The four most northerly munros can, with a wee bit planning and some resolve be done in one 3 or four day road trip. So planning done and resolve packed I headed up the A9 on Sunday 30th April on our way to the first Munro on the list, Ben Klibreck. I was travelling with a friend, Graham, our plan was to leave Kirkcaldy 0600 eat on way up and climb Ben Klibreck then head for the Altnahara Hotel and meet the other two in our party at the bar!
We left Kirkcaldy at 0610 made good time North and stopped at Aviemore for a bacon roll and a cuppa in Cobbs. The drive to Ben Klibreck is just over 200miles and as you get closer to the hill the roads get narrower, traffic gets less and it becomes a drivers nightmare and a passengers dream. Miles of nothing but loads of views.
We arrived at the designated parking spot and set off across a footbridge and onto a well defined path. The path did not last very long and soon we were trying to follow faint trails through bog and peat hags. The weather was great with blue skies and sunshine to cheer us up. As we climbed SE up the grassy slopes of Ben Klibreck we began to follow an excellent path which seemed to contour around the hillside. This led us to the ridge and the final climb to the summit.
Time taken was approx 6 hours with 2600 ft of climb. Our home for the first two nights of the trip was the Altnahara hotel and as we picked our way down the slope I had a text to let us know that our other two friends were in the bar waiting to order food and could we get a move on!!
The next day our choice of Munro was Ben Hope at a little over 4 miles with 3000ft of climb this turned out to be a stiff proposition and there was more than one expletive aired on the way up the steep bouldery slope. There was no mistaking where the start point was with a large sign proclaiming Ben Hope car Park! It was at the end of a lovely strath and there was already 4 vehicles there when we arrived. We headed up the well trodden path which morphed into a myriad of intertwining pathways all heading up. The views from the top of the hill were amazing and I am sure if the haze had not been there we would have seen the Orkney Isles.
Coming down from the summit Ian managed to bend his walking pole on the stony ground.
We headed back to Altnahra 4 happy but weary walkers. However there was mutiny afoot and by the end of the evening I was the only one headed to Conival and the Ben More Assynt the following day to finish off the quartet of northern munros.
Graham gave me a lift to the start point at Inchnadamph and he set off on a low level walk to while away some time whilst I bagged the final two munros.
Leaving the Inchnadamph hotel car park you cross the bridge and follow the path towards the traligill caves. You then take the left fork and head for the beallach between Beinn an Fhurain and Conival. This is marked by a small stone cairn. Up to this point the going has been fairly easy but from now until you are back to this point on the return leg the going is harder with large stones and boulders underfoot.
I was on my own today the others deciding against this longer day and whilst the going was good decided to speed up. The cloud was blowing in and out over Ben More and the view of the ridge from Conival when the cloud lifted was spectacular. The hill was busy as had been indicated by the other vehicles in the car park but walkers were fairly well spread out along the route. I reached the summit of Ben More and did not tarry as the summit was covered in cloud and a strong wind was blowing.
I followed the same route back and once again when I reached the easier going started to increase the pace. I had been dropped off and arranged a pick up at the hotel. With time to spare I visited the caves a 10 minute detour well worth the extra K or so.
A great trip which took my Munro count up to 232.