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Spectacular Suilven circular

Spectacular Suilven circular


Postby denfinella » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:28 pm

Route description: Suilven

Fionas included on this walk: Suilven

Date walked: 10/07/2017

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 29 km

Ascent: 1430m

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Oh, Suilven! With one of the most spectacular profiles of any Scottish hill, this 731-metre Graham had been on my wishlist for years. Finally we'd booked a week in Assynt, and even better, good weather was forecast for the first few days. So, which route to take? The approaches from Glencanisp and Inverkirkaig both looked interesting, so we decided to link them (with a fairly lengthy road walk) to make a circuit. "I'd have started about two hours ago..." replied the warden at Inchnadamph Hostel when we left him a route card. But we hadn't wanted to miss the free breakfast!

Cloud was forecast to burn off through the day. so we started at Inverkirkaig and tackled the tarmac first.


Suilven.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



River Kirkaig at the start - a fine river:

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Inverkirkaig and Loch Kirkaig, with sheep and lambs grazing along the road verges:

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The first 3km+ was all on a road, but it's a very scenic and fairly quiet one, winding through the rocky landscape scattered with houses. No great hardship at all then. View over Loch Culag:

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At Loch Culag you can divert through Culag Woods, replacing the next kilometre of road walking with forest paths:

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We explored the woodland more thoroughly later in the week - there are some very attractive spots - so I'll leave the rest of the photos for a later report. Emerging from the north end of the woods we passed through a quiet Lochinver:

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Back onto tarmac for the trudge up to Glencanisp Lodge. After the first mile the track becomes unsurfaced, with the first great views of the day's target (right, with Canisp on the left):

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There's a wee "honesty shop" at Glencanisp Lodge - tempting, but we thought we'd better crack on. A track covers the next few miles: easy going amidst pleasant surroundings, Suilven gradually getting closer. We detoured briefly to inspect Suileag Bothy, which became lunch stop no. 1.

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After reading though some of the bothy book, a soggy path cut the corner back onto the Suilven track. A few holes were starting to appear in the cloud.

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Canisp looking enticing:

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Reaching the junction where the path branches off to climb Suilven, we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a newly constructed path. This led most of the way up to the two lochans at the foot of the steepest section of the ascent, no doubt a huge improvement on the boggy old route we could occasionally see off to the side.

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Reaching the end of the improved section, there was only a short wetter section before the ground dried out as the gradient steepened. The path up onto the ridge has no difficulties and tremendous views - but they're even better from the ridge itself...!

Just... wow:

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Having started our day with all the road walking, we got the summit to ourselves as everyone else was already descending. After drinking in the views, we returned along the ridge (which has a couple of very easy scrambles) to the bealach... this time turning right to descend. There's a clear path which is similar in steepness to the ascent path, but a bit looser with a little scree.

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Suilven's summit dome from the base:

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Ah yes, so there had to be a catch. Once onto flatter terrain the bog starts. It was never particularly terrible, but for the next few long miles along Fionn Loch you're never far from a wet bit. On the plus side, the views...:

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But the path is (usually) clear:

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Across the loch:

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Suilven poking out at every opportunity:

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More photos below...
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denfinella
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby denfinella » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:36 pm

25.jpg


A few deer seemed completely unafraid as we came close to them:

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The path heads around the pesky north-western tip of Fionn Loch - a loch which we felt we were getting to know pretty well!

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The next stretch follows the beautiful Kirkaig River, with a compulsory detour to the Falls of Kirkaig. These was spectacular, with the biggest fish I've ever seen attempting (in vain) to leap the fall!

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Continuing down the glen, eventually through forest - on the home straight now.

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Would certainly recommend this route if you have the time (and patience for the road section). At 10 hours, a long walk for us, but about an hour shorter than we'd expected. And stunning surroundings throughout - definitely one which will remain in the memory!

Assynt 2017
>> Next day: Quinag
Last edited by denfinella on Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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denfinella
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:55 pm

What a fabulous hill! And one I still have to do...

Assynt is just such a long way... :roll:
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Alteknacker
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby litljortindan » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:50 pm

A great hill in cracking weather, well photographed.
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litljortindan
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby denfinella » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:55 pm

Alteknacker wrote:What a fabulous hill! And one I still have to do...

Assynt is just such a long way... :roll:


An amazing hill indeed. A long way, but could be worse... at least you don't need a ferry to get to it :wink:

litljortindan wrote:A great hill in cracking weather, well photographed.


Thanks litljortindan - good weather definitely important for this one!
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denfinella
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby katyhills » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:11 pm

Glorious - just glorious :D
I've been keen to do Suilven for ages, but it's too far for a day trip, so I've just booked a weekend away in late August, with the aim of doing it and a couple of others. Fingers will be staying crossed until then for the weather!

Your photos are stunning. You could forgive any amount of boggy ground for the entire walk if you had those views to look at. It has to be one of the most iconic hills anywhere.

Thanks for posting and sharing that report. :)
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby denfinella » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:04 pm

katyhills wrote:Glorious - just glorious :D
I've been keen to do Suilven for ages, but it's too far for a day trip, so I've just booked a weekend away in late August, with the aim of doing it and a couple of others. Fingers will be staying crossed until then for the weather!

Your photos are stunning. You could forgive any amount of boggy ground for the entire walk if you had those views to look at. It has to be one of the most iconic hills anywhere.

Thanks for posting and sharing that report. :)


Thanks Katy! Yep too far for us too, so we were there for a week :)

Hope you get weather as good as ours...
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denfinella
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby Jaxter » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:47 pm

Ooooh smashing!! I actually did a sort of similar thing on Canisp yesterday. Report and photos are still in the works, the trials of 5 days worth of photos :lol: :lol: Suliven is such a fabulous hill from all angles isn't it! 8) :wink:

How on earth did you get that close to the deer?! They always hear me coming :lol:
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Re: Spectacular Suilven circular

Postby denfinella » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:35 pm

Jaxter wrote:Ooooh smashing!! I actually did a sort of similar thing on Canisp yesterday. Report and photos are still in the works, the trials of 5 days worth of photos :lol: :lol: Suliven is such a fabulous hill from all angles isn't it! 8) :wink:

How on earth did you get that close to the deer?! They always hear me coming :lol:


We were surprised to get so close too! Quite a few others through the day which weren't as accommodating :lol:

Looking forward to seeing your Canisp report - we didn't get round to that one this time but we were eyeing it up from Suilven. And completely sympathise about photos... still have a mountain of pictures to sort through from Mull later in the month :shock: The trials of hill walking eh? :wink:
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denfinella
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