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The bottom bracket on my Van Nicholas Astraeus is a creaking when going up hills. It's already been tightened recently, yet seems to creek more and more lately - probably due to the mileage (many, many thousands of miles).

The bottom bracket is a Shimano Ultegra 6700 (SM-BB6700), I've been looking at upgrading the unit. I have an existing Shimano Ultegra crankset, would a Shimano Dura Ace 7900 Bottom Bracket be compatible with this setup? I'm also looking at Hope bottom brackets, do ceramic bottom brackets last longer? Or are they just smoother?

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Providing that is of the same type and size it will interchange. As an example hollow-tech II 10 speed BB30 English will interchange Dura-Ace, Ultegra, 105 will all fit. Ceramic bearings are sold as smoother hence less resistance, will you notice the difference? It is hard to say, but probable not except in your wallet.

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