Eididh nan Clach Geala

Adventurer Nic with her arms held out under a perfect rainbow on the slopes of Cona' Mheall – a Scottish Munro mountain

…and Friends – a Linear Route

Eididh nan Clach Geala Route Introduction

Eididh nan Clach Geala is a Munro in the Scottish Highlands, not far from the northern hub of Ullapool. The mountain is close to Meall nan Ceapraichean, Beinn Dearg, Cona’ Mheall and Am Faochagach. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to all five summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Tuesday 1st October 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 251 to 255 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Eididh nan Clach Geala Route Stats

Mountains: Eididh nan Clach Geala (927m), Meall nan Ceapraichean (977m), Beinn Dearg (1,084m), Cona’ Mheall (978m) and Am Faochagach (953m)

Total Distance: 29.5km / 18.25miles

Total Ascent: 1,740m / 5,709ft

Approx Walk Time: 10.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NH 182853

Grid Reference End:  NH 277742

Eididh nan Clach Geala Route Report

The Lead Up

Views from the valley below Am Faochagach
Views from the valley below Am Faochagach

The previous day we’d allowed ourselves a rest day but had set off from Drumnadrochit and found somewhere to camp close to the beginning of the walk at Inverlael. It was an idyllic spot, close to woodland and a stream. We woke at 6am to our alarm. Neither myself nor James are what you’d call ‘morning people’. So we started packing up our tent, bleary eyed, in a trance and not really interacting with each other.

It had been a cold night, when we got back to the car, the temperature gauge read 0°C. We made our way to the walkers car park at Inverlael to start the walk.

The Ascent

The walk sets off on the Cape Wrath Trail from the car park at Inverlael. It’s an established track which leads through woodland before heading out onto the open hillside. At a fork in the route, we passed a lone male walker. We stopped to chat awhile before he forked right and we forked left.

At this early stage of the walk, there were clear skies above us but it was still quite cold. The good path continued, rising to 700m before we headed up over heather and rocky terrain to reach the higher ground of Eididh nan Clach Geala.

The Summits

Eididh nan Clach Geala

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Eididh nan Clach Geala - a Scottish Munro mountain

The first Munro summit of Eididh nan Clach Geala seemed to come quite easily as we marched on upwards over pathless ground to 927m.

White quartz dotted around the summit, which was a jumble of rocks.

We reached the summit just before 10am – decent progress indeed!

From the summit we descended to a col, avoiding the crags and that’s when the first rain shower hit us.

I don’t think my synthetic down jacket and my waterproofs have been on and off so much on a walk!

Meall nan Ceapraichean

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Meall nan Ceapraichean - a Scottish Munro mountain

There seemed to be a bitter cold wind on and off and the odd shower coming and going. It was one of those days that was hard to dress for.

We reached the lowest point of the col beside a lochan and then hit a grassy rake up Meall nan Ceapraichean which was by far the route of least resistance and easy to spot in good clear weather conditions.

This then flattened out onto a ridge which led up to the second Munro of the day – Meall nan Ceapraichean.

We spotted lots of Rock Ptarmigan – a common ground nesting bird in the mountains Scottish highlands. Interestingly, if you spot one, the chances are you’ll spot another – we routinely tended see them in groups.

Beinn Dearg

From Meall nan Ceapraichean we descended to a col, heading for Lochan Uaine, before the ‘out and back’ for Beinn Dearg. It’s one of 12 Munros with ‘Dearg’ in the title. The word literally translates to ‘Red’ from Gaelic. Beinn, one of the most popular words to be found in a Munro name as it simply translates to ‘hill’.

Adventurer Nic and James pause for a selfie on the summit of a cloudy Beinn Dearg, a Scottish Munro mountain near Ullapool

There was one long wall leading up the mountain from the col.

It was one of those moments where you sit and imagine the work it must have taken to put the wall up in the 1840’s.

Rocks jutted out on both sides of the wall and the ascent was a bit of a scramble in parts.

The rock was wet from the light drizzle so we continued carefully.

A large cairn marked the summit of Beinn Dearg, and now heavily in the clag we were keen to make a quick descent back to decent visibility.

We retraced our steps alongside the wall.

We met the MBA custodian for Shenavall bothy on the way down which was a lovely surprise. Last week we’d stayed there for the Fisherfield Munros. He was keen to advise us on a bothy to use for our upcoming Munro walk – Seana Bhraigh.

Next, we got caught in an out-of-season snow shower! But we were hungry so we huddled behind the wall to eat lunch. A bagel with some army surplus supplies tuna mayo that was one and half years out of date (yes I’m still alive to tell the tale!)

Cona’ Mheall

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Cona' Mheall - a Scottish Munro mountain - as it starts to hail

Back at the col we turned to head south east over rocky and grassy terrain to pick up a faint path for the ascent of Cona’ Mheall.

We turned to head north to bag the summit and passed a lone walker who was bailing on the rest of his walk due to the bad weather.

Hailstones were now coming down and it was downright painful!

After tapping the summit cairn, we retraced our steps back to the col and swung north from there, down into the valley between Cona’ Mheall and Cnap Coire Loch Tuath.

As we descended, the most perfect rainbow appeared from west to east, with us walking right underneath it.

Adventuring Nic walking under a perfect rainbow on the slopes of Cona' Mheall – a Scottish Munro mountain
Adventuring Nic walking under a perfect rainbow on the slopes of Cona’ Mheall

Am Faochagach

Summit selfie of Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on Am Faochagach in the Scottish highlands

Carefully, we picked our way down to the base of the valley through wet rock and grass, before walking along the southern shore of Loch Tuath. This led to the larger Loch Prille.

We crossed the inlet and walked around the top of the loch before starting the pathless trudge up the final munro – Am Faochagach.

At one point a grouse leapt out of the heather by my feet and the shock of it nearly knocked me to the ground!

We reached the summit cairn of Am Faochagach by 4pm and we were pleased with our progress.

The Descent

View from Am Faochagach plateau in the Scottish Highlands
View from Am Faochagach plateau

We initially descended south from the last Munro, picking up a faint path which got stronger as we headed towards the A835. With our car in Inverlael at the beginning of the walk, we had arranged to meet a good friend Andy Dobb who had driven up that afternoon in his new camper van. The ground became increasingly slushy and boggy the lower we got. But because we had all five summits behind us, it mattered not. We made it over the river Abhainn a’Gharbhrain keeping our feet dry. We’d heard horror stories about the river in the lead up to the walk and it was on my mind for much of the day with us experiencing showers on and off. In hindsight it was nothing to worry about.

Andrew Dobb, Adventurer Nic and James Forrest pausing for a selfie, Andy sporting his snorkel

Andy met us part way to the car with a snorkel which brought a smile to both of our faces.

He walked us back to his camper van and then drove us back to our car before cooking us a luxurious evening meal of pasta on his camper van hob! Bliss!

Wrapping Up

We nicknamed these Munros:

  • Eddie’s Nan Crashes the Gala – Eididh nan Clach Geala
  • Meal of New Crustaceans – Meall nan Ceapraichean
  • Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s – Beinn Dearg
  • Cone of Metal – Cona’ Mheall
  • I’m Foraging Aches – Am Faochagach

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

We wild camped in the same general location that we were the previous night, as the next day we aimed to hike the Fannaichs, only a short distance away. Andy stayed in the luxury of his camper van in a nearby car park.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Seana Bhraigh

Schoolhouse Bothy Exterior

Route Introduction

Seana Bhraigh is a remote Munro in the north of Scotland. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to the summit for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on 4th October 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. It was Munro number 265 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag this Munro too.

Seana Bhraigh Route Stats

Mountain: Seana Bhraigh (926m)

Total Distance: 22km / 13.5miles

Total Ascent: 740m / 2,428ft

Approx Walk Time: 7 hours

Grid Reference Start: NH 327953

Seana Bhraigh Route Report

The Lead Up

Book collection in the Schoolhouse Bothy including the Complete Works of Shakespeare
Book collection in the Schoolhouse Bothy including the Complete Works of Shakespeare

Three days earlier we’d bumped into a chap named Phil on our descent of Beinn Dearg. He happened to be the MBA Custodian for Shenavall bothy near the Fisherfield Munros and he recommended we stay at The Schoolhouse Bothy before our ascent of Seana Bhraigh. This was a chance encounter and boy did his advice pay off!

One room of the bothy was occupied when we arrived, by a couple with two dogs. So we slept in the old classroom, which had a chalk board, a couple of old school desks and even a complete works of Shakespeare!

Of all the bothies we stayed in during our challenge this one was probably the most quirky. It used to be an actual working schoolhouse up to 1930, with only one classroom and then a school teacher who lived on site. The children walked for miles from within the Easter Ross glen and reportedly wore stilts to cross the river! Kids really don’t know how good they’ve got it these days!

When I awoke from a very deep sleep on the morning of 4th October 2019. We snoozed the alarm a couple of times before getting up and vacating the bothy. Due to the wonderful night’s sleep we were very tempted to stay again after our ascent of Seana Bhraigh, but we packed up in case we changed our minds.

We followed the gravel estate track which led to the Corriemulzie walkers car park, where we would start the walk.

The Ascent

James Forrest - on the track from Corriemulzie to Seana Bhraigh, demonstrating where rainbows end
James Forrest – on the track from Corriemulzie demonstrating where rainbows end

From the car park we took a track through the Corriemulzie cottages, through a gate and pretty much followed a river all the way into the valley for 8km. The view of the mountain with its dramatic pinnacles on the left and the calmer hill walkers route on the right was stunning. A rainbow appeared in front of the track as sunshine and showers developed into the theme of the morning.

We got to the first river crossing and crossed successfully on boulders. When we had to cross the Corriemulzie river for a second time it was more difficult. We decided to take our boots and gaiters off and cross barefoot. The pebbles were sharper and mossier than previous river crossings and the water was cold but our feet soon warmed up again once we got our socks and boots back on and started walking.

We followed faint paths onto the open hillside, along the side of a burn in a ravine and then up onto the ridge. It was good underfoot, with lots of ledge-like steps of grass and rock. It felt like we were ascending quite quickly despite our cumulative challenge tiredness.

The weather was worsening though. The wind picked up on the hillside and it was very blustery. We paused momentarily behind a rock to eat a snack but we struggled to find somewhere better sheltered. We carried on up the ridge to a small lochan at 743m before heading up the final ascent. It must have been gusting up to 50mph at times.

The Summit of Seana Bhraigh

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest hunkering down in the summit wind shelter of Seana Bhraigh Munro mountain

We made it to the summit and sat in the relative comfort of the wind shelter as we checked the weather forecast for the upcoming days.

The Munros to the north and west of Loch Monar were next on the agenda. 

It would take us two days and with a mixed forecast, we asked our good friend Sally if we could stay at her house in Drumnadrochit afterwards.

If Sally said yes, then we could take another couple of days of battering by the weather if it meant there was a warm, welcoming cottage, a cuddle from a good friend and her dog at the end of it.

Sally said yes almost immediately, so that was it, our plans were set in place. She’s such a legend.

It was also on the summit of Seana Bhraigh that I agreed with Lara (the Chair of Edinburgh Young Walkers) that I would speak about my challenge at their upcoming AGM on 7th November. As the challenge was coming to a close, opportunities like this were starting to present themselves and I was getting excited about sharing my story.

The Descent

On the descent we started to feel a less trepidation about the coming days. We retraced our steps back to the river, crossed it again and walked the long long path back to the car.

We adopted a good pace which meant we could get to the bothy early to secure sleeping platforms and enjoy a restful evening. It was a relief that the valley blocked much of the wind.

Two stags passed on the track in front of us and headed down to the river. They galloped straight through it and went up the hillside on the other side, all within seconds. They move at remarkable pace. Just as we went through the gate to the lodge, a stalkers land rover was coming down the track behind us. Phew! We felt the stag (and us) had a lucky escape.

Wrapping Up

We arrived at the bothy to find it empty, so we chose the room to the left of the main door this time, in case a bigger party arrived to use the classroom. We checked ourselves for ticks, had the usual baby wipe shower, made a delicious brew and ate some snacks.

Sometimes during the challenge it really did feel like we were winning and this was one of those moments. I actually did half a crossword that someone had left in a magazine, before writing in my diary and tidying my kit. A very productive hill bagging day!

We nicknamed this particular Munro ‘Sean’s Bra’ – find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Ben More Assynt and Conival

Loch Assynt as seen from the slopes of Conival

Route Introduction

Ben More Assynt and Conival are two Munros which neighbour each other in the Assynt area of the northern Scottish Highlands. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to both summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Tuesday 17th September 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 220 and 221 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Ben More Assynt and Conival Route Stats

Mountains: Conival (987m) and Ben More Assynt (998m)

Total Distance: 17.8km / 11miles

Total Ascent: 1,070m / 3,510ft

Approx Walk Time: 6.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NC 251216

Ben More Assynt Route Report

The Lead Up

View of Ardvreck Castle from the shores of Loch Assynt and our camp spot
View of Ardvreck Castle from the shores of Loch Assynt and our camp spot

The day before this walk, we had driven up to Loch Assynt from Cockermouth, Cumbria. It was 350 miles and over 6 hours of solid driving. With a fuel stop (one), coffee stops (a couple) and a McDonalds stop in Inverness (crucial) – the entire journey took closer to 8 hours. It was dark when we reached the car park at Loch Assynt.

There were a few camper vans in the car park when we arrived. As I’d been there before, I knew to follow the path down to the Loch side and set up camp opposite Ardvreck Castle. There was a cool breeze. I noticed the tent structure didn’t look quite right. In our tired haze we’d fitted the central pole (the one that gives width to the tent) upside down. With a few frustrated huffs and puffs we corrected the schoolboy error and made our beds. For this leg of the adventure I had decided to swap out my Thermorest Neo Air Uberlite in favour of the X Therm plus my winter sleeping bag.

I slept well, but James had a fitful sleep and woke really early. We didn’t dither and got our camping kit put away, then I did the opening door reveal of Castle Ardvreck – a nice surprise of James who hadn’t seen it in the dark when we’d arrived.

It had rained in the night so the tent was a little damp, so we stored the inner and outer separately. We spotted two majestic stags by the castle as we de-camped.

The Ascent

Adventurer Nic and James, all smiles despite the drizzle on Conival

After walking back to the car we ate breakfast and drove to the start point for the walk (a small car park, just south of Inchnadamph).

We packed our day bags and set out, crossing the main bridge over the River Traligill.

We walked past the Inchnadamph Lodge. It was nice to know we were booked in there later so that James could work on an article for Sidetracked magazine.

Keeping on top of his day job during big adventures is a struggle for James and I feel lucky to be able to focus on the challenge full time.

The initial part of the walk is on the Cape Wrath Trail, the section linking Inchnadamph with Kinlochewe to the south and Cape Wrath to the north. It’s a trail I’d love to walk in full in the next couple of years – from Fort William up to the iconic lighthouse at Cape Wrath. The full trail is approximately, 330km / 200miles in length.

The initial track soon turned into a path and we crossed a concrete bridge to follow a muddy path beside a stream, before walking carefully over wet slippy rock. It was a good 5km walk in before the terrain started to get steeper. We were feeling strong and overtook a couple, who were taking a rest on a rock before overtaking a single male hiker on the ascent up to the col at 750m.

We gained the ridge and walked south along to the summit of Conival, our first Munro of the day.

The Summits – Conival and Ben More Assynt

Thumbs up from Adventurer Nic, a selfie with James on the summit of Ben More Assynt

We met a couple, eating lunch in the shelter which marks the summit of Conival.

After pausing for photo we headed east along the ridge towards Ben More Assynt.

The terrain became increasingly rocky. It was drizzling on and off, with cloud sweeping over both Munro peaks.

Our Cicerone guide book described the ridge perfectly – ‘The ridge from Conival to Ben More Assynt is a wonderful airy traverse to a high, remote hill. At times it narrows a little, but never deliciously so’. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

We make it to the summit of Ben More Assynt in the best weather of the day with clear views over the vast remote landscape.

At 998m, Ben More Assynt is only 2 metres shy of the magic 1,000m. The summit is marked by a small cairn.

The Descent

Because it’s a linear walk, we saw the same people we’d passed earlier in the day along the descent as we retraced our steps. First following the ridge back to Conival and then off the mountain towards in the Cape Wrath Trail and Inchnadamph.

Wrapping Up

We nicknamed these Munros ‘Ben More Or Less’ for Ben More Assynt and ‘Evil Kenevil’ for Conival. Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

We took the car the short distance to Inchnadamph Lodge and checked in. Similarly to an earlier stay, we were in the annex. A different room but conveniently situated next to a small kitchen.

Ironically, I was carrying a small injury, not caused by the extensive mountain climbing activities but by an ill-fitting wedding outfit I’d worn the previous weekend!

As James headed to the main hostel building to work on his writing, I hung the tent up to dry (from the previous nights rain) and wrote my journal. Another task was to update my Munro bagging spreadsheet with much of the detail that makes it into these posts. I then cooked a Pasta Bolognese Summit to Eat meal and served it with extra spaghetti for a calorie boost.

It was then that we had a surprise email. It was from Adrian Trendall of All Things Cuillin to say that he had a cancellation and was free to guide us on the Isle of Skye at the end of the week. This would mean us completing our Black Cuillin Munros! But it was risky taking the slot. Not an easy decision as the forecast was for one foggy day with a chance of rain, and one dry and sunny day. After very few opportunities had presented themselves to climb on Skye this summer, we decided we had to go for it. So a new plan was formed… an early night tonight and Ben Wyvis tomorrow.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Wild Camping Lake District

Adventurer Nic getting into her tent at sunset on Glaramara
Woman standing next to tent looking at a mountain view at sunrise in the Scottish Highlands

My name’s Nic and I’m an addict…..a wild camping addict. At the time of my first camp, I didn’t realise how Wild Camping Lake Distict Fells would become such a big part of my life.

I popped my wild camp cherry in the Lake District in 2017. On a misty, moody day, I kayaked across Ullswater to Norfolk Island. Not appreciating what I was letting myself in for, it was a rough, windy night and I didn’t sleep a wink. But boy did I love every second of it.

Wild Camping Lake District Wainwright Fells

Adventurer Nic on Robinson during her Wainwright bagging challenge
Adventurer Nic on Robinson during her Wainwright bagging challenge

Later that same year I started bagging the Wainwrights. Starting on Great End and finishing on Pavey Ark, I walked them all in exactly 365 days. Bagging all 214 Wainwrights during my days off work and using virtually all of my annual leave.

In order to bag the mountains efficiently I started creating my own multi-day routes and planning wild camps along the way. Most of the time I scouted out my sleep spot on the fly, but sometimes I saw a place in advance and made a beeline for it as part of my route. Wild Camping Lake District Fells 18 times during my challenge was a great enabler to walking wild and wonderful routes.

I loved everything about it. The planning of the routes, refining my camping gear, reacting to the weather, camping alone, embracing bivvying and sharing the experience with good friends.

My Wild Camping Lake District Index

Black Fell

Black Fell was the first of the 12 most southerly Wainwrights that I hiked over 3 days from east to west with my partner James. We enjoyed glorious sunset views over the Langdale Pikes and cracking sunrise reviews over Windermere from the summit of Black Fell, where we camped side by side in our bivvy bags on firm grass.

Blencathra

I decided to get some winter hiking experience in by Blencathra during a deep freeze in early 2018. Two friends and I hiked up to Scales Tarn where we pitched our tents in the dark on the edge of the tarn. By morning we scrambled up Sharp Edge and bagged the Wainwright. I was nervous going over Sharp Edge in winter conditions and I was thankful for the support of Carl and Matt.

Cat Bells

My friend Rory bagged his last Wainwright, Cat Bells in the summer of 2018, and invited me along! Attending his final Wainwright was a pleasure and the conditions couldn’t have been more perfect as we ascended. Myself and a few friends camped just off Cat Bells, setting down a few bivvy bags and one small tent just off the summit. The following morning we hiked Castle Crag, Eagle Crag and Sergeant’s Crag before hitchhiking back to Keswick.

Dove Crag

I have once visited the Priests Cave on Dove Crag during the day, but on this occasion James and I attempted to find the Priests Cave after dark. Could we find it? No we couldn’t! We scoured the hillside with our head torches until 1am before resorting to bivvying on a patch of grass on the hillside. Luckily the weather was good and the morning view as I drank my coffee was delightful! I reached the summit of Dove Crag in the morning.

Dow Crag

I noted earlier that Black Fell marked the beginning of a 12 Wainwright bagging spree, well Dow Crag marked the close of the 2nd day of that three day expedition. The 2nd night was much colder than the previous night. James and I bivvied on the ridge line after the summit of Dow Crag and were treated to a glorious sunset over neighbouring peaks.

Glaramara

I hiked Glaramara as part of a multi day route bagging 6 Wainwrights. Starting in Seathwaite and ending in Stonethwaite, my friend Adam and I left a car in either village. A dark cloud chased us to Glaramara and we felt lucky to set up the tent in time before bad weather hit. Remarkably it stayed dry all night and we fell asleep to the sound of Herdwick sheep munching the grass around the tent.

Great Cockup

I had a great cock up on Great Cockup! Yes it’s true, I lost my mobile phone for 15 minutes just off the summit of Great Cockup as the sun was going down. So I channelled my inner Jeffery Deaver (crime author who writes about crime scene investigation and ‘walking the grid’ of a crime scene looking for clues) and I walked the grid of the hillside until I found it nestled in the grass. I’ve always been much more careful with my gear ever since! I slept soundly, alone in the shadow of Skiddaw before walking to Meal Fell, Bakestall and Great Calva the following day.

Hallin Fell

James and I slept on Hallin Fell on the night of Wild Night Out 2018. We slept in our bivvy bags overlooking Ullswater after racing up to the Lake District following the birthday party of our good friend Saul in Wales. As it was a popular night to be wild camping and good clear conditions, we weren’t alone – but we found a nice quiet spot just off the summit to enjoy our bivvy.

Helm Crag

Helm Crag was my 8th Wainwright fell in an epic 13 fell multi day solo walk. Beginning in Glenridding and finishing in Grasmere, the route involved hitchhiking back to my car in Glenridding. I wasn’t an experienced scrambler at the time so was petrified climbing the Howitzer on the summit of Helm Crag but I was so proud of myself for trusting my instincts and going for it. I then bivvied in the shadow of the rocky pinnacle before continuing my journey the next day.

Helvellyn

A late winter ascent to Red Tarn was icy and cold! The new tent that my friend Carl and I were using suffered a snapped pole and it was so cold that everything was freezing. It was nearly appropriate to bail on the camp but we patched up the pole and made it through the night to summit the mountain via Swirral Edge the next day, descending on Striding Edge. That night I learned to sleep with everything in my sleeping bag – stove gas, socks and anything with a battery!

High Raise

High Raise formed part of my Martindale Horseshoe round. I walked this route with James in dire weather. It rained non stop on day one and I was relieved to have packed my dry merino base layers. It was an unremarkable camp, with the tent simply acting as a basic shelter from the relentless rain.

Ling Fell

Ling Fell was an awesome summer bivvy. After walking up Sale Fell, James and I ascended Ling Fell and bivvied overlooking a firework display in the valley. It’s amazing how small fireworks appear when you view them from above! We woke to one of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen, before leaving to hike on to Graystones.

Lingmell

Lingmell was my 34th birthday camp. The day began with an ascent of Kirk Fell, bagging Green Gable, Base Brown, Brandreth and Grey Knotts before the long walk to Lingmell. We stopped to eat birthday cake close to Sty Head Tarn before settling on a camp spot close to Lingmell. The group size was bigger than I was comfortable with for wild camping, but we spread our tents out and were fast asleep by 10pm. The following morning we bagged Scafell Pike, Scafell and Slight Side before descending back down into Wasdale Head.

Low Fell

Low Fell is a Wainwright that means a lot to me. James and I had been together a couple of months but we hadn’t dropped the ‘L’ bomb yet. He chose the summit of Low Fell to tell me how he felt about me and I’ll never forget it. With views down to Crummock Water, the romantic camp spot was as near to perfection as I would have thought possible.

Place Fell

Place Fell – the location of my first ever bivvy wild camp! James and I hiked up Place Fell from Patterdale one evening in the late spring. After touching the summit trig pillar we set our bivvy bags down for the night. The sunset was unremarkable and the skies were cloudy. But during the night and into the morning it cleared and we experienced one of the best sunrises. I was hooked on bivvying after this.

Sheffield Pike

Sheffield Pike – symbolically it meant a lot to me to climb this mountain. I was born and bred in Sheffield, South Yorkshire you see! First bagging Glenridding Dodd on the way up to Sheffield Pike, most of my group of friends bivvied on the hillside overlooking Ullswater before waking to a glorious sunrise. A wonderful silky cloud inversion rolled off the nearby hills, the skies were a rich orange and it was magical. The next day we bagged 4 more Wainwrights before descending back into Glenridding.

Watson’s Dodd

I always chuckle when I think of Watson’s Dodd because I wild camped with two friends there in 2018. The first – Matt Watson and the second Adam Dodsworth… get it?! It was an unremarkable pitch location and the conditions were dry but overcast, so we experienced neither a cracking sunset nor a beautiful sunrise. The next day we walked Great Dodd, Clough Head and High Rigg. High Rigg was the last of my Central Fells as I was close to completion.

Whiteside

Whiteside is the only camp amongst the 18 that wasn’t above the highest boundary line. It was a long way from any dwellings though and it wasn’t safe to camp higher due to the thunderstorm that passed through during the evening. My friend Adam and I hunkered down. I had a sleepless night wondering if a) the tent was going to be struck by lightening or b) if we’d be woken and moved on by a farmer. Neither of those things happened though and we hit the summit of Whiteside the following morning.

Wild Camping Lake District Notes

It’s important to read up on the following guidance if you’re considering wild camping in the Lake District. This article from the Lake District National Park Authority is very helpful. The National Park encourages responsible wild camping. It’s important that all guidance on leaving no trace and being respectful is adhered to, for the benefit of all wild campers and hikers.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Wainwright ‘Compleater’ and a Munroist. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Ben Klibreck

Ben Klibreck, seen from the starting point of the walk

Ben Klibreck Route Introduction

Scotland’s second most northerly Munro is Ben Klibreck. This route card explains the quickest way of getting to the summit for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on 22nd August 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. It was Munro number 191 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag this Munro too.

Ben Klibreck Route Stats

Mountain: Ben Klibreck (962m)

Total Distance: 9.75km / 6.1miles

Total Ascent: 780m / 2,559ft

Approx Walk Time: 4 hours

Grid Reference Start: NC 545305

Ben Klibreck Route Report

The Lead Up

James and I left Achnasheen on a Thursday morning (22nd August 2019), after spending a night at Ledgowan bunkhouse. We were buoyant after climbing Slioch the previous day in good weather. After a breakfast of cereal, it was a two and a half hour journey up to the start of the Ben Klibreck walk and we had two Munros on the agenda. Ben Klibreck in the morning and Ben Hope in the afternoon.

Inevitably, the roads got narrower the further north we drove, but there was barely any traffic heading from the area we were visiting, so it was a surprise when we needed to yield at a passing place. Initially, we struggled to find the parking spot for the start the Ben Klibreck walk. Our Cicerone guidebook had printed incorrect coordinates of the lay by on the A836 for the walk start point and we were too far north.

One of the motivating factors for producing this website was to push out useful and accurate information to fellow Munro baggers. Consequently, if you notice an error on this page, please let me know by email so I can correct it.

The Ascent

Ben Klibreck, seen from the starting point of the walk
Ben Klibreck, seen from the starting point of the walk

We were grateful to be able to stretch our legs as we set off through tall grass to cross River Vagastie over stepping stones. But due to a lot of recent rain, the river was in spate. Knowing I’d have to get my boots wet right at the start of the walk, I returned to the car to change into my non-GORE-TEX trail running shoes. These are able to dry out much quicker than boots after a dunk! I find GORE-TEX boots or shoes simply hold in the water when they get submerged and this slows me down terribly. James actually managed to get across by taking long brave leaps across the wet stones but I tried, failed and ended up marching straight through in my trainers. The river was up to my knees but it wasn’t too cold which was a blessing!

We started the pathless trudge past the southern shore of Loch na Glas-choille over to the northern shore of a bigger body of water, Loch nan Uan. This loch had a lone, white upturned rowing boat on its shore. ‘How had the owner got it there?’ I wondered. From the edge of the loch, we mapped out a general route by eye which went up the pathless hillside to gain the ridge of A’Chioch at its lowest point. A mixture of wet rock, grass and heather, the ground was steep and slippery.

Heavy showers hit on and off throughout the morning. The wind picked up as we gained the ridge and veered north along it. The ground undulated before we started the final ascent, following a faint path from here.

The Summit

Ben Klibreck’s Munro summit is actually Meall nan Con. The true summit is a large rock 5 metres east of the trig point. So in this case, I did what I always do, jump on all of the large rocks in the vicinity to be sure I’ve hit the true summit!

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest smile in the summit shelter of Ben Klibreck

I remember, it was extremely gusty on the top itself, but there was a shelter cairn and a broken trig pillar. Laid on its side in three parts, the trig pillar looked how we felt after 191 Munros in close succession…..broken! That said, we’d made good time despite the conditions.

We didn’t see anyone else on the summit, in fact we didn’t see anyone else on any part of the route all morning!

I found the views from Ben Klibreck to be slightly underwhelming, there are few other hills nearby and nothing close to matching the dramatic, awe-inspiring peaks of the north west that we’d been treated to earlier in the challenge. The weather gods had treated us to perfect conditions on Liathach in the Torridon area only two mountains ago. That said, if you always compared everything to Liathach you’d live in perpetual disappointment!

The Descent

We returned to the car by the way of our ascent. James commented that the Sutherland area didn’t feel as remote as he thought it might. It was his first visit to the far north of Scotland. In contrast, I had explored as far north as Sandwood Bay before on a solo wild camping trip in 2018. We both agreed that it didn’t feel like we’d ventured too far from the A836.

I was frustrated during the descent. I’d jarred my shoulder when I slipped on wet grass and then the insole of my shoe kept creasing up which made walking uncomfortable. After adjusting it on a number of occasions, I finally lost my rag with it and removed it entirely.

Adventurer Nic contemplating sliding down the mountain on her rear after another slip on wet grass

Following a slip on the wet grass, I continued down the steep grassy hillside on my rear for a short distance, which was by far the most enjoyable part of the descent! It put a smile back on my face as we reached the loch and retraced our steps towards the river. On this occasion, we both kept our feet dry on the river crossing, which was slightly further south this time, before returning to the car.

Wrapping Up

The day wasn’t over yet! We changed out of our wet clothes and shoes and headed further north to bag Ben Hope – read the walk report here.

We nicknamed Ben Klibreck ‘Ben Kill Bill’ – in homage to the Tarantino blockbuster. Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Ben Hope

James holds onto his hat, descending Ben Hope in very windy conditions
Adventurer Nic standing next to the trig point at the summit of Ben Hope, a Munro in the north of Scotland
Adventurer Nic standing next to the trig point at the summit of Ben Hope, a Munro in the north of Scotland

Ben Hope Route Introduction

Ben Hope is Scotland’s most northerly Munro. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to the summit for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on 22nd August 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. It was Munro number 192 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag this Munro too.

Ben Hope Route Stats

Mountain: Ben Hope (927m)

Total Distance: 7km / 4.3miles

Total Ascent: 880m / 2,887ft

Approx Walk Time: 3.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NC 462476

Adventurer Nic films the strength of the wind as it flies over the ridge of Ben Hope

Ben Hope Route Report

The Lead Up

It was the morning of Thursday 22nd August 2019. We awoke in Ledgowan bunkhouse in Achnasheen. The previous day we had climbed Slioch in good weather. We made an early start on a steady two and a half hour drive to the two most northerly Munros – Ben Hope and Ben Klibreck.

After bagging Ben Klibreck in the morning, we drove to the start of the Ben Hope walk along single track roads with rough surfaces that had very little traffic on them. We passed Dùn Dornaigil broch on the way to the Ben Hope route. A friend at Mammut Mountain School once told us about the role the Scottish brochs played Iron Age history. Shortly after this we reached a a small car park running along the edge of the road parallel to Strathmore River – the start point of our walk.

We were tired after taking a battering of wind and rain on Ben Klibreck and we knew the forecast was for much of the same on Ben Hope. Friends had told us how great the views were so this was disappointing. One friend said “Oooft! Ben Hope, one of my best days on a mountain” – @jamieneillscotland. Before we’d even started on the path I’d already made the decision that we’d have to return here in better weather.

The Ascent

After eating lunch in the shelter of the car (a masterpiece of tortilla wraps with Nutella and crunchy coconut clusters smashed in to add texture) we started the walk by a large sign by the car parking area, on an established well trodden path. To our surprise, on this mid-week poor weather day, we passed an abundance of people coming down (including a family with two young children). Every person we passed commented that the wind was getting stronger and looked at us worryingly. After 191 Munros, I had lost a lot of weight and perhaps looked like a gust of wind might carry me off the summit of Ben Hope!

There was a clear path and plenty of cairns to follow in the event of visibility being poor. As we headed north on the trail we experienced light rain showers on and off but surprisingly there was good visibility until the last 50m. Persistent thick cloud shrouded the top of the mountain. The wind, which had been strong but manageable up until the summit ridge, all of a sudden sounded like a jet engine. It thunderously roared up from the crags in an easterly direction over the ridge. The forecast sites had predicted gusts of up to 70mph. Consequently, we debated long and hard about whether or not we would risk it, but we knew Ben Hope had a wide grassy ascent to the summit and there were no precipitous drops to our right.

The Summit

Passing an initial false summit, we made it to the summit trig pillar. We paused briefly for the all important summit photo before seeking the comfort and safety of lower ground. Until we can return, I have a beautiful portrait in my head of what the views to Kyle of Tongue, Ben Loyal, Loch Hope and the Orkney Islands would look like. A blue cloudless sky coupled with an expanse of lochs, unspoilt land in the shadow of inviting hills.

The Descent

James holds onto his hat, descending Ben Hope in very windy conditions
James holds onto his hat, descending Ben Hope in very windy conditions

On the descent, the wind whooshed over the ridge with increasing ferocity and we were buffeted heavily. But we stuck to the grassy areas on the left which would be safer to fall on if we needed to. This proved a sensible decision as I was thrown to the ground on more than one occasion! During one fall my walking pole got caught under my glove, catapulting it ten metres into the air! Somehow, James was able to dash back at retrieve it before we continued retracing our steps down the mountain.

We made it down safely but not without struggle – it was like being in a washing machine. The wind was so loud, it was as if there was a high speed motorway just below the crags! A constant roar. The clouds were flying over the ridge with such speed the wind swirling them in multiple directions. We were thrown one way one minute and another way the next!

Wrapping Up

One phrase sums up how we felt as we made it back to the car. Completely and utterly worn out! Being buffeted by high winds is like being hit by a rugby tackle. Above all, it takes so much energy out of you, having to brace constantly. Simply staying upright and holding your ground is exhausting. We nicknamed this particular Munro ‘Ben Despair’ for that reason – the opposite of Hope! Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

We cooked up and ate Summit To Eat expedition meals in the car park to replenish our lost calories. Remarkably, the Ben Hope Route was only a 7km walk but it was up there as one of the toughest we’ve done (although don’t be perturbed, it would be wonderful on a calm day!)

Adventurer Nic during her first visit to Loch Assynt in 2018. She looks over her Terra Nova Southern Cross 2 tent towards Castle Ardvreck
Adventurer Nic during her first visit to Loch Assynt in 2018, glancing over her tent to Ardvreck Castle.

As the day drew to a close, we drove to Inchnadamph, in readiness to climb Conival and Ben More (Assynt) the next day and checked into a double room at Inchnadamph Lodge. This was a real treat after a tough day on the hill. Paintings of Loch Assynt adorned the walls and I reminisced about my first ever solo wild camp being on those shores by Ardvreck Castle. I promised James I’d take him there. After a well deserved, hot, powerful shower we had a good giggle at Master of None on Netflix before retiring to bed.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Munro Pronunciation

Full length shot of Adventurer Nic looking across to the pinnacles of An Teallach in North West Scotland
Full length shot of Adventurer Nic looking across to the pinnacles of An Teallach in North West Scotland
Adventurer Nic looking across to the pinnacles of An Teallach in North West Scotland

Munro Pronunciation Troubles

Munro pronunciation troubles were rife during my Munro round in 2019. As an English woman with a fairly strong Yorkshire accent, wrapping my tongue around the pronunciation of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, Meall Ghaordaidh, Maoile Lunndaidh, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and countless others was so much harder than the actual hiking!

Screenshot of Komoot mapping app featuring 'hard to pronounce' Munro 'Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain'
Screenshot of Komoot mapping app featuring ‘hard to pronounce’ Munro ‘Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain’

The First Nickname

It was on Munro number 4 that my partner James and I started nicknaming the Munros. Our first Munro, Ben More on the Isle of Mull, was easy to pronounce. But we soon started to run into problems with our pronunciation. The Munro that started it off was Beinn a’Chochuill and James started calling it Ben Choc Ice all of a sudden. We laughed at first but in all seriousness, our lack of knowledge of how to pronounce it’s name in Scottish Gaelic was hampering and we were very embarrassed. With the walk complete, we looked up the actual pronunciation of the mountain in Scottish Gaelic and uncovered it sounds more like ‘Bayn a Hockhyll’ – and literally translates to the ‘hill of the shell’. We never would have guessed that from the spelling!

A Full Set

As we were educating ourselves on the proper pronunciation of the Munros, with a little help from some Gaelic speaking friends, we still found ourselves nicknaming the Munros for a bit of fun. For the reason that it would pass the time on each ascent and added some entertainment into long (and often wet) days of hill walking.

Favourites

Some of my favourite nicknames from our Munro round were –

  • Beinn Heasgarnich – Ben Hates Garlic
  • Carn An Fhidhleir – Kiddy Fiddler
  • Glas Tulaichean – Glass of Tuna Brains
  • Carn A’ Choire Bhaidheach – Can’t Acquire Body Heat
  • Beinn Mhanach – Ben Maniac
  • Meall Nan Tarmachan – My Nan’s Tamagotchi
  • Schiehallion – She’s An Alien
  • Ben Macdui – Ben Might Do A Wee
  • A’Chralaig – Achey Leg

You can find the full list of nicknames in the pinned highlights on my Instagram feed here. Most noteworthy, they’re split into 7 parts and are named Munros Pt1 – 7.

Munro Bagging

Head over to my Munro Routes page if you’re interested in more information about Munro Bagging. There, you can view the list of Munro mountains. Furthermore, you can ask me a specific question on Munro Bagging by email.

Let me know your favourite Munro nickname in the comments below.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

How Many Munros Are There In Scotland?

Adventurer Nic hiking in the Mamores mountain range in the Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic hiking in the Mamores mountain range in the Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic hiking in the Mamores mountain range in the Scottish Highlands

I have walked and scrambled my way to the top of every 3,000ft Munro mountain in Scotland and, unsurprisingly, when people hear this, the first follow up question I get asked is – “How many Munros are there in Scotland?”

The Magic Number – How Many Munros In Scotland?

There are 282 Munros in Scotland as at 11 Februrary 2020. It’s important to note the date because the number does change as mountains are re-measured and their heights more accurately recorded. This has happened a number of times in recent years. In fact, Beinn a’Chlaidheimh lost its Munro status as recently as 2011. The mountain is one of the Fisherfield 6, which is a popular circular route in one of the most remote wildernesses of the Scottish Highlands. Similarly, Sgurr Nan Ceannaichean lost Munro status in 2009. It lies just south west of the Munro Moruisg. Ironically, it was only upgraded to Munro status less than 30 years earlier!

Why are they called Munros?

Sir Hugh Munro published the first list of 3,000ft peaks for the Scottish Mountaineering Club in the late 1800s. He was a Scottish Mountaineer and the Munros carry his surname. In fact, to this day, the Scottish Mountaineering Club still maintains the current list of Munros.

Scotland Peak Bagging – Munros, Munro Tops, Murdos, Corbetts, Grahams…

The Munros are probably the most recognisable mountain classification in Scotland but there are many more! If you are list-obsessed, goal-obsessed, challenge-obsessed and mountain-obsessed (like me) you will never run out of mountain classifications to ‘tick off’.

Take The Next Step

Make a start on your peak bagging journey and become a Munroist like me by heading over to my Munro Routes page. There, you can view the list of Munro mountains and start planning your Munro round. In addition, you can ask me a specific question on Munro Bagging by email.

Have you already started your Munro Bagging journey? If you have, let me know how many you’ve climbed in the comments below.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.