Ben Hope for 282 with banner, pipes and mug

Route: Ben Hope

Munros: Ben Hope

Date walked: 21/09/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 7.5km

I first climbed Ben Hope on a windy October day in 2003

By its south ridge


In the company of this chap

Full story here


Fast forward to 2019 and Ian was nearing the culmination of a Munro journey which started back in 1973. He did most of it from Yorkshire, squeezed into holidays, but in the last couple of years since moving back north he's been a man on a mission grabbing every weekend with half decent weather to reach his goal. Before we knew it he had only 5 on the Cuillin ridge and Ben Hope left to do. His original idea was to keep Ben Hope for last as it's more accessible to families than the Black Cuillin but a delay in dates with his Skye guide meant he considered nipping off to do Ben Hope before the Cuillin trip. That was until I persuaded him not to. A group of us were looking forward to sharing his last with him and it wasn't likely we'd be doing that on the In Pinn!

Ian on day he climbed the In Pinn (taken by his guide)

Very sadly for me a couple of days before compleation day I went down with a virus that wiped me out. Then my son and daughter in law went down with something similar, meaning they and their 4 boys couldn't go either. When I phoned the chap at the Crask Inn to say the number had gone down from 18 to 11 I think he was a bit relieved as he was to be on his own when we planned to pitch up!

In the end there was a spare seat in one of the cars so one of my grandsons was able to go. I was gutted to miss it but delighted he was there to represent the family. They parked at the usual start point in Strathmore and were on their way by 11.00. The youngest in the group was only 5 but she's a hardy 5 year old who had been up Ben Wyvis a few weeks earlier. Even so it was a big ask to tackle that steep path and one of the older kids said some of the steps up were so big she was putting her foot above her waist to get up them.

Group in good spirits at start of climb

The path up the side of the Allt a' Mhuiseil was steep from the start and height waa gained quickly.

Waterfall on Allt a' Mhuiseil


Feng and Mei and their amazing kids (aged 8, 6 and 5).



River Strathmore

As they approached the ridge energy levels started to flag. It was a long time since breakfast and they were needing food. The wind was strong (is it always windy on Ben Hope?) and it wasn't easy to find a sheltered spot but stopping for lunch was now a prioriy. That did the trick and after getting some fuel in there was a renewed enthusiasm for getting on with the job of reaching the summit.


View down south ridge and hills south of Strathmore

I got a text from Ian at 1.09 to say they were approaching the final steep pull to the summit. Then another at 2.00 to say they were at the top and had taken photos. I felt quite emotional imagining the scene. What an experience for those children to be part of a Munro compleation. I wondered if any of them would go on to do all 282 themselves, but whether they do or not they've learned at a young age to appreciate the wonderful landscape we have on our doorstep and that's worth something.

The wind was so strong on the ridge the smaller children had an adult on either side holding their hands so they wouldn't be blown over. But there were no complaints. What troopers those kids are.

Grandson at summit

Father and son

The plan was for Ian to hold back and let the others reach the summit first. Then they made an arch with poles which he ran through (no photos of that) and Feng and Mei had made a banner so no one was in any doubt what the occasion was.

That's the full set for Ian

Well done those kids

A wee dram to celebrate


There was a slight haze in the distance but James thought he could make out the cliffs of Hoy on Orkney.

Loch Eribol and Pentland Firth

Kyle of Tongue and Ben Loyal

Loch na Seilg and Loch a' Ghobha-Dhuibh in foreground with Ben Loyal behind

For those with sore knees I had suggested the option of a more gradual descent by the south ridge which I'd walked up before but without anyone to show them the way they wisely decided to stick together and descend by the shorter but steeper ascent route. I think it was a tough descent but they all made it safely back to the cars where Katie (13) had enough puff left to give a stirring rendering of "There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier" on the pipes. There's nothing like the skirl of the pipes surrounded by the beauty of the Scottish hills. A moving moment for Ian and well done Katie.

Katie on the pipes

Once debooted they headed for the Crask Inn where a choice of soups, toasties and cakes were laid on and James and Jane presented Ian with a celebration mug with all the Munros inscribed around it. What a great idea.

Munroist's mug at the Crask Inn

It was a great day with fabulous weather and views enjoyed by all and so good for those young ones to be there to share it with Ian. Just sorry I missed it. Apart from the 2003 photos, I'm grateful to Jane and Mei for all the other photos! :D

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