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Far NW meanderings part 2 - Ben Hutig summit camp

Far NW meanderings part 2 - Ben Hutig summit camp


Postby malky_c » Sat Aug 15, 2020 11:04 am

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Ben Hutig

Date walked: 01/08/2020

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 440m

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Sub 2k Marilyns: Ben Hutig.
Date: 01 and 02/08/2020.
Distance: 9km.
Ascent: 440m.
Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes up, 1 hour, 15 minutes down.
Weather: Breezy, clear.

After leaving Durness at midday, we ambled round the coast towards Tongue, stopping frequently for the scenery. Traigh Allt Chailgeag was mobbed - I remember passing here when it was completely empty a few years ago - seems that a zip wire across the bay has now made it a 'must stop' location. Still, one of the most attractive bays on the north coast.

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Ben Hutig from Rispond

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Traigh Allt Chailgeag

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Ard Neackie in Loch Eriboll

although we planned to go up Ben Hutig later in the day for a summit camp, we overshot and went on to Torrisdale Bay for lunch. A nice beach - only slightly off the NC500 route but a lot quieter for it.

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Torrisdale Bay

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Torrisdale Beach

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Torrisdale Beach and Bettyhill

We then drove back round to Strathan for 3pm. Jackie was feeling tired so we were going to take the shortest route up, but there wasn't immediately obvious where to park at West Strathan so we dropped back down to the coast. Our ideal route from here would have wound around the sea cliffs from here, but we were looking for an easy route that wouldn't kill Jackie. The track to Loch na h-Uamhachd looked to get us a reasonable height onto the hill, after which we would make our way cross-country to the summit.


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Ben Loyal from Melness

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Strathan Bay

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East along the coast

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Ben Loyal and Loch na h-Uamhachd

The track was easy, and after picking up water and reaching the end, we set off following faint quadbike tracks towards the summit. The ground was a little spongy in places but the going wasn't too bad. A couple of steep rises later and we were approaching the trig point. I knew this was in some kind of shelter, but the walls around it and the remains of a surveyor's hut were more extensive than I had expected.

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Heading for Ben Hutig

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Back to Cape Wrath

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Ben Hope and Loch Eriboll

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Trig time

We were glad of the summit wall as there was a fresh westerly breeze blowing. We opted to pitch the tent in the shelter of the wall.

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Summit camp

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Summit lochan

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Durness

Sitting out to the north of most of the coast and hills, we had pretty much the views I had hoped for - Cape Wrath and Foinaven round to Ben Hope and Ben Loyal, not to mention Morven in the distance. Orkney was just about noticeable as a smudge on the horizon, and the eagle eye view down onto the Kyle of Tongue and Rabbit Isles was spectacular. A large yacht was moored just off the islands.

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Ben Loyal from the summit

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Loch Eriboll and Durness

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Ben Loyal and Ben Hope

We were rather early (it was about 5pm when we pitched the tent), so we had loads of time to sit around and enjoy the scenery. The wind was a bit ferocious on the summit, but after a few minutes of looking about, you could always duck back behind the wall. Sunset didn't look like it would be ovely exciting but at the last minute the sun dropped out of the clouds into a clear strip on the horizon north of Cape Wrath. A smudge of lights in the distance to the east had to be Thurso.

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Tongue

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Evening light on Ben Loyal

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East across Eilean nan Ron

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Low light over Cape Wrath

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Summit ridge looking north

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Sun almost away

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Sunset

It was a night for a good sleep as the wind had dropped by sunset, and cloud and light showers moving in meant that dawn wasn't worth getting up for. We eventually dragged ourselves out of the tent after one such shower and the sun was out again - time to go I think!

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Durness in the morning

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Ben Loyal

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East along the north coast

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Summit ridge

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Ready to leave

We dropped back down to the south, picking up a different track after 30 minutes of heather and grass. This started in an enclosure so we climbed a fence to get in. Although Strathan looked a long way away, it didn't take long to get there at all, and shortly after 11, we were back at the car.

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Looking back to Ben Hutig

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Strathan Bay

The weather forecast for the remainder of the day was less promising, so we decided to head slowly home along the north coast.
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malky_c
 
Posts: 6019
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Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

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