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This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!


Postby dooterbang » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:44 pm

Route description: Suilven

Fionas included on this walk: Suilven

Date walked: 28/05/2014

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 834m

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Assynt is beautiful, scenic, spectacular and dramatic. It's situated in the North West corner of the highlands set amidst some of the wildest and most remote mountain and coastal scenery in Scotland. A legacy of glaciation, much of the hinterland consists of rugged, distinctive and isolated mountains set amidst immense tracts of bare moorland all strewn together with lochs and lochans...a truly visual vista for the senses.

For the last 4 years I've spent my birthday week exploring the area, and this year would be no different. Joining me would be my friend Susan who has cycled all over Scotland, the Isles and abroad, but she had not yet discovered the little pocket from Lochinver up the coast to Kylesku. The plan was to cycle, walk and eat! I would be revisiting most places, apart from the stunning cycle, whilst it was all new to Susan.

I turned 43 years of age on Wednesday 28th May, yes hard to believe eh, and found myself Northward bound. We would both be trying camping over several days for the first time, Achmelvich Campsite was our choice, so this really was a voyage of discovery!! Got to campsite around 7pm and set up up the tents, wee had a nice little spot. With light fading we headed over to wander around the gloriously sandy secluded beaches of Achmelvich.
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We spent a couple of hours wandering the coastline and exploring the little coves before heading back to our 2 man tents, which in real terms means space for one and your gear, and turned in for the night.

It was around 8am when I surfaced, not having the greatest of sleeps, whilst Susan emerged from her red pod not long after and also reported an uncomfortable night. This did however improve the next couple of nights, I think we both started to like our little tents. The plan for today was a 45 mile cycle loop starting from the campsite and heading up the coast taking in Clachtoll, Stoer, Drumbeg and Nedd, before joining the main road and swinging back along Loch Assynt to Lochinver. This cycle was incredible and probably the best I've ridden, the road into Clachtoll beach was breathtaking!! We stopped many times along this route gobsmacked at the beauty on display, just sublime! And now for the photos....

Looking back to Canisp & Suilven.
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Susan climbing one of the many hills.
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Stopped at Clachtoll Beach and visited the Salmon Fishing Bothy, The Bothy dates to 1846, being built by Hector MacKenzie. It was known to have been inhabited in 1851 by a family of fishermen from Banff. It was finally closed for fishing in 1994. Since then it has become a local museum and has hosted a local wedding
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Back on our bikes, next stop Clashnessie beach. Sat here for a while gazing at the turquoise water.
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Next stop was Drumbeg which has a great viewpoint and award winning village store.
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Nedd has a population of 8 and consists of 4 permanent homes, the rest are rentals. Got chatting with a a resident and his wife who moved up from London over 22 years ago. Everyday they walk 5k along the road and back taking in the view of the mighty triple peaked Quinag.
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It was now 6 mile along a gloriously winding undulating single track road to the main road.
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Susan was feeling lethargic at this point, probably due to heat and lack of water as the distance is only half of what she's used to being an Etape regular, so it was a nice steady cycle back to Lochinver. We visited the Lochinver Larder and had ourselves some tasty pies with mash, gravy and vegetables whilst the overlooking the harbour, the sun shimmering across the water...bliss!!

Back at the campsite we showered and then drove to Stoer to visit the lighthouse, we found some interesting vehicles on display - Swiss Camper Van!!
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Stoer Lighthouse
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Sun, sea & fading light.
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View to the Assynt mountains on route back to campsite.
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After a better sleep we got up and packed our rucksacks and headed to the start of the walk, just before Canisp Lodge, to start our attempt at the mesmeric Suilven. Susan is not a hillwalker but had done several of them in her time, however with an injury and not feeling great yesterday this could be tough going for her. The ascent/descent from Suilven is particularly steep and can cause concern so this would be a steady day out with no time constraints.

The long walk into Suilven is just incredible and worth doing if mountains are not your thing, you constantly find your neck twisting to the right to take in the western bulk of Suilven.
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Soon you come to a marker and head South for the last 2k to the base of Suilven.
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Susan was a little apprehensive but when close up found it was not as intimidating as she thought, so with steady progress we started the ascent...
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We made relatively easy work of the ascent and soon stood on the summit of Suilven, the mountain we had viewed many times whilst cycling yesterday.
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The views once again breathtaking, the ocean, the mountains and the rugged landscapes...mountain nirvana :D

We sat for a while and then started our descent, this was the part Susan was dreading due to her foot injury...I was also worried due to a recent knee ligament tear, I joked that we were like a couple of old bangers on our last legs!!
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We slowly picked our way down the steep ascent, it presented no problems at all. At the bottom the view to Canisp from the lochan was very pleasant.
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On the walk out we glanced one last time at Suilven...
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Views walking out.
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The walk had taken us 9 hours, but we both felt pretty good. Back in Lochinver I realized my sunglasses were missing, we drove back to Canisp Lodge and found them lying on the road! Thankfully we just made it the chip shop at the campsite for last orders, I had a veggie burger and home made onion rings whilst Susan got fish & chips. We sat and ate our lovely food, isn't everything yummy after a big walk, and washed it down with a dark beer (me) & red wine (Susan). Another shower then we turned in for the night.

We woke early and packed away all our gear, which only took 20 minutes, and headed for Stoer again...but this time to visit the old man. The old man of Stoer is a sea stack rising 70M high from the sea.
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Crazy climbers!! On return home I seen that a fellow walking friend had climbed this the weekend before :shock:
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I can climb that....aye, dream on matey! I was experiencing passive vertigo watching the climbers :lol:
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We sat and watched the climbers for an hour or so with a Swiss couple who had quit their jobs and were traveling around Europe in an old VW Campervan. I provided some information on places to visit up the NW Coast, Handa Island, Cape Wrath & Smoo Caves. We returned to the car and set forth for the 6 hour drive back to Glasgow, but not before one final slice of Highland life...
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On route home, around Pitlochry, I felt very ill and thought I was going to pass out...must have been the thought of returning to Glasgow! it soon passed though and Susan got us safely home.

This was a fantastic trip in the most amazing of areas, and one I will constantly revisit. You don't have to cycle or climb mountains to enjoy this area as there is so much to see and do, but the views from the summits are sublime.

Huge thanks to Susan for driving and being my companion on another wonderful adventure, I think she is planning a future trip up very soon, it was a fantastic few days celebrating my birthday.
Last edited by dooterbang on Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby scoob999 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:58 pm

Great report as always and a great birthday/holiday destination :D

We've just had our first trip to Durness, just stunning, cant wait to go back :D
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:05 pm

That was fantastic, DB. I thought I was up Suilven with you guys! Must go soon. I agree that it's not always the highest hills that are the most interesting or exciting. Glad you had a great birthday.
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:08 pm

Fantastic report, with some great photo's :clap: :clap:

The NW is unique & a fabulous part that nobody would ever tire of visiting. Suilven is like no other hill, it is mesmerising & stunning to look at, one day I will head back that way :wink:

Looks like you had some great weather too :lol:
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby rockhopper » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:30 pm

Excellent, doots - and happy birthday ! Great time to visit and you do have a knack of getting the weather :thumbup:

Nostalgic trip down memory lane for me - we spent most of our summer and October school holidays in various cottages throughout Stoer, Drumbeg and Nedd in the 1970s - swimming in the sea, exploring the various walks, fishing etc. Too embarrassing to post the photos though :shock: - cheers :)
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:26 pm

Another great read Doots, love this are it's stunning, can't wait to get back up. Happy Birthday auld yin :D .
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby dooterbang » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:59 pm

scoob999 wrote:Great report as always and a great birthday/holiday destination :D
We've just had our first trip to Durness, just stunning, cant wait to go back :D
I was up Durness last year, beautiful area and well worth a return trip.

AnnieMacD wrote:That was fantastic, DB. I thought I was up Suilven with you guys! Must go soon. I agree that it's not always the highest hills that are the most interesting or exciting. Glad you had a great birthday.
Thanks Annie. Agree fully, smaller hills are fab too. Such a pity some folk just munro bash.

Fife Flyer wrote:
The NW is unique & a fabulous part that nobody would ever tire of visiting. Suilven is like no other hill, it is mesmerising & stunning to look at, one day I will head back that way :wink:
It's a magical place, with stunning mountains.

rockhopper wrote:Excellent, doots - and happy birthday ! Great time to visit and you do have a knack of getting the weather :thumbup:

Nostalgic trip down memory lane for me - we spent most of our summer and October school holidays in various cottages throughout Stoer, Drumbeg and Nedd in the 1970s - swimming in the sea, exploring the various walks, fishing etc. Too embarrassing to post the photos though :shock: - cheers :)
Cheers RH. Oh I think you should post some of those photos in your final completion report :wink:

Johnny Corbett wrote:Another great read Doots, love this are it's stunning, can't wait to get back up. Happy Birthday auld yin :D .
Cheers, young Johnny :)
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby mrssanta » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:13 pm

oh that was really lovely. we tried to camp at Achmelvich many years ago but got blown away. must go back. I love the picture of Susan on the summit.
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby SusieThePensioner » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:19 pm

Belated Happy Birthday, Paul! Still a YOUNG man :wink:

Great photos for a wonderful holiday :thumbup: I'm glad to have been up Suilven now as it's my favourite mountain :lol:

We've had two holidays in that area; one at Lochinver and the other, last year, at Clashnessie. A great area to visit with amazing scenery. Thanks for posting :D
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby dooterbang » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:47 pm

mrssanta wrote:oh that was really lovely. we tried to camp at Achmelvich many years ago but got blown away. must go back. I love the picture of Susan on the summit.
I can imagine it getting very blowy! I think Clachtoll is windy to, more so. Yes Susan was elated, she did well...for a cyclist :wink:

SusieThePensioner wrote:Belated Happy Birthday, Paul! Still a YOUNG man :wink:
I'm glad to have been up Suilven now as it's my favourite mountain :lol:
I agree, I'm very young :wink:
I'm glad to have taken you there Susan :D
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby pollyh33 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:47 pm

Jings, that was a smashing read Paul- really enjoyed that :clap: :clap:

Can't wait until my next foray into Assynt, just hope I get the same weather as you Mr Sunshine 8) 8) 8)
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby dooterbang » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:51 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Jings, that was a smashing read Paul- really enjoyed that :clap: :clap:

Can't wait until my next foray into Assynt, just hope I get the same weather as you Mr Sunshine 8) 8) 8)
Thanks very much Polly. I hope the sun is shining for you. Achiltibuie does a half marathon you know :wink:
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:22 pm

Terrific report, and really breathtaking pix. Truly inspiring.

Along with Knoydart, Liathach and The Cobbler, Suilven has long been one of my dream mountains. With Liathach and The Cobbler already visited this year, this puts Suilven high on the priority list - the only problem is that it's an 11 hour drive one way.... :(
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:50 am

Fabulous pics and a great read :clap: that was a great trip, well done both.
Belated happy birthday, yes you are young :lol:

Assynt and the north west are really special, I really enjoy the reports from up here, perhaps it's time I started writing some :? :?
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Re: This is Scotland - Assynt 2014!!

Postby scottishkennyg » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:16 am

Excellent blog DB..some great photos in there, particularly liked the climbers on the rock and the sunsets..
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