500-mile drive & climb of Ben Hope (Most northerly munro!)

I am well accustomed to long day trips in excess of 500-miles round trip but taking in the climb of a munro too made this a first for me.

The last two climbs (Maol Chean Dearg, Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a Chaorachain) were in Torridon. This time I bypassed Torridon and took aim at Scotland’s remote and stunning Far North. This was my 3rd visit to Sutherland but furthest away of all. Ben Hope is the most northerly of all 282 munros and is a tough place to reach and wouldn’t be recommended in winter as road access becomes narrow and difficult. Allow 5 hours of driving to reach Ben Hope with additional 2 hours of twisty roads which become single track beyond Inverness and Black Isle.


Surrounded by endless bumpy peat-covered moorland in a region known as flow country. This is also said to be the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe. Ben Hope is isolated with Ben Klibreck the only other munro in it’s vicinity just south of Altnaharra. Ben Hope is just south of the north coast positioned SE of Loch Hope and SW of Kyle of Tongue.

Trip info

  • Departed home at 11.15pm Wednesday.
  • Arrived at the base of Ben Hope at 4.10am Thursday. 243 miles!
  • Climb: 4.22 miles and 3.55 hours total from leaving and arriving back at car.
  • Departed for home at 8.25am and arrived home at 2.15pm. Total of 500 miles!
  • Total driving time: Approx 10 hours
  • No of munro’s climbed: 24

Ben Hope elevation: 3,041ft

Computer generated summit panorama of Ben Hope and what’s visible on a clear day.

Turning off towards Lairg on the shores of Loch Shin at Bonar Bridge

Entering single track A836 for the remaining 35 or so miles.

When decent single track with plenty of passing places becomes narrower, overgrown and absent of passing places for the final 15 miles between Altnaharra and Ben Hope.

Beautiful wilderness.

Ben Hope getting ever closer.

Finally arrived!

Here we go… Decent enough path, a little boggy but could be worse. Also good that the mountain isn’t miles away like many of them are. It’s barely 2 miles from car to summit! Weather was quite decent with light breeze and clear/cloud mix. Temp around 14C at bottom.

Making great and speedy progress and quick ascent.

While the bulk of the climb felt ok and steedy, the final 200 metres to the top felt like a long endless slog. Weather as closing in to my immediate WSW and felt like I was racing the incoming shower cloud for views on the top.

Loch Hope and Loch Eriboll behind.

My painful push to the summit paid off with stunning views looking east across the vast openness of Scotland’s Far North and open Atlantic to the north before the weather closed in and I couldn’t see anything!

Great views of Kyle of Tongue and North Coast looking out over the open Atlantic.

Summit with trig point

Summit selfie.

GPS shows me on the summit of Ben Hope!

Just after leaving the summit, I was walking blind in wind driven rain.

This cleared fairly quickly.

By the time I made it back down, the sun was shinning and it turned out beautiful.

Back on the road. Ben Hope looking beautiful along the river!

Entering the great openness of Sutherland once again.

Altnaharra. Recorded the UK’s coldest ever temperature.

Looking back at tiny Altnaharra with great view of Ben Hope in the distance.

Quick stop at Karen’s kitchen on the A9 just before the Cromarty bridge for breaky.

Home sweet home. Just hit 500 miles as I entered my street!


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