Thursday, 16 August 2012

Far North Munro Bagging, August 2012

At the beginning of August we'd billed a long weekend bagging some of the finer peaks in the far north-west of Scotland. Several people had booked onto the trip, but some last minute cancellations saw us down to just two people. However, that meant we could tailor the trip to their needs.

Arriving at Inchnadamph in glorious conditions, we met and had a chat about what our two clients, Sam and Susan wanted to get out of the trip - Conival and Ben Mor Assynt were our targets for today. Some cloud brushed these summits and the nearer high peaks. A warm walk took us by a gently bubbling burn, then up onto Conival's north-western shoulder. Cloud still encircled the summit, so we decided on an early lunch below some quartzite blocks and hopefully the air would clear. Magically it did ! We were joined by a young german lass on the summit for photos and a chat.

Some more european walkers joined then overtook us on the walk between Conival and Ben More Assynt - a combination of scree, boulders and rocky pathways. Distant, tho slightly hazy views all around from the summit and we relaxed behind the cairn for some more food.

We returned the same way, stopping frequently for photos of the awesome panoramas.

Our second day saw us meet at the foot of Ben Hope. Our plan was to aim up this peak, then depending on our timing, hopefully bag Ben Klibreck in the afternoon. Another very bright day, if a bit colder and slightly breezier.

Only a couple of cars in the car-park as we left and headed up the 'tourist path'. After the first 150m of steep ascent, the walk continued on a more gradual grassy path. We took time to admire the amazing landscapes created by the Moine Thrust and the ice-age. The mist blowing over the summit almost lifted upon our arrival and leaving Sam and Susan by the trig point, I set off to explore to northern spur of this mountain. Definitely not for those of nervous disposition, heading along this part of the mountain requires a good head for heights ! Up and down this section, I returned to the trig-point with my clients ready for the walk back down. We had the mountain more or less to ourselves, but heading back we were greeted by several groups, all with big smiles enjoying the day !

Susan decided to call trip to an end for herself - this was her first time doing consecutive days on the hills, leaving Sam and myself to head for Ben Klibreck. The narrow road from Ben Hope to Altnaharra is a delight with mountains popping up all around. We arrived at our starting point, to find the lay-by full - it was going to be busy up there ! I did warn Sam that the trudge up this hill is exceptionally tedious and Ben Klibreck lived down to expectations. Is very difficult to motivate someone, when you're needing encouragement yourself. After what seemed like an eternity, we were up onto the path at around 650m and a spurt was put on. The wind picked up once on the shoulder, which sapped Sam's remaining energy. A happy, but tired woman on the top - 153 Munros now done !

More photos are on our Flickr site !