walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Couldn't Hope for More

Couldn't Hope for More


Postby DanielM95 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:54 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope

Date walked: 01/10/2015

Time taken: 6 hours

2 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).

I've been a lurker on WH for well over a year and have finally decided try writing a walk report. I did the walk quite a while ago but it stands out as one of my favourites from the number of hills I've climbed in the last year.

I was up in Sutherland looking to climb Ben Hope at the start of September. I reached the point just beyond Altnaharra to turn off the A836 to Strathmore only to be faced with a road closed sign. I drove round to Tongue to try that side but found another sign in the middle of the road. Hmm, never mind, it was a nice day and I was enjoying the drive so continued around Loch Eriboll, up to Durness then pulled up at the start point for Cranstackie at about quarter to 5. I knew I wouldn't make the top but it was a nice evening and I had been driving since 10 in the morning.

Image
Looking to Foinaven near Carbreck.

I reached the boggy section in the coire about half way up and ended up soaked to my knees. Not long after 7 I decided to turn back. I returned to the car about 8 looking to get changed out of my now wet clothes only to find I'd left them in Edinburgh. Damn. I slept in the back of the car not far from Lairg for the night then after a not very good sleep I drove back round to the A838 about 2 miles outside of Rhiconich to try climbing Foinaven.

Image
Sun rising behind Cranstackie.

This was the main reason I was in the area. I thought I would be clever and make a direct cut across to the lower slopes of Ceann Garbh from the road. I was soon soaked again from crossing the very wet ground, the midges were out in force and it was a very humid morning. I made it across the couple of miles of extremely wet ground wishing I had brought a snorkel as the WH bog factor would probably suggest for this :lol: .

Image
Lower slopes of Ceann Garbh with Arkle behind.

I found a way up the rocky slopes of Ceann Garbh until about the 300m point. The way up from here looked fairly obvious but I wasn't particularly enjoying the walk so decided to cross the bog again to head back to the car. Shame as the worst was probably behind me at that point and I was looking forward to doing the traverse of the main ridge. I returned to the car at the same time as another couple of people pulled up to try the same route I had. I warned them of how wet the first couple of miles to the hill were so they opted to try the approach on the good track further up. I started heading home with a short stop at Kylesku on the way.

Image
Quinag from Kylesku.

Back on point. The weather had been pretty good in the last week of September moving into October. I managed to get up Stuc a'Chroin on a very grey Saturday, then Beinn an Dothaidh on the Tuesday with the grandfather. A report was posted for Ben Hope from the Tuesday which proved it possible to drive up as far as Altnacaillich. With another great forecast for the Thursday I decided to go for Ben Hope which was to be my 13th Munro.

I had driven up from Edinburgh on the Wednesday night for another sleep in the back of the car. I intended to be up and off at about 6 hoping to maybe include Ben Klibreck later in the day if there was time. This time I had slept pretty well and only woke up when a car went past a few hours later. The plan to be going at 6 was out the window as it was nearly 8 by that point. I went back into Lairg to get some coffee before driving up to my starting point at Altnacaillich.

Image
Driving by Ben Klibreck.

Image
Ben Loyal from Loch Meadie.

Image
Road to Ben Hope.

I parked on a verge near the start of the track leading up the hill from the cottage. The road bridge was still being repaired. The track was pretty good heading up with some pleasant waterfalls along the way. I stopped for something to eat on the rocks crossing the burn above the top waterfall.

Image
Climbing from Altnacaillich.

Image
Crossing the burn behind the top waterfall.

I'd intended to include a walk along the top of Leitir Mhuiseil and was happy I did as it made for a much more gradual ascent to the 400m mark before the steep pull up to the summit of Ben Hope. It was a nice walk along the top of the crags with nice views down into Strathmore.

Image
Looking down to Altnacaillich.

Image
Walking along Leitir Mhuiseil.

Image
Ben Hope with its head in the clouds.

Ben Hope still had its head in the clouds by the time I reached the steep part. I'd caught up with a couple of guys who had come up from the usual starting point. I walked with them for a while and enjoyed talking to them along the way. Thankfully by the time I reached the summit it had cleared but the wind was quite strong which made things pretty cold.

Image
Ben Loyal from the summit.

Image
Trig point with Tongue bay behind.

Image
Hazy Ben Klibreck.

The hills to the west were still holding onto a lot of cloud which limited the views that way but they were great in every other direction. I was on the summit for over half an hour, sheltered in the cairn, before heading back down. I walked over to the western edge to get a view of Loch Hope before I lost too much height.

Image
Loch Hope.

I descended using the standard route, taking my time and stopping to look at the waterfalls along the path. It was quite warm now I was out of the wind. It was gone 2 by that time so I decided to leave Ben Klibreck for another day.

Image
Pool on descent.

Image
Water over some rocks.

Image
One of the many waterfalls along the path.

I reached the road where a few cars were parked by the way up Ben Hope sign. I had a couple of miles to walk back to the car which didn't take too long. Shame it wasn't a little longer as the conditions were about as good as I could hope for.

Image
Looking down Strathmore.

Image
Walking along the road.

Image
Looking back to Ben Hope.

I left Altnacaillich feeling very pleased with the walk I'd just done, even more so for extending the route a bit on such a nice day. I took a drive down to Cromarty for a wander about then stopped off in Avoch for a chippy before the long drive back to Edinburgh.

Image
Driving out of Strathmore.

Image
Cromarty Firth.
DanielM95
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 13
Munros:84   Corbetts:2
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:3   
Islands:5
Joined: Jul 18, 2015
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Couldn't Hope for More

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:53 pm

I enjoyed your report and photo's, Ben Hope gave us far more than we hoped for as well and one of our most enjoyable ascents although we went up the north ridge and walked along the top of An Garbh Choire before descending. Thank you for posting
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 690
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: Couldn't Hope for More

Postby DanielM95 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:18 am

Cairngorm creeper wrote:I enjoyed your report and photo's, Ben Hope gave us far more than we hoped for as well and one of our most enjoyable ascents although we went up the north ridge and walked along the top of An Garbh Choire before descending. Thank you for posting


Thanks, the route you did sounds very interesting. The north ridge has always sounded fun and I'd like to give it a go next time.
DanielM95
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 13
Munros:84   Corbetts:2
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:3   
Islands:5
Joined: Jul 18, 2015
Location: Edinburgh

2 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: darroch, deryksmith, gab125, howzat, Johnoneill1916, Lorton Mountain Goat, Pastychomper, Sashman and 65 guests