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 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.