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Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark


Postby litljortindan » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:26 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Suilven

Date walked: 08/11/1997

Time taken: 13 hours

Distance: 27 km

Ascent: 1400m

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Late 1997 I did a walk over Suilven starting from the east. I was with a friend who I knew was generally a good bit fitter than me and who had recently completed a long cycling tour so I did anticipate trailing behind a bit and even more than I normally would have.
However, to my pleasant surprise I managed to keep pace over the first two hours that saw us onto the foot of the ridge. Thereafter though I did pretty much struggle for energy.
After the first top there was an interesting nervy descent on steep ground to the right of the ridge crest and into the first notch along the ridge. Probably the most tricky part.
We'd started a bit before sunrise (6am or 7am if I recall correctly) and the weather was very good -clear skies and little wind though the usual November chill. The main ridge was a pleasure to traverse and looked great with the autumn/winter sun throwing long shadows across the moorland. So I'd say we got very fine views from each end of the main ridge. We'd been dropped off for the start of the walk in so the route back was a choice between the west/east path out or a more ambitious route over Canisp that would take us directly back to Inchnadamph.
Canisp it was then, as we'd estimated that we might be able to get to the top before sunset at 4.20pm (again, if I recall correctly). As it turned out we were some way below Canisp's summit whilst we admired the setting sun and I was by then cramped up with sciatica. Still, I struggled on and I was grateful for my companion's patience as they were obviously still full of energy and could probably have jogged up the rest of the way. I kept going though and eventually got a second wind of sorts (probably once we were on our way downwards again!). At least we had the lights of Inchnadamph as a landmark and occasional car lights on the road to give an indication of our whereabouts without too much recourse to map and compass.
Back down at Inchnadamph for 7pm I reckon.

Imageimg080 by John Little, on Flickr
A 6am start or thereabouts sees us starting out on the Cam Loch path for the first 5km. Might have been better to stay on the path longer but we got to the foot of the east top in two and a half hours I think.

Imageimg081 by John Little, on Flickr
Off the path and cross country to the foot of the ridge. An easy but steep ascent to the first top follows. We sidled down the north side of the first top, still steep and straight forward but more exposed -pretty much following the shaded slope in this photo.

Imageimg082 by John Little, on Flickr

Imageimg083 by John Little, on Flickr
A notch in the ridge.

Imageimg084 (4) by John Little, on Flickr
Me posing and contemplating the gap between the first and second peaks. We descended easier slopes left of pic.

Image80990023c by John Little, on Flickr
Not sure why I've chosen to stoop awkwardly here rather than find a nice flat spot to stand on but this must be Meall Meadhonach.

Image80990024 - Copy by John Little, on Flickr

Image80990021c by John Little, on Flickr
Probably the view south from the western summit, Caisteal Liath.

Image52080030v2 by John Little, on Flickr
On the way down from the western summit.

Image52080031v2 by John Little, on Flickr
Getting chilly now.

Image52080029v2 by John Little, on Flickr

Imageimg085 by John Little, on Flickr
Something went wrong with the film here -probably tried to remove without it being fully wound in as folk of a certain age will realise. Anyway, a couple of pics of the awaiting Canisp and one outline of Suilven from near the summit, shortky before sunset.
Last edited by litljortindan on Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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litljortindan
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby Mal Grey » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:07 pm

Always enjoy seeing older trip photos. The mountains don't change much, but the clothing sure does!
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:31 am

Enjoyed your photos and that looked a fine adventurous, if at times painful, outing. I would love to do this traverse but think we may be a bit past it Although in 1997 I never walked further than walking the dogs :lol:
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby litljortindan » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:36 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Always enjoy seeing older trip photos. The mountains don't change much, but the clothing sure does!


That was a tough walk for me. I enjoy raking through the old photos looking for stuff to write about (especially with having a bit of a sore knee at the moment) and I also like others' retro reports, partly for the analogue images. Good to try to remember and re-live a stand-out day like that.
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby litljortindan » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:42 pm

Cairngorm creeper wrote:Enjoyed your photos and that looked a fine adventurous, if at times painful, outing. I would love to do this traverse but think we may be a bit past it Although in 1997 I never walked further than walking the dogs :lol:


You'd probably find this pretty easy relative to some of the scrambles you've reported and, oddly, not too many scrambling opportunities for such a dramatic looking ridge though there are spots where you can seek out scrambling, probably the most obvious of which would be on the way up the highest eastern top but from the west.
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby denfinella » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:31 pm

Sounds like quite a marathon - in fact, I'm surprised it's only 22 km. The west ridge of Suilven looks like fun. I kind of wish we were able to fit that into our own walk last month, but it was a long enough day already!
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby litljortindan » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:03 pm

denfinella wrote:Sounds like quite a marathon - in fact, I'm surprised it's only 22 km. The west ridge of Suilven looks like fun. I kind of wish we were able to fit that into our own walk last month, but it was a long enough day already!


You're right. I've re-counted the squares and upgraded to 27km!

Suileag bothy would be a way of spreading the effort for a return visit. Have stayed there a couple of times -once after walking round the base of Caisteal Liath (which was not that exciting and a bit rough going) and once after a walk in from the north in a storm basically. Have done the main ridge apart from the very first and smallest easternmost top in one day but slept in the car afterwards which was a bit knackering but in theory would have obviated the need to carry a sleeping bag in. I, of course, carried a sleeping bag in but for some reason preferred to walk back out that night rather than staying in the bothy. I did have the sense to leave the sleeping bag in the bothy though!
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:38 am

Great pictures of probably the best route on Suilven. :D
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby litljortindan » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:19 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:Great pictures of probably the best route on Suilven. :D


Cheers. The easternmost top is well worth visiting or including in a walk there.
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby dogplodder » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:40 pm

Was looking at Suilven yesterday wondering when I'd get a chance to get up there! 8)
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Re: Suilven from east to west then Canisp in the dark

Postby litljortindan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:25 pm

dogplodder wrote:Was looking at Suilven yesterday wondering when I'd get a chance to get up there! 8)


It is waiting for you I am sure...

Sad to say my Suilven days may be behind me but I'd like to go again with a wee bit of snow about. Maybe a night in Suileag is called for.
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