27 September 2015
I really took my time driving to the start as it was such a beautiful morning and I stopped numerous times to take photographs:
On turning off at Altnaharra into Mudale, I saw a "ROAD AHEAD CLOSED" sign. There was no indication as to why or how far down the road you could travel so I cautiously continued, still taking photographs along the way.
Eventually, I reached Alltnacaillich and saw that the problem was that a new bridge was under construction over the Allt na Caillich.
I was intending including Leitir Mhuisel in my route, so this was fine. I ran the two miles up to the "Ben Hope" car park before heading up the "Tourist Route". There was a car at the car park and machinery for the construction of another bridge.
ten to fifteen minutes up the hill and a minibus arrived - looked like it could be a busy hill in spite of the road closure. On reaching 400m, I left the path and kept to the left for the best views and photo opportunities.
I also encountered a rather tame ptarmigan.
A group of senior gentlemen were just heading back down the hill the summit as I approached the summit. I asked one of them to walk back a short distance to the summit to take my photograph. I spent three-quarters of an hour on the summit, eating a self heating meal (curried lamb) and taking numerous photographs. It really doesn't get much better than this!
I started my descent down Ben Hope's south-east shoulder just as the minibus group were arriving. This diversion towards Sail Romascaig gave better views of Ben Loyal, as well as Ben Klibreck and back to the summit of Ben Hope. I had not charged my camera battery so I had to fall back on using the camera on my phone.
I headed down to join the path over the top of the crags of Leitir Mhuiseil. This was a well worth doing extension to the walk, especially on such a perfect day as this.
The route leads to a spectacular waterfall. With it being so warm, I considered doing a spot of skinny dipping but I pushed on back to the car.
I continued to take photographs on the way home, including this buzzard which flew from fence post to fence post and occasionally dropping to the ground. It seemed very curious about me until it eventually flew away.