Area: Altnaharra to Dornoch
Munro: Ben Klibreck
Date walked: 29/09/2009
Time taken: 3 hours 30 minutes
Distance: 14 km
Ben Klibreck sits in an area of high ground between the River Vagastie and Loch Choire in the far North of Scotland. It sits in a small area of rolling hills with steep slopes. Its nearest Munro Neighbours are Ben Hope 22km to the North and ben More and Conival 22km to the West. Access to the Munro is normally gained from parking areas on the A836
After driving up to Sutherland a couple of days ago and walking Ben Hope yesterday, today it was Ben Klibrecks turn. I parked up at the Crask inn, 20km North of lairg on the A836, last night and had a quiet pint before getting my head down by 11pm. After a good night’s sleep I woke up at 7am to find the rain, which had been falling for the last few days, had stopped and it looked reasonably dry outside.
Now I had done a reccie yesterday and the usual pathway across the bridge near Vagastie, 4km North of the Crask Inn, was very boggy due to all the rain so I didn’t fancy this approach to the hillside. What I did find was a track 2.8km north of the Crask Inn which heads in to Cnoc Sgriodain, (a hill the locals call the Kronk), with a large parking area by the side of the road with ample parking for perhaps 10 vehicles.
This track has been used by an all-terrain vehicle and heads up and around Cnoc Sgriodain gaining height in a short distance. This involves much less boggy terrain than walking in from the bridge further North and also a less severe hillside to climb up on the first ascent. The downside is it adds a couple of km’s to the journey. (be careful if you are driving from the Crask in because there is also similar parking area 100m before you get to this one).
So suitably parked up, I crossed the road and headed of along the track across the moorland passing through an open steel gate after about 100m. Initially the track was a bit boggy as expected considering the recent rains but it soon starts to ascend up the hillside and out of the bog. The underfoot conditions are good and It’s only a short walk (2km) to the first cairn at the top of Cnoc Sgriodain.
As the hill gets a little bit steeper, at about 450m, the tracks heads south east to skirt the summit and I decided here to leave the track and head straight up to the cairn. It gets a little bit steeper here but it’s not hard going and soon the cairn comes into view. I pass the cairn and I reach another cairn after about 100m, and continue down the slight descent to the Bealach.
As I reach the Bealach the terrain changes again to boggy moorland with large peat hags which I have to cross carefully. However this doesn’t last long and the vehicle track which I followed into the hillside skirts around the Cnoc Sgriodain and I pick it up again at the Bealach and follow it up the hillside.
This track ascends the hillside heading East towards Carn an Fheidh. At about 650m the track bears North East onto the clear stalkers track traversing the hillside. (This track can be seen on a good day from the Kronk). The clear track continues for 2.5km approximately to A’Chioch and Meall nan Con.
There is a small bealach here and the path bends East At this point. After about 100m there is a small buttress of rocks to climb over and then the final steep ascent to Ben Klibreck summit. The ascent path winds back and forth up a broad ridge but it is quite steep. I counted my steps from the buttress to the summit and it was exactly 1000 paces. So you can put your mind in neutral, count your steps and know that when you have walked 1000 paces you will be on or near the summit trig point. This is helpful if like me you are in the mist.
It’s now simply a matter of returning the way I came.