Ben Hope is a Scottish Munro located in Sutherland, near Loch Eribol. It sits at an elevation of 927m, overlooking a number of surrounding mountains and lochs. Ben Hope is the most northern Munro in Scotland.
If you are touring the NC500 and enjoy hiking and a cracking view, don’t miss Ben Hope on your NC500 itinerary.
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Ben Hope is a reasonably popular Munro, enjoyed by locals and tourists visiting the area. We will discuss the following points and more information about Ben Hope below.
- Munro Safety
- What is Ben Hope?
- Where is Ben Hope?
- How to get to Ben Hope?
- Why Should I go to Ben Hope?
- When Should I go to Ben Hope?
- Walking up Ben Hope
- Preparing for your trip to the NC500
Before we go any further, it is important to highlight the seriousness of staying safe in the mountains. The weather in this part of the country is very changeable and it can snow during any month of the year.
It is important to pack plenty of warm, waterproof and windproof clothes, preferably not cotton clothes as if they get wet they will become heavy. Even during the summer months, it is good to pack a hat and gloves, your body will get very cold in the mountains. Warm thin layers that can be removed and a waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers are essential.
A map and compass, as well as knowing how to use them are essential in the hills. These days many of us will use maps on our phones, however, it is important to know that this should be used as an additional map and not be relied upon.
What is Ben Hope?
Ben Hope is the most northern Munro in Scotland, situated at a height of 927 metres. This relatively straightforward hike is located near Loch Eribol in Tongue.
As it is a mountain in Scotland over 914 metres (3000 feet), it is classed as a Munro. It is common in Scotland to ‘bag’ a Munro or ‘Munro bagging’ which simply means, to hike up the mountain.
The hike takes on average around 3.5 hours, after following along a stream the path then heads steeply up a stony path towards the summit.
Where is Ben Hope?
Ben Hope is located in Sutherland, 16 miles southwest of Tongue. From the main road between Tongue and Durness, turn off the A838 onto the single-track road. Follow the road for around 15 minutes where you will see a small car park with a Ben Hope sign.
Beside the sign, you will see a faint path in the grass to follow up the mountain.
How to get to Ben Hope?
If you are driving to Ben Hope, we would advise car sharing if you can as the car park gets very busy.
Follow the A838 road from Tongue to Durness and prepare to turn left off the road at Hope if you are driving from the Tongue direction. You will be able to find the location on Google Maps.
Around a 15 minute drive along a single track road you will see a small grassy car park on the left with a small sign saying Ben Hope. From there, you can follow a path up the hill where the walk up Ben Hope begins.
Why Should I go to Ben Hope?
If you enjoy hiking and are comfortable with heights, then Ben Hope is a brilliant walk. There is a clear path up the mountain although it can become quite boggy after a lot of rain.
On a clear day, you will be able to see incredible views over Loch Hope and Loch Eribol which makes the sore legs 100% worth it! Ben Hope is an incredibly rewarding hike if the conditions are right and being the most northerly Munro, we highly recommend you give it a go.
When Should I go to Ben Hope?
As mentioned above, hiking in Scotland in the wrong conditions can be incredibly dangerous. There are parts of Ben Hope that are very exposed and very steep, it wouldn’t take much bad weather for you to loose your balance.
There is also no shelter when you reach the summit so make sure you have plenty of warm clothes for the top.
We would advise checking multiple weather forecasts before heading out into the hills. The best time for hiking Ben Hope is during the summer months.
Walking up Ben Hope
The walk up Ben Hope starts from the small car park just off the single track road alongside Loch Hope. The 6.5km route follows loose gravel and muddy terrain path all the way up the mountain. For a large part of the walk you will be following a stream where you can fill up water from if necessary.
The hike up Ben Hope is a steep one, however, it is possible to get up and down relatively quickly if you limit your breaks. We completed this hike in 3.5 hours. In saying that, leave yourself plenty of time and daylight to get up and down.
Due to the steepness, the way down can be quite tricky, especially when walking through the scree. make sure you take your time.
The total distance of the walk is 7.5km.
Before You Leave on the North Coast 500
Before you head off on your trip around the NC500, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip. These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book.
How Do I Get Around the NC500?
Given the remote location of the NC500 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.
As for public transport, the use around the NC500 is understandably difficult due to how remote each location is, however, with the increasing problem of congestion along the route, this is a good option to research if you have time. If it is something that interests you, you can read a public formed itinerary of how to get around the NC500 by public transport over here.
If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable, and luxurious campervan for your trip along the NC500, we highly recommend hiring through Spaceship Rentals.
What Should I Pack for the NC500?
When it comes to packing for a trip along the NC500 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NC500 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.
Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C
Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C
Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C
Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C
As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
Where Should I Stay on the NC500?
The remoteness in the highlands of Scotland will leave you with little choice of accommodation in each location along the NC500, however, there are still enough options to choose from to ensure a comfortable trip. These are mostly in the shape of B&Bs, Airbnbs, converted cottages and other quirky accommodations.
Depending on how adventurous you are, there may be more accommodation choices than just the above, often with an even better view. Caravan and camping sites are abundant along the NC500, drawing camping enthusiasts from all over the world. For some of the most spectacular bedside scenery along the North Coast 500, we recommend packing a tent and getting in touch with nature for the week.
As we travelled along the North Coast 500, camped in our trusty Vango tent on a mixture of campsites and wild sites. Wild camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of the highlands, however, it must be done respectfully. Read our full guide to Wild Camping if you wish to give it a go so you know everything you need to for a comfortable and sustainable trip.
What is the Best Travel Insurance?
No matter what type of adventure you are heading on, whether it is a mountain adventure or a relaxing beach destination, one thing we all need to be aware of is that accidents can happen. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Luckily, that is what travel insurance is for.
Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned.
So there you have it, a guide to visiting Ben Hope on the NC500, If you have visited the NC500 recently, let us know what you thought of the trip and whether you completed Ben Hope. If you have any suggestions for other local hikes, let us know in the comments below.
As always, sharing is caring so make sure to share this photo guide with your family and friends and inspire them to head off on their own North Coast 500 adventure. If you are planning the trip for yourself, make sure you have a look at the rest of our Scotland content for more inspiration to our beautiful home country.
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