Graham in the area. Passing Gobernuisgach Lodge, I decided to call in and see if there was any stalking in the area. There was - in Glen Golly and the glen I wanted to go up, so I decided to retreat and do something else instead. Shame there was 100m of reascent on the bike to get back to the car! Nice glen though - being a long drive for a short hill, I'll probably end up including it in a longer traverse at some point.
Meallan Liath Choire Mhic Dhughaill from Strath More:
Down Strath More to Ben Hope:
I scratched my head for a bit - none of the Marilyns that were close to my route home really appealed today. Then it hit me - a quick ascent of Ben Hope!
Second bit (plan B):
Munros: Ben Hope.
Time taken: 2 hours 55 minutes.
Weather: Warm and sunny; slight haze
I had planned a more rambling approach to my next ascent of Ben Hope, starting from the Kyle of Tongue and taking in some lochans and the scrambly north ridge. However there was now not any time for that, so it was just a quick up and down from near Cashel Dhu. There are some lovely waterfalls on the first part of the ascent which offset the bog tedium a bit. I had decided this was a good route to introduce Gill to hillwalking about 10 years ago - she hated almost every minute of it and we didn't get beyond the boggy first section. Fortunately she didn't leave me (we had only been going out a few months at the time).
Waterfall on the Allt a’ Mhuiseal:
The views opened up as I got above the initial section, and I decided to stick to the edge of the cliffs rather than follow the path up the back of the hill. This was more interesting, with the occasional scrambly move to keep things interesting. As the path came back towards the edge, I passed a couple on their way down.
Top of the western crags of Ben Hope:
A brisk 90 minutes saw me on the summit, where I decided to go and look down the north ridge. The top of this is quite narrow and mossy, but well worth the look over the edge - the cliffs are massive at this point. Back in 2006, 3 of us had come up this way, although we skipped out the exposed pitch just below the summit by heading up a dirty gully/chimney to the left. A route I want to do again.
South down Strath More to Ben Hee:
…and across towards Cape Wrath:
Loch a’ Gobha-duibh and Sail Romascaig:
Across the lochs to Ben Loyal:
Looking down the north ridge of Ben Hope:
Down to Loch Hope:
Looking towards Ben Klibreck:
All in all I spent 20 minutes or so on the summit poking around and admiring the views - something I had missed out on my previous visit. Then it was option time. Back down he same way or explore a little more. I decided to descend towards Sail Romascaig in the end, which was a pleasant, easy angled way down with more views over the eastern corries.
Ben Loyal again:
806m summit on the SE ridge:
Back to the summit of Ben Hope:
I soon rejoined the main ascent route for the boggy bit, and arrived at the bottom at roughly the same time as the couple I passed on the way up. They were up from Manchester for a couple of nights, and I chatted to them for a bit before heading off - supposedly to get home in time to pick Gill up from the station in Inverness. However, she was wise to my bad timekeeping and lied about the time her train was due in. The train was also late, so I actually got back to Inverness about 2 hours earlier than I could have done. Slightly annoying, but a brilliant day out with an unplanned trip up Ben Hope in perfect weather
by Collaciotach » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:42 pm
by kev_russ » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:11 pm
by BlackPanther » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:50 am
I remember spending an awful lot of time scrambling and lurking over the tors of Ben Loyal. And hundreds of photos of the rocks from every possible angle I wonder, did you meet the Witch of Loyal, Malky? She is right there, turned to stone...
by kevsbald » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:21 pm
by malky_c » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:51 pm
by BlackPanther » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:53 am
by dogplodder » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:09 am
by litljortindan » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:03 pm
by jimdonaldson » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:12 pm
Just released when i saw the pic this was you )
- Posts: 6
- Joined: May 6, 2012
- Location: Caithness and Tayside
by Alteknacker » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:08 am