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Blasted on Ben Hutig
by Pastychomper » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:11 pm
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Ben Hutig
Date walked: 06/08/2018
Time taken: 8.33 hours
Distance: 16.5 km
Ascent: 674m2 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).
On the advice of certain WH contributors, we decided to get acquainted with Ben Hutig before any bulldozers moved in.
It was a breezy day so probably just as well to stick to a low hill.
Starting just outside West Strathan, we headed south and joined a track heading up across the moor.
On the map this leads into a large enclosure with no other exit, but the fence was low and someone had helpfully cut a hole in the far corner.
Off the track the ground was dry and tussocky, and remained so for most of the walk. The place was a haven for hairy caterpillars. And the odd frog.
The first peak had some impressive crags that provided some shelter from the wind.
There were excellent views of the northern landscape...
...but Ben Loyal took the prize for the Most Moody Mountain.
I've seen some impressive summit cairns in my time, but this was my first walled summit garden.
We followed the ridge north, getting blasted all the way by the unremitting westerly wind. It felt like a strong Caithness gale, so around 60mph. I'm thinking about adding a single earplug to my list of standard hill equipment.
At the next high point was a nice cairn, this one with more of a round vibe. Here my hat was blown off my head - or should I say it was blasted off? I put it in my bag soon after.
After some deliberation we chose to brave the increasing wind and follow the ridge to the coast.
One of the craggy points along the ridge overlooked a wide, flat area - the flattest I'd seen all day. I'd been wondering exactly where the mini-spaceport would be put, and it occurred to me that if I was going to build a spaceport on this little peninsula, it might be there. Even as that ran through my head I thought that if I were planning to build a spaceport on such a windswept bog, I'd have said head examined. (FWIW I'm pretty sure the site is actually further south.)
We followed the clifftop fence around the leeward side of the headland. Outside the fence the land curved abruptly down to nothingness.
There were several burns on the way but they had clear tracks running to and from passable crossings.
I love it when I go hill walking and find myself in a completely different environment, it's like being awarded a bonus walk.
Several ups and downs later we escaped the remaining slopes by descending to Achininver Beach, one of the many north coast beaches that would be heaving with people if it were a bit further south. The tide was most of the way out, exposing a sand bar and a wide choice of routes.
After making use of the foot-cooling and shoe-washing facilities, and admiring the headgear sported by some of the locals,
we crossed to the road. From the other side we could see we'd missed a shorter track back, but we did get to see yet more wildlife - a vast swathe of amphipods hopping about on the sand, and a small amphibian hopping about on the road. Didn't get a decent picture though.
The entire trip took about eight and a half hours and covered ten miles, but we both felt like we'd done about three times that distance. The going wasn't actually bad but it was mostly trackless and decidedly lumpy. And did I mention the wind? We did Ben Hope the next day and that giant staircase seemed much easier. Hutig was definitely worth it though - it was an excellent walk with an even better outlook. Anyone who thinks Munros are the only hills worth bothering with can, well, take a hike.
by onsen » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:55 pm
- Munro compleatist
- Posts: 272
- Joined: Oct 10, 2012
- Location: The Great Southern Land, Australia
by Sgurr » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:33 pm
by Pastychomper » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:24 pm
I had read on WH about the surveyors' camp but was surprised at how big it was and still is, I take it the other walls to the southeast were also part of it? I've just looked at an aerial photo on Bing and it looks like there's another wall and enclosure further down the gully that I didn't even notice on the day. I suppose if they were up there for weeks with a load of equipment it would make sense.
Now I'm trying to remember if we spotted Orkney at all. I think that's Dunnet Head on the horizon in one of the pictures, so general visibility was good enough, but the islands further out to sea were obscured.
by malky_c » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:11 pm
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