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France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope


Postby Emmanuelle » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:40 pm

Route description: Ben Hope

Munros included on this walk: Ben Hope

Date walked: 22/07/2017

Time taken: 4.5 hours

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It’s been a long time coming… Back in 2014, with 64 Munros to climb to finish the round, I said to myself ‘Self, you need a plan’. And so it was that I divided 64 into 3, came up with 20 a year + 4 and I’d be done in just under 4 years. Secretly I was hoping I could do them in 3 but what with having a full-time job, a transnational personal life, the vagaries of the Scottish weather and the remoteness of most of my remaining Munros, I knew that 4 full years was probably more realistic. I also needed to identify a hill to finish on. The usual suspects had already been climbed and quite a few potential candidates were difficult to access or a bit challenging for a group ascent. And I had also left myself with quite a lot of remote hills, including the Fisherfield 6 (well 5+1). And so it was that prevarication, weather and some nice breaks too led three years later with the Fisherfield 6 and Ben Hope standing between me and compleation. But then winter set in and there was no way I could finish before December 2016. I had to bide my time and hope that spring 2017 would bring glad tidings. And it did.

ImageHill essentials by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

Six weeks after my successful Fisherfield adventure, 11 of us stood at the car park in Strath More to turn the last page in what has been a 23 year chapter of my life. In ages we ranged from 12 to 59 although the median age was definitely in the 50s, so a mature lot + Coulin the dog.

ImageIt must be the right hill by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

The clouds were high and clearing the summits, with lots of blue sky and despite a stiff breeze fairly balmy temperatures. The walk passed without incident – it’s an easy ascent though a bit steep at first but the long southern slopes leading to the summit offer an easy incline.

ImageUntitled by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

The dog must have climbed that hill three times, racing up, down and around, James, our youngest walker (for whom this was his second time on Ben Hope), made his own pace, taking frequent rests. David kept up with Ben until his reserves of energy deserted him and he let himself drop to the ground for a good recline! Ben whose third visit this was rushed up to the summit hoping to get the views that had eluded him on his previous visits. The rest of us just plodded on.

ImageJames and Coulin by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

Someone asked me a few days later how I felt on the day. I was quite nervous in the run up to the long drive from Falkirk to the Kyle of Tongue. I woke up on the morning of the walk feeling some trepidation but also a sense of the surreality of the situation. I was itching to get started at the car park. However on the way up it was just a normal hillwalk interspersed with the occasional reminders that, no, this was not a normal hillwalk at all – IT WAS MY LAST MUNRO. So a mixed bag of emotional states.

Two hours passed really quickly and soon enough I was striding excitedly towards the trig point, leaving the peloton behind. A photo shoot ensued – Me by the trig point, with my hat on, without, with a glass of champagne, with my hood on, and off. I felt a bit like a bride! I think it was acceptable to look smug. Then we retreated behind the trig point to get out of the wind gusts!

ImageAlmost there by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImagePose by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageCheers by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageCheers by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageCheers by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageGroup pic by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

The clouds were still clearing, quite a few still bubbling up in the north with a persistent haze smearing the horizon. But the air got clearer, the sky bluer and the views more distinct. A few of us wandered over to the top of the crags and enjoyed being out of the gusts. This also gave me a hankering for coming back and ascending it via the north/north east ridge.

High points of the panorama laid out around us: Ben Loyal (what a dramatic looking hill), the sands of the Kyle of Tongue, Loch Eriboll, Foinaven, the faint outline of the Ben More Assynt and Conival group, and what we surmised was the Dounreay power station glinting in the haze.

ImageUntitled by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageKyle of Tongue sands by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageFoinaven by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImagePanorama West by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

We ran out of whisky, champagne and home made cake so there was nothing to do but retrace our steps back to the car!

ImageThe descent... by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageStrath More by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

At the car park we bade farewell to some of our companions and the rest of us drove back to the hostel in perfect weather. By then the sky was immaculately blue and Ben Hope and Ben Loyal kept us company all the way back to the causeway.

ImageBen Hope, evening by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

We had two hours for showers and more alcoholic beverages before the walk up to the Ben Hope hotel for a celebratory meal.

ImageCasteal Bharraich by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageWalking back from the pub by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

Epilogue – we woke up the next morning in a cloud. The views which had charmed us the day before had been removed overnight to be replaced by murk and swarms of midges. We quietly congratulated ourselves on our luck at having made our ascent in a window of good weather.

ImageBen Hope by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

The letter to the SMC was posted a few days ago. I asked the Clerk of the List whether I was the first French person and/or woman to compleat all the Munros. I received a response telling me that I was Munroist no 6177 and that there is no record of there being French Munroists before me. Therefore this makes me the first French Munroist which I think you’ll agree calls for another glass of champagne!

Thanks to Ben, Elaine, David, Alan, Lyn, James, Sandra and Johann for some of the pics.
Emmanuelle
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Coop » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:42 pm

Fantastic
Aways brings a smile reading of someone's compleation.
Happy for you that some friends went with you and you got a good day for it.
Cheers :clap:
Coop
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby RocksRock » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:59 pm

Formidable! Mes felicitations! :clap:

(Sorry that's all the French I remember from 1961 O level)
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby gaffr » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:41 pm

Congratulations with your completion ....with weather, work and all the rest it is difficult to get out to the remoter ones.
My wife is French and has enjoyed many trips into the Munros after living part of her life in Annemasse with the hills around there keeping her busy for some time and of course I interrupted her flow here by getting into seeking out the 'wee ronnies' and she then became an avid seeker out of these hills. :D
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby katyhills » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:53 pm

Congratulations! You look thrilled - and why not!
Superb set of photos and a lovely record of your ....well, record! :lol:
A great day for you all weatherwise - the gods must have been smiling down on you too.

Never mind a smile Coop, I always get a lump in my throat reading about people compleating. It's a hell of an achievement, and even more so when you don't live here in Scotland.

I'm currently putting my hat on, so that I can take it off to you :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:29 am

'S math a rinn sibh ..... well done. :clap:

PS. I met you on Sgurr na Sgine a few years back
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:52 am

Great achievement :clap: :clap: and a superb place for your completion.
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Emmanuelle » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:12 pm

Collaciotach wrote:'S math a rinn sibh ..... well done. :clap:

PS. I met you on Sgurr na Sgine a few years back



Yes, I remember, your dog was with you. It was a beautiful November day. Sunny, clear skies, cracking views!
Emmanuelle
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:14 pm

Congratulations!
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby onsen » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:27 am

Goal accomplished !.....Well done, Emmanuelle. :clap:
Beautiful day for the lucky last.
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:51 am

So glad you got a good weather day for the completion. We were thinking about you from over the Kyle on the Cape Wrath hills on the same day. And extra congrats for being the First French :clap:
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:04 am

Great stuff. I know I'll never get all the munros done, but I do admire the dedication of those that do! Well done, especially on being the first French person to do it :clap: :clap: :clap: .

And you managed to get it done before Brexit!!! My (French) boss gives me huge stick about this - every issue that comes up he attributes to Brexit :D ! Even my iffy broadband connection he attributes to the UK floating away from continental Europe!!
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Sick Kid » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:29 pm

Congratulations Emmanuelle! :clap: :clap: :clap:
So glad you got a good weather day for it, and you look like you thoroughly enjoyed yourself :D
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:10 pm

Congratulations on the round - good to see you got a nice day for the finish. Known France-based Munro completions:

John Pearson (no.4736 in the list), lived in Belgium 1973-2001, then in France from 2001. Completed on Ben Lomond, 17/4/11.

Alastair Wood (5398), just 18 Munros left to climb by 1967, then moved abroad, latterly to France. Next Munro was Ruadh Stac Mor, October 2010. Completed aged 71 on Sgurr Mor (Quoich), 21/10/13.

Douglas Bonner (5675), based in the Dordogne. Completed on Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill of An Teallach, 30/5/14.

There's also Stuart France (1775, completed summer 1997 on A'Mhaighdean), Mervyn French (2633, Beinn Fhionnlaidh in Appin, 27/10/01) and Dr Colin French (5031, A'Mhaighdean, 18/6/12), but that's not quite the same thing...
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Re: France achieves first compleation on Ben Hope

Postby Jaxter » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:11 pm

Fantastic - congratulations :clap: :clap: :clap:

Looks like you had better weather than that cold day on the Tarmachan ridge last year, although that day was so much fun that I'll never forget it :lol:
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