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One every walker should do.

One every walker should do.


Postby Snoopy » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:01 pm

Route description: Suilven

Fionas included on this walk: Suilven

Date walked: 18/09/2009

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 19 km

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We arrived at our start at 9am. We’d taken the little road out of Lochinver towards Glencanisp Lodge and stopped at the car park. As the sign said – “Walkers Welcome No Car Parking beyond this point”. No other cars were there, which is just as well since there is only parking for about 6 cars. The alternative would be to park back in Lochinver, adding an addition 1+ mile each way (with nothing special to add to the walk). From the car park there was a fabulous hazy view of Suilven – the task ahead.

Looked like it was going to be a great day!

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We walked along the road to Glencanisp Lodge which follows by Loch Druim Suardalain. A little over half a mile later we passed by the lodge buildings and as we come through the small complex we saw a little white corrugated building with a green door. Nothing unusual about that, but lying on the freshly hosed concrete entrance step was the head of a deer with fine antlers – I won’t post the pic. I mention this because if you go walking in the wilds of Sutherland there is a chance you’re going to come across something like this. Deer culling is a necessary fact in this part of the world. On a walk earlier in the week we’d passed the very same building and one of us showed much more than a passing interest in the building – know we know why! . This wasn’t our first encounter of this type in the week, which was less of a pretty sight (and smell) :shock: . But, certainly wasn’t why were here, so we quickly moved on.

It was a pleasant walk along the track. After about a mile further we came across Loch na h-Airigh Fraoich, and we got a slightly different view of Suilven.

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We carried on following the trail and it soon tracked along side the river. It was a nice day and we noticed a large bird circling high – we are no bird watchers, but we think it’s some type of eagle. We just hoped it wasn’t thinking of taking one of us. There were lots of beautiful dragon flies around. Even managed to get a picture of one close up!

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Well after a total of about 4 miles we crossed the river over a bridge. Shortly we heard the sound of a vehicle in the distance. A little further along, up behind us came an all terrain vehicle (Argo I think?). In this appeared to be a family (mother and three teenage sons?) with their rifles, complete with telescopic sights – out for a days deer stalking. As I said, you have to expect to see this sort of thing. Anyway, just under a mile after the bridge we turned off the track. At last we started to make some sort of ascent (although it’s not much). It’s now a little boggy, but not too bad. We wind our way up, eventually coming to Loch a’ Choire Dhuibh at the base of Suilven. Good place to have a break, check the maps and admire the view.

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Now the real ascent could begin. Up ahead nearing the ridge we could see someone. It was the first walker we’d seen all day. At first sight the path in the gulley looked formidable, and might require a bit of a scramble. It was steep, but not too steep and you couldn’t really call it a scramble.

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We did stop quite a few times on the way to wait for someone - contrary to assertions, we don’t mind it either, it gives time to admire the views!

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Well, from the base at the Loch to the ridge took us about 30 minutes. Not too long.
Once there we have a fantastic view on both sides. Strangely there’s a wall across ridge. I couldn’t figure why anyone would build such a thing there. But the final ascent awaited so through the gap in the wall we went and up the ridge path.

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As we walked along the ridge path it was narrow in places, with steep drops on both sides. But in the conditions we had, it was both easy and exhilarating. I wouldn’t do this walk on a windy day! In winter I wouldn’t contemplate it without Crampons and ice axe!!

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On the final leg of the ascent the whole path and summit broad out. If you are as lucky as we were, you get great views 360 degrees.

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We had done it. We had reached the summit. It may not be one of the highest walks we’ve ever done, but it’s certainly one of the most exhilarating. All aided by the great weather of the day.

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On the broad grassy top there were two stone slabs laid out to form a cosy seat. So we sat there for our lunch. From here there were fine views toward the coast and Lochinver in the distance. Further along from us there was the sole walker sat down enjoying his picnic. We was shortly joined by another walker, so we assumed hey were together (which we later found wasn’t the case).

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It was time set back, but shortly after we had set off someone was taking a keen interest on something below. Looking over the edge I was two young deer on a grassy ledge. They soon ran out of sight, but I don’t know where to, or how ever they got there in the first place.
Mountain deer?

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Anyway, we still had a long trek ahead, so off we went. Along the and down the ridge, and back though that opening in the wall.


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Soon we were back at the top of the gulley. Just as you start your way down there’s an impressive outcrop.

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The path back seemed more boggy that I could recall. I wouldn’t fancy that after a good few days of heavy rain. This was relatively short lived since we were soon back on the main track and over the bridge. The walk along the track was a bit tedious, the views don’t change much.

After we passed Glencanisp Lodge stood right in front of us on the road was a deer. It just stood there staring straight at us! It seemed to be there for an eternity. We wondered if it didn’t like dogs? Bit early we thought for the rutting season or was it? It couldn’t blame us for what we’d seen earlier at Glencanisp Lodge? Were we going to have to find a way around it?

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Then, it casually turned and slowly walked down to the Loch.

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After a drink, it strolled through the heather and over the brow out of sight. We carried on walking the short distance that remained back to the car. A magical end to a magical day. 8) :D

No parking was left, and some had parked where they shouldn’t have! I was glad we’d got there reasonably early.

It may not be a Munro but this is one mountain everyone should have on their to do list – despite the long trek with views that don’t change much. It is on the longish side for a walk, but as long as weather conditions are right it’s not too hard or too difficult. But you do need to be fairly fit. And after a good day walking up Suilven, I’d highly recommend The Caberfeidh – it had superb food and some good real ales – with doggies more than welcome in the bar area.

GPS track log shows 19.6km
Last edited by Snoopy on Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One every walker should do.

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:11 am

Fabulous report Snoopy; it's got to be one of the best hills in Scotland, no matter how high. One to go back and do again :D
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