Hill: Ben Loyal
Date: Sunday 16th December 2007
Company: Myself and Beinn 
Time: c. 4hrs.

I booked into the Bettyhill Hotel (in Bettyhill) where myself and Beinn spent an enjoyable Saturday evening in the Hotel bar before retiring for the night. The locals in the bar were friendly and the Guinness was great. Really recommend this hotel. Got a single room (basic but clean) for myself and Beinn including a very tasty cooked breakfast for only £20!

Anyway, this morning I set out for Tongue and then along the narrow road leading to Ribigill Farm. Room for 3 or 4 cars next to the cattle grid circa 0.5km before the farm itself.

On parking there I couldn't help but notice the following sign:

It was -4C outside so there was no way I was leaving Beinn in the car while I did the hill. So I opted to ignore the sign and take Beinn with me keeping him on a lead. The sign didn't explicitly say which hill.

Subsequently contacted Highland Council and received helpful response from Access Officers:
"Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. You are correct, this sign does not comply with the Code. The only time a sign such as that could be used would be for a specific management activity (such as sheep gathering) in which case the sign should be location and time specific, and also be dated. A sign to cover all times could only state that ‘Dogs must be kept under proper control’. Thus provided you acted responsibly, as it sounds like you did, you could ignore the sign. The sign at the Ribigill track entrance has been an ongoing matter for some time now. The estate are very positive about changing the sign and have been provided with an alternative, however I think differing views between the estate staff and farm manager is delaying this being installed. The owner does not live in the UK. I have been in regular contact with the estate this autumn and they are fully aware of the need to remove or update the sign, the issue will be presented to the Local Access Forum at the first opportunity in the new year if no progress is made."

We walked past the farm and continued along the land-rover track where I stopped to take a photo of Ben Loyal.

The closer we got to the hill, the more I started wondering will I manage to get Beinn up that?

However, after passing Cunside and starting the ascent it become apparent that there was an easy way up.

It didn't take us long to reach the bealach between Ben Loyal and Ben Hiel. From the bealach we continued to follow the path which made its way up slopes of frozen grass. Near Loch na Creige Riabhaich there was a flat area where we stopped to take a photo of the highest top An Caisteal.

Another photo of An Caisteal from a bit higher up.

Again despite An Caisteal looking quite imposing, from a distance, there was an easy way up. Had a quick stop at the summit for photos but didn't linger for long as it was baltic.

Beinn at Summit of Ben Loyal:

View of Ben Hope:

View North to Kyle of Tongue:

View East towards Loch na Creige Riabhaich and Ben Hiel:

We returned to the car as per the route of ascent. Closer view of Kyle of Tongue:

View of Ben Loyal from A836 road: