walkhighlands

Scotland's Last Hope? Bagging the Northernmost

Route: Ben Hope

Munros: Ben Hope

Date walked: 26/08/2021

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 7.5km

Ascent: 945m

I'm consoling myself over yet another cancelled foreign holiday (Malaga just after New Year 2022, this one would have been - Drat, Drat and Double Drat :evil: ) - by catching up on another WR that I hadn't gotten around to writing up from this summer.
One silver lining of the last two year's events, I'll reluctantly admit, is that I've enjoyed some great domestic holidays in various bits of the Highlands, including no less than three separate weeks over the summer. We'd booked a big house near Strathpeffer for a week with family & friends in late August and early September, but I had quite a bit of Annual Leave to spare, so I took an extra couple of days for walking before joining the rest of the family group on the Saturday. In fact, I drove up to Inverness after work on Wednesday, stayed in a Travelodge there, and set off bright and breezy on the Thursday morning for the long drive up to Strathmore to bag the northernmost Munro of them all, the somewhat reclusive Ben Hope.
The minor road that heads up to Strathmore from Altnaharra was certainly an experience - I've encountered single-track roads before that have grass growing up the middle between the two tyre tracks, but never before have I encountered one that has Bonny Blooming Heather growing up the middle :lol: ! My car survived it fairly intact, thankfully :? . On the final approach to the starting point for Ben Hope, I passed the iron-age broch at Alltnacaillich Farm: an extraordinarily well-preserved relic that would have been well worth a proper stop and a few photos, had the Midgies not been out in their zillions :shock: !
It had been a long though extremely scenic drive, and it was a relief to arrive at the surprisingly big and surprisingly busy car park for Ben Hope. Given that I hadn't passed a single vehicle on the way up from Altnaharra, where on earth did all these cars come from :? ? I suspect that most of them must have set off a good bit earlier than I did.
Anyway, I booted up as quickly as possible to avoid succumbing to the usual evil Scottish Midgie nanotechnology (i.e. death from about 9.3 x 10^12 tiny blood-meals!), and set off uphill as quickly as I could manage, hoping to get up above the Midgie Line rapidly enough to avoid exsanguination :lol: .
There is a steep but well-engineered path up the south bank of the Allt a' Mhuiseil burn, and thankfully it did give rapid height gain. The weather was looking extremely promising, with the morning Clag showing every sign of lifting completely as the day progressed, and there were some wee waterfalls on the Allt to admire, amidst some really lovely Highland flora :D .
WR1 - nice waterfall and flora on ascent.jpg

There was a grand view back south down Strathmore on the ascent, and my car was still in view for a lot longer than I'd expected!
WR2 - looking back down to car park.jpg

Looking up to Ben Hope's south ridge, there was still a bit of lingering Clag up there, but it didn't look as though it was going to linger much longer...
WR3 -still some Clag up there on the ridge.jpg

Sure enough, the last of the Clag did clear very soon after this, and some stirring views started to develop over to the west:
WR4 - Clag clearing and fine views developing looking westwards.jpg

With surprisingly little ado, I found myself up on Ben Hope's south ridge proper, with a grand vista back down Strathmore :) :
WR5 - up on the ridge proper now and a grand vista back down into the glen.jpg

Just a wee bit higher up, this cairn I think marked the spot where the main path from the big car park meets a smaller and older path that comes up from further down the south ridge at Alltnacaillich:
WR6 - cairn on ascent - not the summit cairn I think.jpg

It was a bit further than it looked up to the actual summit from here, with a couple of false summits en route, but this is a fairly short walk on the whole, and soon enough I found myself up at the trig point.
Truly I am not worthy of what awaited :shock: ! The air clarity was perfect by now, the Clag had pretty much vanished, and the views were just jaw-dropping.
Star of the Show was undoubtedly Ben Hope's Corbett neighbour to the east, Ben Loyal, which is another of those awesomely monolithic northern hills. Loch na Seilg and Loch a' Ghobha-Dhuibh in the foreground were also just looking unfeasibly scenic.
WR7 - at Hope trig point looking east to Ben Loyal and smaller peak with lochans in foreground.jpg

Me at the Trig Point, sans Bobble Hat but looking very chuffed to be here, as well I might!
WR8 - me at Hope summit and looking very chuffed to be there.jpg

There were several other parties already enjoying lunch at the summit environs while simultaneously taking photos in all directions, so I found myself a comfy spot and did the same (M&S Mini Melton Mowbray pork pies, since you ask :lol: ).
Another extraordinary view east to Ben Loyal:
WR9 - another extraordinary view east to Ben Loyal.jpg

The complex and impressive Corbetts, Foinaven and Arkle, immediately to the south-west:
WR10 - Foinaven I think this one is.jpg

Foinaven again, with I think part of the Conival / Ben More Assynt ridge away in the distance over its shoulder: hopefully those would be my targets for tomorrow.
WR11 - Foinaven again and I think Ben More Assynt in distance.jpg

A zoomed shot of Foinaven:
WR12 - zoomed shot of Foinaven.jpg

A huge view back to the south-west, with Foinaven again, distant Ben More Assynt et cetera:
WR13 - big view back southwards with Ben More Assynt et cetera.jpg

...And northwards, towards the North Coast and Cape Wrath:
WR14 - The North Coast.jpg

Eventually, it was time to tear myself away from those views (and from the last remnants of my M&S pork pies :lol: ) and to set off back downhill. There were further huge views southwards to enjoy at the start of the descent:
WR15 - another huge view southwards at start of descent.jpg

A final zoomed shot southtwards towards distant Ben More Assynt etc:
WR16 - zoomed shot of Ben More Assynt et cetera.jpg

It was a pleasant stoat back down to the car, followed by another long but scenic drive up to the North Coast, and then westwards then southwards all the way down to Ullapool, where I checked into the Morefield Motel (not expensive, and impressive seafood :D !) in preparation for tackling Conival and Ben More Assynt on the Friday.
A lot of driving for a short walk, but undoubtedly well worth it :D !

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 3



Barns of Bynack More

Attachment(s) Munros: Bynack More
Date walked: 01/08/2021
Distance: 22.5km
Ascent: 760m
Comments: 1
Views: 242


If this is Oireabhal, does that make me Keith Harris?

Attachment(s) Grahams: Oireabhal
Date walked: 30/06/2021
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 980m
Views: 214


An Cliseam - a tale of two Mullas

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Clisham
Date walked: 28/06/2021
Distance: 18km
Ascent: 1175m
Comments: 2
Views: 221


Dun da Gaoithe - chasing the Iona ferry!

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Dùn da Ghaoithe
Date walked: 08/06/2021
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 845m
Views: 145


More like the thing! Via Beinn Fhada & the A' Chioch Ridge

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben More (Mull)
Grahams: Beinn Fhada
Date walked: 07/06/2021
Distance: 13km
Ascent: 1300m
Views: 360


The Ben! Carn Mor Dearg!! The CMD Arete!!!

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Nevis, Càrn Mòr Dearg
Date walked: 30/05/2021
Distance: 19km
Ascent: 1560m
Comments: 4
Views: 642


Celebrating the big re-opening with an Appin Hat Trick

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Sgulaird
Corbetts: Creach Bheinn (Loch Creran)
Sub 2000s: Beinn Mheadhonach
Date walked: 25/04/2021
Distance: 25.2km
Ascent: 2020m
Views: 451


Mildly transgressive trip to Meall Mor from Stronachlachair

Attachment(s) Grahams: Meall Mór (Loch Katrine)
Date walked: 07/11/2020
Distance: 16.2km
Ascent: 1050m
Views: 153


Gulvain: Clean boots on the Dirty Hill, in autumn sunshine

Attachment(s) Munros: Gulvain
Date walked: 20/09/2020
Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1230m
Comments: 4
Views: 939

bobble_hat_kenny


User avatar
Activity: Mountaineer
Pub: Kilchoan Hotel
Mountain: Cir Mhor
Place: Arran
Gear: walking poles
Member: none at present
Ideal day out: A multi-peak walk with good views.

Munros: 216
Corbetts: 38
Grahams: 39
Donalds: 19
Hewitts: 2
Sub 2000: 24



Filter reports


Statistics

2021

Trips: 8
Distance: 136.2 km
Ascent: 9585m
Munros: 6
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 2
Sub2000s: 1

2020

Trips: 8
Distance: 163.7 km
Ascent: 8805m
Munros: 16
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1

2019

Trips: 9
Distance: 186 km
Ascent: 12075m
Munros: 13
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3

2018

Trips: 19
Distance: 296 km
Ascent: 22547m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 3

2017

Trips: 15
Distance: 291.5 km
Ascent: 17620m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 7
Hewitts: 2

2016

Trips: 13
Distance: 287.6 km
Ascent: 17600m
Munros: 26
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 4
Donalds: 1

2015

Trips: 16
Distance: 283.65 km
Ascent: 16707m
Munros: 24
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 5

2014

Trips: 18
Distance: 299.4 km
Ascent: 20155m
Munros: 14
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 9
Donalds: 5
Sub2000s: 5

2013

Trips: 15
Distance: 185.25 km
Ascent: 12412m
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 5

2012

Trips: 22
Distance: 313.75 km
Ascent: 20595m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 5
Donalds: 6
Sub2000s: 4

2005

Trips: 1
Distance: 4.5 km
Ascent: 350m
Sub2000s: 1


Joined: Sep 03, 2011
Last visited: Dec 05, 2021
Total posts: 351 | Search posts