Ben Hope

Ben Hope from Strath More

Hillwalking route up Ben Hope from Strath More

The most direct route up Ben Hope begins from near Dun Dornaigil broch in Strath More and follows a path tracing the crest of the southern shoulder of this fine mountain.



Route outline


  Map base ©OpenStreetMap
Munros

Ben Hope

Ascent 915m (3000ft)
Distance 7km (4m)
Time 3:10hr
Start/finish By Strathmore River
Grid Ref : NC462476
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


This approach up Ben Hope is the most direct and follows an easy route starting from near Dun Dornaigil broch to the south in Strathmore. The initial ascent is steep and can be soggy, but once the Allt na Caillich is crossed higher up, a fairly gentle and mainly grass covered slope leads all the way to Ben Hope's summit cairn and trig point.

Reaching Ben Hope's summit on clear days is rewarded with some far-distant stunning views, including over to Orkney.



Route map




Route description


1. Getting to Strath More

Looking up Ben Hope from Strath More

If approaching on the A836 from Lairg to the south, the road passes through Altnaharra, just north of which there is a junction. A sign just says 'Hope'.

The narrow road heading west from here heads up to Loch Hope and the small hamlet of Hope where it meets the A838 Durness to Tongue. Around half way along this narrow road, and just north of the Dun Dornaigil Broch, there is a rough verge-side car-park where sign marks the start of our route up Ben Hope.


2. Ben Hope

On Ben Hope's southern shoulder

From the roadside parking area, a sign indicates the start of the walk up Ben Hope.

Follow the Allt a'Mhuiseil burn up its southside on a worn, wet steep path (on OS maps the path is marked incorrectly crossing the Allt a'Mhuiseil). After climbing around 150m, the path crosses a minor burn coming from the east , climbs around another 50m, then takes a sharp turn right (east). Clambering up through heather, the rough path reaches a line of small crags and negotiates a way over.

The ground levels out somewhat and some very wet grass covered ground requires crossing with the path becoming much fainter. Reaching the end of the damp ground, the path reforms, turns north and crosses a burn . Up some delightful grass-covered ground the path reaches some bouldery ground at around c500m and swings east again .

Follow the path cutting a route through the boulders then scree as it gradually turns northwards. Scree gives way to more pleasant grass-covered slopes and uphill further on the edge of Ben Hope's westerly crags is reached at around c700m.

A patch of scree at around c800m is met, indicating Ben Hope's summit is not much further, but take note that if in mist, you might mistake the first cairn met to be the summit - it's not ! Ben Hope's summit has a trig point perched on some boulders, from where the views are wonderful and vast - on a clear day you can even see Orkney.


3. Return

Descending Ben Hope to Strath More

The easiest route is to simply about-turn and re-trace your steps aback down to the rodside.

Alternatively after re-tracing your route to down to cross the burn , leave the path and keep above the lines of crags aiming southwards. You can follow above the ledges of Leitir Mhuiseil to reach an ATV track above the buildings of Alltnacaillich, then pick up the bank of the Allt Dornaigil to drop to Dun Dornaigil broch.


4. Alternative route via the north ridge

Scrambling up Ben Hope's northern ridge

An alternative route up Ben Hope heads up its north-east ridge. This route requires some navigation and depending on route choice higher up, a good head for heights !

This route begins by following the Moine Path which starts from the roadside by the head of Loch Hope. Finding the Moine Path is not very obvious - a small cairn marks its start. There is limited roadside parking nearby.

The Moine Path heads away from the road initially as a grassy track. Follow this to some woodland and continue for 2km to where the path turns sharply then crosses a burn .

Beyond the burn, leave the main path and head south-east initially following some ATV tracks. When the ATV tracks turn south, leave them and aim east-south-east up pathless, wet, grass covered slopes for just under 2km.

Once on the crest of Ben Hope's north-east shoulder (Carn a'Ghallaich) turn south-west and aim uphill. Higher up a faint path is picked up which continues up to a bealach before the base of a "bad-step" at around c820m. Climbing up this is technically fairly straightforward (Grade 2 ?), however the sensational exposure may persuade you to look for a by-pass. There is an alternative - head slightly to the left (east) and scramble up a gully to just above the difficulties on the ridge.

Further up, the narrow crest gradually gives way to the wide summit plateau and the trig point is reached.

Return by the descent in the main route, followed by a pleasant walk of 3km back along the road.





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