Back in July I had a free weekend that coincided with good weather in the north west. This generally seems to be a rare occurrence with good weather appearing to only happen during the working week. Whilst having climbed Ben Hope many times I had never spent a night high on the hill. Cue plans for a night camping on the summit plateau and seeing what the views would bring.
See a slideshow of all images below and please read on.
I drove out on a Saturday afternoon with the weather and light looking good. At Loch Eriboll I had a stop at the near island peninsula of Ard Neakie to take in one of my favourite views down and across Loch Eriboll towards Foinaven, Cranstackie and Beinn Spionnaidh. Despite still being high in the sky, the late afternoon sun streaming through the clouds coupled with a misty haziness was quite spectcular.
I made my way down the lovely winding single track road to Muiseal where the path for the normal route to Ben Hope begins. Getting ready there, the midges and cleggs were out in force and I’d forgotten my repellant! A lady on a quick tour of the North Coast 500 route kindly let me use her’s which was a life saver; many thanks!
Getting moving up the hill a breeze mercifully picked up. I moved into a layer of low cloud at about 600 metres whilst heading for the 806 m south east top of Ben Hope. Near the mountain’s main summit I passed through it into much clearer air, took a few photos and then headed for a bit of shelter at the northern tip of the summit plateau from the now strong south-easterly wind.
Tent up and food eaten it was time to enjoy the sunset in the north west over the Cape Wrath hills. Mist sporadically blew through adding to the atmosphere and this continued through the night and into the morning.
I set the alarm early hoping to catch some spectacular morning light. At 4:20 am it was just starting and I had a wander round the summit checking out the light.
By 5:30 am the sun was above the horizon in the north east and the light was spectacular. The following 30 minutes provided the best light.
I retired to the tent for a bit more sleep, then on waking to thicker mist I headed to the valley for a brew and to decide how to spend Sunday. Exploring the Moine peninsula past Inverhope towards Whiten Head (An Ceann Geal) has been in my thoughts for a while and I headed that way. It was one of the hottest days of the summer and my borrowed Smidge from the night before had long since worn off. The cleggs were viscious and the heat intense but it was great to make it to Cnoc nan Gobhar and see a bit of new ground to explore. The way towards Whiten Head is wild and rugged. Certainly somewhere to come back to.
See the map below for the locations of these photos.
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