The weather forecast looked mixed for the western highlands so Valerie and I had a quick change of plan and took a chance heading north to climb Ben Hope. After a warm night at the Tongue Hostel, which we shared with 3 climbers who were heading for Ben Hope looking at new routes we were feeling optimistic. We drove down beside Loch Hope to the start in relatively calm and bright weather with great views of Ben Hope rising above us all the way. We could see the path heading up and followed it with care as there was a fair amount of ice about, but it was good all the way through the initial steep section. Once on the upper mountain we were in the snow and it was much firmer than expected making the ascent easier without much trail breaking. There were some wintry squalls about though we were walking up in the sunshine and cold winds. It was fantastic!
It didn’t take us too long to reach the summit slopes in beautiful weather and we spotted the climbers topping out ahead of us making for the summit too. We had a few photos at the top with lovely views though a squall was imminent and we began our descent behind the climbers hoping for a sheltered spot lower down for some lunch. The going was unpleasant for a short while as the snow came in though the glorious winter sunshine came quickly behind it and we were already halfway down. A short break for a drink and removing our crampons and we were soon down at the car relaxing in the sunshine for a well-earned lunch. We ran the climbers back to their car before driving south in phenomenal weather with views to match to finish off a wonderful visit to the Far North!