Tuesday 12 July 2011

Ben Klibreck - Holiday in the Far North and West of Scotland - Day 5.

Another beautiful morning in the far north, with clear views across Loch Naver. A perfect day for a trip into the hills. After an early morning dog walk around the Grummore clearance village we headed a few miles south and west for an ascent of Ben Klibreck.  

Ben Klibreck from the campsite at Grummore

At Grummore
Ben Klibreck.

We set off about half past ten from Vagastie Bridge, south of Altnaharra on the A836, and followed a vague track south east across the moor, the gradient gradually increasing. We were following a route seen on the Walk Highlands website, and were expecting bog. But dry weather over the last few weeks in the far north had, for the most part, dried out the bog and the walk was pleasant, through grass, moss and lots of wild flowers, including heath spotted orchids, butter wort, great sundew, heath milk vetch, bog asphodel, thyme, alpine lady's mantle, and many more. As we ascended the views opened up, particularly to the north and west.

Ben Loyal from ascent of Cnoc Sgriodain
The ascent of Cnoc Sgriodain was steep and grassy, warm and humid, but fairly soon over. A golden plover was seen at the summit.

Rafe, contemplates Ben Klibreck from Cnoc Sgriodain

Hal, with Ben Loyal beyond, from Cnoc Sgriodain

Cnoc Sgriodain is only 544m, but it felt a lot higher with such airy views all around.

Ben Hope, Ben Loyal, Loch nan Uan and Loch na Glas-choille from Cnoc Sgriodain

Views of Ben Klibreck from Cnoc Sgriodain, Freddie and Jim
The next pull was up Creag an Lochain, this is often bypassed by walkers on their way up Ben Klibreck, but we were enjoing the ascent and the extra views to the south were worth it. The summit stands at 808m, an excellent place for lunch.

Views to the north west from Creag an Lochain including Ben Hee (left) and Foinaven (right)
As we descended north east to the bealach, we saw the first other walkers of the day, yomping ahead of us towards the steep ascent of Ben Klibreck.

Old fence post on ascent of A' Chioch 

Looking back to Creag an Lochain from ascent of A' Chioch 

Ascent of A' Chioch with views of Ben Loyal

Loch Naver and beyond from A'Chioch

Before Ben Klibreck though was the opportunity for a short scramble through a jumble of rocks on A'Chioch.

The start of the last, steep pull up Ben Klibreck's main summit, Meall nan Con
The final ascent looked a lot worse than it was, about 200m of zigging and zagging up the path, with the sudden appearance of the trig point at 961(or2)m a welcome surprize.

Meall nan Con, the summit of Ben Klibreck, with Loch Naver and the north
The summit was a pretty good place for a second lunch.

Rafe and Hal on Meall nan Con, with our ascent route behind
It was getting pretty hot and we were glad that the vast majority of the ascent was over. Our descent route was pretty similar to our way up, just contouring round the lower summits.
Ben Hope and Ben Loyal again, with the afternoon sunlight
Initially we stuck to the track, but the day was so clear and the ground so dry, we decided, once past Creag an Lochan to strike out across the moor towards our start point. The ground was a little more hard going than we had anticipated, but we reached the last track back to the car with no problems, apart from Jim suffering a mild dose of descent toe syndrome.
Freddie and the dogs on the last mile
What an excellent day.

Route: Parking layby at Vagastie Bridge (NC533273), all terrain vehile track ESE, steel gate, Cnoc Sgriodain (544m), NE to Creag an Lochan (808m), N to spot height 688m, A'Chioch (747m), Meall nan Con, Ben Klibreck summit (962m, Munro 194), return to spot height 688m, ascend to 730m contour (approx) and followtrack contouring around W od Creag an Lochan, continue of track towards Cnon Sgriodian to 500m contour, contour around to NW and then descend gradually towards all terrain vehicle track and steel gate to start.

Statistics: Distance: 13.5km  Ascent: 975m  Time: 6.15 hours

Ben Klibreck - we were up there!
After a chill and some tea, we took the dogs around Grummore clearance village and then to bed. 
Almost full moon over Loch Naver

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