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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