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Suilven by Sea Kayak

Suilven by Sea Kayak


Postby Hank29 » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:08 pm

Route description: Suilven

Fionas included on this walk: Suilven

Date walked: 10/10/2016

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Day 1 - mostly a long drive

Having collected my Kayak companion for the trip from the Midlands, the kayaks from my place in leeds and arrived at the launch spot in Elphin about 2 hours before sunset, we decided our trip to paddle to Suilven would start with a night camping at the side of Cam Loch. A hasty packing of the Kayaks (mostly by me as Simon had never actually been in one) and we launched for the first short paddle to the North bank to find a suitable spot for the night and teach Simon the basic paddle skills of how not to fall out.

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tetris packing in a hurry


1.jpg
Night 1 - Just the Tip of Suilven in sight


October had all the positives for this long overdue trip. Firstly not a midge left. secondly amazingly clear, slightly unseasonal and fairly warm weather, and on this evening a moonlit night that ended with just a flicker of the northern lights. Simon in the one man tent, i opted for the half tarp and Jerven bag to see the stars. Almost a perfect plan although had a slight rude awakening to find a stag bellowing at 3am just metres from the camp, which being the season was i believe a challenge to Simons own bellowing Snores. (maybe the the 3 litres of Red wine for two didnt help - I did warn that the wine box works just like a bottle really, its never really left for another day)

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The Stag Party


Day 2 - Kayak and climb

After an incredibly lazy start we headed back down Loch Cam to the small river down to Loch Veyatie. We had heard there was a waterfall somewhere between, so i sent the novice first (i didnt really, honestly though it was tempting). It was a good job i didnt as the waterfall crept up and then was a sudden thunderous roar. The kayaks being 17ft could easily turn a little too quick for the inexperienced.

1a.jpg
Heading for the River and Waterfall


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a good one to miss out in a Sea Kayak


After a little scouting we found the best landing place for a fairly arduous portage of both fully laden boats alongside the river and down the banking into the lower Loch.

Finally a launch on Veyatie by the fish hathery and a suprising East wind to provide us a speedier than expected paddle down the loch to the River into Fionn Loch. The rapids were shallow but just about gave us a ride down to the lower Loch all the way with a great view of Suilven and Cul Mor on either side of us.

2a.JPG
Suilven in sight


2c.JPG
a slightly overloaded Kayak!


As we rounded the river bend we reached the proposed camp site below Suilven with a view of Stac Pollaidh. We set up a second camp and decided we had enough daylight to head straight up in case the weather took a turn for the worse. Although still a little boggy up to the climb up, we were glad we had paddled in, rather than trudged the track from the west. Simon raced up with me plodding rather embarrassingly behind for my age!

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The path up the southern slopes


4.jpg
Cul Mor and Stac Pol in the cloud below and the Lochs


Once we reached the ridge however the winds picked up and the final climbs to the summits got more and more exposed, narrow and for a lower summit such as Suilven started to feel more like Liatach which i had completed the ridge of a few weeks before.

5.jpg
minor scramble made a little worse by very high gusting winds


The stunning views all the way to the north to Cape Wrath, to the south toward Torridon and out to the Hebrides kept us on the summits and ridge almost too long, and after making a hasty decent back down the south path we reached the tent just after the light went ready for a few drinks and food.

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spending a little too much time on the view of the Hebrides as the Sun starts to drop

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The Lochs North

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a sunset almost too long


Ever since i first Sea Kayaked around the Summer Isles i have wanted to visit Suilven. Its not too high, its not got the grand scary pinnacles of others but it has something different. A wild imposing beauty indeed and best of all it allowed me to combine my two favorite pastimes, kayak and Walk.

9.jpg
a perfect spot to wake up


Day 3 - payback

Although we prayed all night the wind would change back to the prevailing, it did not. Not a long day, but tough pulling the kayaks back up the rapids and then all the way along the Loch with a 20 mph headwind. With no stopping we reached old fish hatchery to get the Kayaks back up to Elphin early afternoon ready for an evening in Ullapool and the music of Willie Mcrae with a few drinks in preparation for Day 4, a ten hour drive to get to Nottingham Beer Festival!
Hank29
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Re: Suilven by Sea Kayak

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:39 pm

Wonderful way to experience one of the most iconic mountains in the highlands! Loved this report :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Suilven by Sea Kayak

Postby rockhopper » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:18 pm

Seems like a novel way to approach this hill but interesting nonetheless - great idea and good result too - cheers :)
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Re: Suilven by Sea Kayak

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:40 pm

A good read and nice photos. Sounds like a quite an adventure in a area just made for adventures :D
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Re: Suilven by Sea Kayak

Postby tentpeg » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:52 pm

What kind of tarp is that? :)
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Re: Suilven by Sea Kayak

Postby Hank29 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:08 pm

rockhopper wrote:Seems like a novel way to approach this hill but interesting nonetheless - great idea and good result too - cheers :)


yes indeed! more of a Sea Kayaker normally, but had wanted to visit Suilven but also Kayak and short on time so decided to try combine. My partner for the trip had never been in a Kayak so the Lochs were a fairly easy intro and he loved it. Even carrying a fully loaded kayak over a pretty hard portage hasn't deterred him either!
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Re: Suilven by Sea Kayak

Postby Hank29 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:10 pm

tentpeg wrote:What kind of tarp is that? :)


Bit of a tarping cheat as its actually two that i use!

The end point is a small Vango adventure tarp i usually use as a porch to the tent when the weather is dire as it is elasticated to hoop the tent, or can be pitched.

The second is a slightly oversized Quecha tarp (that doesnt have enough pole options)

Together they pack pretty small and give me a few options
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Re: Suilven by Sea Kayak

Postby allymacp » Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:15 pm

Tried my first kayak/camping trip in Canada this year and loved it. Nice to see it of use in Scotland too, certainly a better alternative to the long walks in sometimes! Nice report man!
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