Ben Klibreck from Strath Vagastie

Ben Klibreck from Strath Vagastie

Hillwalking route up Ben Klibreck from Strath Vagastie

Mighty Ben Klibreck is a vast rolling mountain overlooking extensive areas of forestry, moorland and windfarms in the far north of the Scottish mainland. This most direct route to the summit, Meall nan Con, begins from Strath Vagastie, the glen beneath the mountain's north-western flank.



Route outline


Munros

Ben Klibreck

Ascent 825m (2700ft)
Distance 14km (9m)
Time 5:00hr
Start/finish Bridge over River Vagastie
Grid Ref : NC537289
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


There are paths and ATV tracks accessing this mountain from various directions, but from Strath Vagastie is the shortest and most direct route. On ground lower down the path can be rather squelchy as it makes a route through grass and heather. Progress becomes easier higher up once a fine path contouring around Ben Klibreck's Creag an Lochain is met. The final ascent to the summit Meall nan Con is up loose and steep ground.



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Route description


1. Getting to Strath Vagastie

Ben Klibreck from Strath Vagastie

Ben Klibreck from Strath Vagastie

The starting point for this route is by a bridge over the River Vagastie, 7km south of Altnaharra and 5km north of Crask Inn on the A836. This is also just north of the entrance to a windfarm being constructed over the moorland west of Vagastie.

There is parking for a few vehicles by the roadside at the starting point. Ben Klibreck is not a particularly popular Munro and therefore it is very rare not to be able to squeeze a car in here, but if needed, there are alternatives nearby, including where the road crosses the River Vagastie via a humpback bridge, 1.5km to the south of the starting point.


2. Meall nan Con on Ben Klibreck

On the path below Creag an Lochain

On the path below Creag an Lochain

From the roadside, a short section of path leads through grass to the wooden bridge crossing the River Vagastie. Cross this, then follow a wet and worn path over more grass and occasional sections of damp ground to meet up Feith Bad an Loch, the burn that flows from Loch Bad an Loch. There's a lovely small waterfall to view on the way .

A little further on, the path crosses to the northern side of Feith Bad an Loch, goes through a gate, then continues for another 500m to cross the burn again at a point where the burn turns sharply . Gradually ever fainter, the path can be traced heading eastwards and gradually gains height over the next 1km.

As the path approaches Ben Klibreck's steep slopes, just to the south of Loch nan Uan , it disappears completely !

Surverying the hillside ahead, an obvious green grassy split divides the heather - head uphill over the heather-clad ground, aiming directly for this. In parts this can be a bit of a trudge, but persist, this is the toughest part of the hike ! Continue uphill on the grassy break to meet up with an obvious boot-worn path travelling south-north and contouring around Creag an Lochain.

Follow this path northwards to the grassy bealach between Creag an Lochain and Meall nan Con.

The path becomes fainter as it heads north then turns eastwards to attain the rocks at the foot of the last pull up Meall nan Con. The scree, boulders and grass are quickly ascended via a path that twists and turns a route uphill.

Me on Ben Klibreck in summer 2000

Me on Ben Klibreck in summer 2000

A trig point, encircled by a stone dyke, sits on the summit and expansive views can be enjoyed on clear days.

Me on Ben Klibreck in summer 2000

Me on Ben Klibreck in summer 2000


3. Return

Shattered summit trig point

Shattered summit trig point

The simplest option is to return by the route taken up.

In fine weather this will be straightforward, but in mist navigating down from Meall nan Con can be testing. The descent to the bealach and start of the path contouring around Creag an Lochain is fairly easy. But finding the point at which to come off the path will be challenging - get it wrong and it is easy to be pulled in the wrong direction which has the potential to lead to wet loose ground above some short cliff sections.

To avoid potential problems, a good idea is to make a note on the route up as you ascend, particularly timings on the contouring path and bearings on the ascent of Meall nan Con.


4. Alternative ascent

Ben Klibreck from cairn on Cnoc Sgriodain

Ben Klibreck from cairn on Cnoc Sgriodain

A slightly longer, but arguably easier route begins from the roadside opposite the entrance to the windfarm construction site, just south of the hump-back bridge over the Allt a'Chraisg. If it is not possible to park here, there is a lay-by around 500m south-west, back uphill (marked by the Mackay Country Stone).

A small cairn marks the beginning of a boot-worn path heading east-south-east and uphill through grass, crossing through a fence on route. After periods of rain, expect much of the ground to be quite soggy !

After around 1km, the path turns east-north-east and the rate of ascent steepens slightly with ground underfoot becoming drier. A large well-constructed cairn just south of the summit of Cnoc Sgriodain is met, with a couple more smaller ones further on. Now following ATV tracks just south of the bealach east of Cnoc Sgriodain, some more soggy ground is crossed before heading uphill on a boot-worn path.

The path contouring around Creag an Lochain is met and the route in the above section is followed to Ben Klibreck's summit, Meall nan Con.





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