Monday, July 18, 2011

Assynt and the Far North: Ben Klibreck (Meall nan Con) (194)

Walk date: 30/06/11
My Munro #'s: 216

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Byn kleebreck - hill of the speckled cliff - 962m

Duration - 14:30 - 18:00
Distance - km
Total ascent - m
Weather - dry but windy on top
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 5 others

Paul P and George 'Daddy Team' Hiking Trip 2011
Day 6 - Thursday

Now, you'll note that this hill was started rather late in the day. It just so happens that as we were leaving the hostel in the morning, we couldn't find my rather expensive Canon 40D DSLR camera and the more expensive wide angled lens that was attached to it. The last time we had seen it was on Ben Hope, when I had put it down on some rocks while we had our rest. Upon setting off down, I'd asked Paul to check if I'd put it back in my bag, he had felt in my rucksack and said yes. However, it slowly dawned on us on this morning that he must have felt my lunch box (so to speak) and that the camera must have spent a night up on the hill, where it had been constantly raining of course!

Hence today actually started off with a second climb of Ben Hope, where we did indeed discover my camera still on the summit! Phew! What's more amazing is that once I'd given it a week to dry out, it still worked perfectly. Canon, hats off to your construction methods!

So finally, after this 'bonus' hill, a fair bit more driving on 'interesting' roads, and lunch, we actually set out for a new hill. Without a good place to stop at the plotted start point, we carried on a little and found what was technically a car park but actually more like a large passing place on the A836.

The way from this spot started with a small river crossing, which was ok as we found some rocks, but most of the river was bare and it would have been tricky without them. After that reaching the hill itself was a feat in itself, as a large expanse of grass and bog has to be crossed. Thin trails through the grass showed that some other souls had been this way. We did consider heading north to our plotted route, but nothing could be seen that way, and the point at which it hit Klibreck looked like a sheer wall from where we were.

We had resigned ourselves to heading south east for the lowest end of the south ridge (a point off the map), but the thin trails we were on ended up becoming a thin path up onto the back of Klibreck. The going was extremely steep with short bursts of energy being the preferred option, but the height was gained impressively quickly and we found ourselves being a spectacle for other hikers higher up. It turned out these other hikers had been on the main path, which indeed ran the length of the ridge along the western facing side. Our adventurous trail hit it below Creag an Lochain and after that the going was very smooth.

The next real climbing was for the summit itself and on a fast path so we didn't mind so much. Before long we were sat amongst the summit rocks taking in another spectacular Far North view. The route down was unsurprisingly much faster which meant we were in good time for a special dinner.

As is my way when going to a new hiking area, one of the first things I study after the hills is the local real ale action and this was no different. The Crask Inn turned up very quickly in my research and with its reputation for food it had to be visited, and when better at the end of a week's hiking? It did not disappoint. The bar was rustic and comfortable, the service excellent and friendly, the ales (mostly in bottles) were very interesting, the food delicious and the coffee of nuclear strength. A superb end to a superb week. Recommended!

Oh Klibreck, why so far?

The 'main' path, now that's steep!

Big skies:

A deserved break:

Southeast from the summit:

Loch Naver and the Far North:

Looking back to the 'car park':

The lonely Crask Inn:

I'm easily pleased!

Give me this bar and a snow storm any day!

Just chillin' in the Crask:

Sunset from Tongue as we walked to the pub once back:

North from the Tongue causeway on the morning we left:

And south, the whole of the UK this way:

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Assynt and the Far North: Cape Wrath and Ben Hope (256)

Walk date: 29/06/11
My Munro #'s:

Before we get to the munro, we didn't feel we could be in this area and not take in the lonely north-weatern edge of Scotland. I say lonely because although a population did live there one, the penisula has long been abandoned, and indeed part of it now forms a RAF bombing range, perhaps there's a connection there? To visit, you have to get a trip in a tiny boat and then a bumpy 11 mile ride in a battered minibus. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but the boat and bus were full on our day!

Cape Wrath trip first:

Phew, no bombs today!

The boat!

The guy at the back is the skipper, he fishes while ferrying too!

All aboard the luxury bus!

The lighthouse is the only reason a road was built!

Now that's a fog-horn!

Big cliffs and rocks, hence a light-house!

Thataway are the UK's highest mainland cliffs!


Spot the nutter getting a closer look:

Nice arch:

We were there!

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Byn hope - hill of the bay - 927m

Duration - 16:30 - 18:30
Distance - 11 km
Total ascent - 910m
Weather - mixed, mainly good but windy
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 3

Paul P and George 'Daddy Team' Hiking Trip 2011
Day 5 - Wednesday

Although it was late in the day after Cape Wrath, Ben Hope is a 2-hour outing and we were feeling lazy without a munro under our belts. We set off at a grand pace from a signposted car park with a clear path. This wasn't the start my book suggested, but it seemed to make sense to us, and besides we welcomed the break from driving on the tiny track we were on.
A quick burst of ascent gets you onto the back of Ben Hope and from there the pace is momentarily more chilled before getting back to business. Although the route is relatively steep it was just right with a bit of determination to keep it going all the way to the top. The path is clear and fast, with some rocks but nothing loose enough to give you issues. In just over an hour we were at the summit exhilarated and rewarded with some fine views over the north coast of Scotland including our overnight spot at Tongue and on to Orkney. Having taken in the views, and with such a good pace we couldn't help it but quickly turn it around and stomp on down, arriving at the car exactly 2 hours after setting out. Grand!
Up the back of Ben Hope:

Getting there:


Now that's a view!

A man and his trig point!

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Assynt and the Far North: Conival (158) and Ben More Assynt (141)

Walk date: 28/06/11
My Munro #'s:
213 and 214

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Konivaal - hill of joining - 987mByn moar assint - big hill of Assynt - 998m

Duration - 10:50 - 17:30
Distance - 17.4 km
Total ascent - 1040m
Weather - grey, wind, spots of rain and sun!
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: lots, a busy day

Paul P and George 'Daddy Team' Hiking Trip 2011
Day 4 - Tuesday

This day marked our journeying on to the true far north of Scotland, a wild land less jagged and high than the heart of the Highlands, but with a remote air that can't be challenged, not to mention the so-called A-roads1!

From the four munros in this district, Conival and Ben More Assynt are the only ones that can be linked together. The route is straightforward from the Inchnadamph car park , as it rises gradually up the long Glean Dubh with Conival evident before you. A diversion is possible from the ascent to visit the Tralligill Caves, but with a fair bit of travelling before and after our hike we keep our gaze on Conival.

Toward the top of the glen, the path bends north east to reach the col between Conival and Beinn an Fhurain, after that the pace of ascent continues up the rocky northern ridge of Conival which flattens on top with the summit being along at the join to the Ben More Assynt ridge. A spot of a rest here to soak in the simply massive vistas on offer.

The summit of Ben More Assynt is less than 2km away, and the route on is simple enough navigation, however the ridge between the two peaks is awash with loose stones and the going is slow and tiring; a rare route where some snow would actually help! Having made it to the summit, we took in a deserved rest while enjoying huge views over Loch Shin and low hills for miles around.

A fine day out, with a great stop in the recommended Achininver Youth Hostel overnight, enjoying real sun with some fine real ale!

A great looking hostel at the base of the path:

Conival makes an appearance:

On the rise up Conival:

Huge views from Conival's summit:

That rocky ridge to Ben More Assynt:

A nice spot for lunch on Ben More Assynt:

Enjoying the descent through Glean Dubh:

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The Achnashellach and Torridon Hills: Sgorr Ruadh (195)

Walk date: 27/06/11
My Munro #'s:

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Skoor rooa - red peak - 962m

Duration - 12:00 - 17:00
Distance -
16.2 km
Total ascent -
Weather - 'bright grey'
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 2

Paul P and George 'Daddy Team' Hiking Trip 2011
Day 3 - Monday

Having done 'Superbig', this freed up a day in our week allowing us to head back to the Achnashellach arena and have a second go at Sgorr Ruadh, having been defeated on a previous excursion due to horrendous weather, see here.

Well the weather on this day was certainly better. As Paul put it, it was pleasantly 'bright grey'. We set off quite late in the day, due to a deserved lie-in, but then also a motor bike crash just down from the bunkhouse, which necessitated an air ambulance landing on the road just outside!

The route up past the train station, into the forest and out is straightforward enough, and then the good path leads you climbing up alongside the River Lair. After a while the path flattens out as you enter the upper glen, with gentler slopes taking you up to the bealach between the munros with its excellent views over to Liathach in Torridon proper.

The climb of Sgorr Ruadh then starts in earnest and is unsurprising to start with, before rock outcrops are met and some minor scrambling is required, something that wouldn't have been good if we'd have pushed on with the last attempt!!

Nonetheless, the summit is soon reached with the good path providing amazing panoramic views over nearby hills and the western coast. Our route on was to head for Fuar Tholl but then to descend before it. This worked out well but for a fair while was pathless and a little hard work around Loch a' Bhealaich Mhoir with many ups and downs and outcrops to walk around. Anyway, soon enough a good path is met which links with the ascent route. A fine day out with kind weather such as this!

Fuar Tholl looking good:

Not tired from yesterday, not us!

Looking back down the glen:

Liathach spotted from the col!

Sgurr Ruadh summit this way!

Looking over to Loch Torridon:

With me!

Loch a' Bhealaich Mhor and Fuar Tholl beyond:

The crags of Fuar Tholl:

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