Naked Munros
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Ben Hope

(Written by Stuart)

We started from the Ben Hope sign on its south western side, and headed up for the breach in the cliffs. As we climbed, the weather to the south began to deteriorate, and what looked suspiciously like a thunderstorm developed over the mountain itself. The sky was spectacular, but it wasn't until we reached the ridge and looked north that we got the real treat of the day. A sea haar had come in over the north coast, and above it were glorious blue skies. We had weather fronts to the south and east, a thunderstorm above us, and bright white sunlit fluffy clouds 2000ft beneath us to the north. These were the most spectacular skies I've ever seen. Karla stripped off at this point for a few shots and we continued up the mountain.

By now we were into the storm itself. As we walked into the clouds, hail started falling, before briefly getting blown uphill by strong winds. Before long we reached the summit and as we did, we emerged from the clouds, into the most beautiful views I've ever seen from a mountain. Then things got a little scary. A metal fence post beside the trig point was buzzing and vibrating and we were very confused by this and thought maybe it could some kind of monitoring equipment. We were, of course, just in denial. The whole place was ripe for a lightning strike, as the photos we took when Karla stripped off show. Check out her hair!

Bizarrely, I found a pair of pink women's lacy pants inside the hole on top of the trig point. I brought them home with me. Karla wasn't happy.

I was sensible and waited until the rain eased off before doing my photos. It was an awesome mountain, and I think we picked the best possible time to climb it. Check out the photo at the top of the page we call "The End of Hope" to see just how dramatic the skies were that day.

As we descended, the rain eased off, and the weather got better the lower we went. In a moment of madness I tried to go skinny dipping in a rock pool, but the water was as cold as any water I've ever been in in my life, and I quickly jumped out before heading back to the car.

That evening we ate at the Ben Loyal hotel in Tongue. As I ate my steak and roast parsnips, I looked out at Ben Hope and Ben Loyal, reflecting on the best day I've ever had on the hills.