Driving from Durness at the top-most northwest point of Scotland along the northern coast you will soon drive around Loch Eriboll (or Loch ‘orrible, how the based soldiers named it during WWII). In the east you will then see a majestic mountain rising into the Scottish clouds: Ben Hope.
Thanks to its solitude location the northernmost Munro is an excellent viewpoint. From there you will have the rare pleasure to enjoy on one side a wild and rugged mountainscape and on the other side the sea. Assuming of course the weather takes part it will be an easy hike with great views.
Ben Hope is number 253 in the Munro Tables and the name doesn't mean "son of hope" but in fact "Hill of the bay".
View from Ben Hope
Ascending the slopes of Ben Hope
Coming from Lairg follow the A836 to the north in direction Tongue. North of the village Altnaharra a small road branches to the west (eventually there are signs to the village of Hope or Loch Hope). Passing Allnabad and the “Broch” Dun Dornaigil finally the Farm Alltnacaillich will be reached. About 2 kilometres north of the farm you will come to a barn where you can leave the car. At this point Allt na Caillich flows down the western side of Ben Hope and falls into the Strathmore River.
For the ascend first follow a path along the burn. The path twists uphill avoiding the western cliffs and heads in northern direction up the grassy slope to the summit plateau.
An alternative route starts at Alltnacaillich Farm. Crossing the burn above the waterfall you can follow a faint path along the broad plateau of Leitir Mhuiseil to the north, finally meeting the normal route at the southern slopes of Ben Hope.
There is no red tape.
Camping & accomodation
Camping in the northern Sutherland is only recommended for really water-proofed mountaineers. I would seriously advise accomodations at Durness, Tongue or Lairg ;-)
|Strathmore River |
|The wilderness of Strath More
Maps & books
Map: Ordnance Survey, Landranger 9 – Cape Wrath, 1:50 000
Book: Donald J. Bennet: The Munros, published by SMC and Hillwalkers Club, ISBN 0-907521-31-2