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O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?


Postby Joey » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:09 pm

Route description: Ben Hope

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope

Date walked: 10/04/2015

Time taken: 4 hours

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Yes, Thelma and Louise strike again. Too busy chattering in the car, my left turn at ‘Altnaharra’ turned out to be nineteen miles too early...... :roll:

We’d decided to leave earlier than originally planned and do Ben Hope on our way to the WH Spring gathering in Durness as it was a cracking day and the forecast for the rest of the weekend was pretty dire. Elaine had the day off anyway and I put my out of office on..... :D :wink:

We left Inverness, drove over the Struy, through Lairg and when I saw a sign for the Altnaharra Inn and the brown signs for Durness, in my excitement, turned left. On we drove oooing and aaaing at the fabulous scenery – we spotted ‘Ben Hope’ below and thought och, we’ve made great time! We’re new to this, okay!

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The wrong Ben Hope? !


After a wee while, we realised SOMETHING. WASN'T. QUITE. RIGHT! The geography was all wrong and Ben Hope wasn’t where we expected it to be. We stopped to ask a local chap, who tried his hardest not to roll his eyes :roll: :roll: :roll: when we politely enquired where the feck Ben Hope was. “40 odd miles back that way” he said. She who is never wrong queried this – I mean, he only lives there – what did he know? I had consulted a map! But he seemed quite adamant that Ben Hope was NOT in the near vicinity. We were advised to go back the way we came or head to Durness and down the top way. As it was six and half a dozen either way....sob....we chose the latter. I could see Elaine’s hands gripping the sides of the car seat in a supreme effort not to wrap them round my neck. :(

So, four hours after setting off from Inverness, we eventually rocked up at the very busy Ben Hope car park. It was two-thirty in the afternoon and we’d spent the best of a beautiful sunny day in the car.

Shorts, t-shirts and boots on, off we set. I found the first section really hard going. Just back from a week’s skiing, the warm day and four hours sitting in a car, meant my legs were as heavy as lead.

We followed the path up the right hand side of the waterfall and the little pools here and there looked really inviting. I could’ve dived right in! The path was dry, but quite bouldery and I had to heave myself up a few of the larger ‘steps’. The WH guide said it was steep, and it wasn’t exaggerating! I had to stop frequently to take a drink, using the breather to look back and enjoy the views that opened up as we gained height.

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It was a pretty relentless uphill struggle for me and I’d emptied my water bottle in record time and had to refill it once we met another little waterfall. We eventually reached the flat ridge where I decided to have a well deserved lie down!

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Nearly at a flat bit!!


From then on it wasn’t too bad. I got a second wind and started to enjoy the walk along the ridge which was pretty grassy with snow patches here and there and then boulders. We met some fellow WH members on their way down (Barry, Colleen, Evie and another chap – and I was very jealous of them). I started hallucinating about bottles of cold beer...........in the distance I caught sight of a cairn and my heart lifted, but only for a nano-second as I realised it was only a path marker. Much sighing. After another couple of ‘false hopes’ (get it?!) the trig point appeared and we broke into a sprint – aye right! Our minds sprinted towards it. Our legs plodded to it.

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Made it!

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The lovely Elaine....still smiling

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A well deserved dram!


After a swig from my hip flask, tea, sandwiches and a mars bar I felt like a new woman. It had taken us over two hours to get to the summit! It had got a bit hazy – it was four thirty – and my silly mistake in turning too early off the A836 had cost us the best of the day. After a while, a wee breeze kicked up and we donned our bunnets and fleece, but apart from that, we couldn’t believe how warm it was at the summit. We sat for a good long while, enjoying the stillness, the silence (Elaine still wasn’t speaking to me) and of course, the magnificent views all around.

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View to the North

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We enjoyed the descent, until the last section by which point our legs had given up the ghost, but it’s amazing what the thought of a beer can do to restore your legs enough to be able to push the clutch in and off we set for Durness and alcohol. Lots of alcohol!

A footnote - I’ve decided that hillwalking is similar to childbirth. It’s hell at the time, but immensely rewarding when it’s over!!!
Last edited by Joey on Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:43 am

Nice one! Who would believe you tee shirts and shorts at 3000 feet in Scotland in April, fabulous. It's amazing how much fluid has to be taken for days like that. A great weekend and very nice to have met you both. Or should I just say 'Champions' :lol:
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:40 am

Well done girlies :clap: glad it's not just me thats had fun and games finding the start of a walk!! :lol: :roll: !!
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby trekker53 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:43 am

Never thought Inverness folk would get lost up north, hey it makes a good story.
Nice meeting you on the winning team. Maybe you'll make the summer meet. Not to far from Inversnecky.
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby old danensian » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:02 pm

I'm sure you're not the only one to make mistakes - just a rarity in admitting it so publically. I often struggle at the start of the walk - getting out of the village or the right path from the car park - you always look a right numpty going back to the car and pretending you'd forgotten something.

My confusion before meeting you up there had been reading the SMC guide: "climb up a path beside the stream for 750m." - not realising it meant vertically straightaway.

We live and learn.

OD (otherwise known as "another chap")
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby kmai1961 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:02 pm

This is hilarious, great report. :clap:

Although I suspect that when the others mention getting a bit lost at the start of a walk (as we all have done), they're perhaps not talking about 40-odd miles in the wrong direction. And I can just picture you asking the local chap if he's sure about where Ben Hope is! :lol:

Karen
(met/saw you briefly on the hill; I was the straggler -- as is often the case -- with the Evie et al. WH group. But I didn't carry on to the meet.)
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Joey » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:19 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:Nice one! Who would believe you tee shirts and shorts at 3000 feet in Scotland in April, fabulous. It's amazing how much fluid has to be taken for days like that. A great weekend and very nice to have met you both. Or should I just say 'Champions' :lol:


You too Rod - I love being in a winning quiz team, especially as I contribute very few correct answers!! And, indeed it was a fine day for shorts and t-shirts so high up!! Hopefully see you at Charlies' rave! :D
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Joey » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:20 pm

trekker53 wrote:Never thought Inverness folk would get lost up north, hey it makes a good story.
Nice meeting you on the winning team. Maybe you'll make the summer meet. Not to far from Inversnecky.


Our stories of getting lost are many! Looking forward to the next meet, when I will pay greater attention to where we're going!
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Joey » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:21 pm

old danensian wrote:I'm sure you're not the only one to make mistakes - just a rarity in admitting it so publically. I often struggle at the start of the walk - getting out of the village or the right path from the car park - you always look a right numpty going back to the car and pretending you'd forgotten something.

My confusion before meeting you up there had been reading the SMC guide: "climb up a path beside the stream for 750m." - not realising it meant vertically straightaway.

We live and learn.

OD (otherwise known as "another chap")


Nice to meet you OD! Yes, the immediate vertical ascent was a killer - for me anyway.
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Joey » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:25 pm

kmai1961 wrote:This is hilarious, great report. :clap:

Although I suspect that when the others mention getting a bit lost at the start of a walk (as we all have done), they're perhaps not talking about 40-odd miles in the wrong direction. And I can just picture you asking the local chap if he's sure about where Ben Hope is! :lol:

Karen
(met/saw you briefly on the hill; I was the straggler -- as is often the case -- with the Evie et al. WH group. But I didn't carry on to the meet.)


Thanks Karen - it my exhausted stupor, I only remembered OD along with the others, so a belated hello. Glad you enjoyed the report. If you thought that was funny, when we meet, you'll have to remind me to tell you our story of getting off Durness beach that night in the pitch dark after our BBQ.......
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:37 pm

Great stuff, enjoyed that :clap: :clap:
Funnily enough both Martin & Gary drank all their water on Friday going up Arkle, maybe I either had more "vimto" (as that is my tipple on the hills) or wasn't exerting myself enough :lol:

As Nigel (OD) said we have all struggled to find the start, however 40 miles will take some beating :lol: :lol:
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Joey » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:04 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Great stuff, enjoyed that :clap: :clap:
Funnily enough both Martin & Gary drank all their water on Friday going up Arkle, maybe I either had more "vimto" (as that is my tipple on the hills) or wasn't exerting myself enough :lol:

As Nigel (OD) said we have all struggled to find the start, however 40 miles will take some beating :lol: :lol:


Yes, I think that wrong turn may be a WH record! We had a laugh about it when we eventually got to Ben Hope!!
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby tina bonar » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:54 pm

Enjoyed your report Joey. Nice to see how the hill looked a couple of hours after we had been up it :wink: At least the wind had dropped at the summit for you both :D
Catch up with you at Garve, if you find it
:lol:
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:00 pm

Lady drivers ?

I'm saying nothing :wink:

:clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: O Ben Hope.....wherefore art thou Ben Hope?

Postby Joey » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:56 pm

tina bonar wrote:Enjoyed your report Joey. Nice to see how the hill looked a couple of hours after we had been up it :wink: At least the wind had dropped at the summit for you both :D
Catch up with you at Garve, if you find it
:lol:


My pleasure! See you at Garve!
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