walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Suilven On Ice

Suilven On Ice


Postby spiderwebb » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:51 pm

Date walked: 02/01/2018

6 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I have passed Suilven many times, and always stopped in awe at this icon, that whilst short on height in the great scheme of things more than makes up in sheer wonder.

So having been on my list for a good while, I had always wanted to get it on a good day. Although not one to be put off by too much wind, too wet, too hot (does that happen ?) or too cold, this was one that I was looking forward to photographing in all its splendour :D

A small window of opportunity presented itself on the last day of the Christmas break. The forecast was not perfect, a front was moving in mid-afternoon, but prior to this it should dawn clear and fine….. famous last words :lol:
I set the alarm for 0400hrs, planning to be away for 0430 and at Glen Canisp Lodge for 0730hrs, the intention being to be at the base of Suilven, or thereabouts by sunrise ish.

As it turned out I was awake at 0300hrs :shock: and gathered the gear and away.

The journey was relatively uneventful except for the road through Elphin, clearly a little cold spot as the road was icy, and this early, before the gritters had been through. With the full moon the road glistened so a couple of hard braking manoeuvres (at dead slow obviously) to test the ground, had the ABS kicking straight in… caution being the word from here on in :(

I was at Lochinver earlier than the original plan, which was great, up the Estate road but not for long. I encountered a section in a little dip, only a few hundred yards from the cattle grid, it was completely covered in ice both sides of a small burn overflowing the road. I carried on over but couldn’t make any headway up the far incline and stopped with the front of the car sliding sideways. I was now diagonally across the narrow road. Nothing for it but a cup of coffee whilst we think this one through, cripes :crazy:

I had decided that even if I could get over this part, it could be worse further on (it was a lot worse), and given the position of the car, I was somewhat concerned, given my rear wheels were off the road heading towards a morass, whilst the front were on sheet ice. I donned boots and crampons given I couldn’t stand upright on this stuff, and pushed/slid the front of the car so it was facing back downslope, in the hope that I could at least drive back out. It worked, surprisingly easy, with little effort, as long as it didn’t carry on sliding.

Boots and crampons back off I drove back out and parked in the Visitor Centre Car park, which was also sheet ice, but at least I was parked, phew :wink:

This wee escapade cost me at least 45 minutes, my earlier advantage had slipped (literally) :lol:
After some skating on ice to get out the car park I set off up the Estate Road and donned crampons for the aforementioned section that wasn’t negotiated in 4 wheels and as I was getting the gear together one of the Estate 4wd vehicles went past complete with trailer, I was missing my old Landrover :(

WH1.jpg


I was only missing it for a minute as the Estate vehicle hit the same incline and as it slipped back the trailer went for a bit of off roading. Trailer unhitched, the 4wd still couldn’t make it and ended up in the opposite side, down a small slope into the bracken, with half still on the road of ice :shock:

WH2.jpg


The trouble with being a Knight is that we live in a world where Knights no longer exist, and Damsels, have their own agendas, not to be confused with being in distress :wink:

Now the gentleman concerned was no damsel, but between us we tried to get the 4wd back on the road, but to no avail. He had to try and cut a few bits of tree that the 4wd was now sitting against, whilst I tried to apply the necessary heaving, the crampons working well, but 4wd Toyota with all Terrain tyres were no match for ice, but then again nothing is short of chains or studs.

This second escapade cost another hour as I left the poor chap, awaiting his colleagues who apparently would be coming through shortly.

The walk in to the Lodge was entirely in crampons. Now I can’t recall ever having used then before on a tarmac road, but needs must. Maybe I’ll keep this pair for roads and the newer pair for the proper stuff.
On the walk in Suilven started to reveal itself and in the breaking dawn looked superb. I took many photos but on arrival home the camera clearly had issues, maybe with the low light aaarrrgghh :( :(

WH3.jpg


WH6.jpg


Just prior to reaching the Lodge, the road cleared and crampons went away, I wish I hadn’t, as within a hundred yards up slope to the Lodge the road was back to ice aaarrgghh :roll:

I did my best dancing on ice and managed to get to the far end where the now path/track was slightly easier, but progress was still slow, on top of the time already lost, I was having my doubts :(

The beautiful dawn, the clear skies on the drive in with full moon for company, were soon replaced with a grey sky and Canisp directly ahead started to gain a cloud top, this was not good. Suilven still visible.

WH7.jpg


By the time I reached the turn off for the bothy I had made up my mind today was not to be. A look back towards Lochinver revealed increasing cloud, was this the late afternoon front arriving at 1030hrs !!!
I turned off the Suilven track for the bothy, at least I could have a break inside, as now the wind was picking up too, from the completely still start. I would be turning back.

WH9.jpg


Fed and watered in the bothy, well ok hot coffee all to meself, I headed back to the main track, Suilven still visible but not for long as it gradually hid behind cloud cover, and then the rain started, waterproofs out.
Suilven fills the window.

WH10.jpg


Going, going,

WH11.jpg


Gone

WH13.jpg


The walk back to the Lodge was easier, clearly a thaw had been initiated sufficiently to make better progress. Could the road also be clear ? :D

On arrival back at the Lodge I met the Estate worker who told me he had managed to get the 4wd out only to pull into a layby to let another vehicle pass and ended up in the ditch ! Not so good :shock:

I took shelter from the rain and wind in the small Honesty Shop, what a blessing, equipped with kettle for hot drinks, also available (although not needed), cold drinks, snacks and memorabilia. I put a few quid in the box as a thanks for the shelter on what was now turning out to be a wild day.

I donned crampons once again for the walk out, although the road had now been thrown a few spades full of grit here and there it was still too difficult to walk on. The previously ice covered loch, now looked like the tide was coming in, the ice broken apart with the wind driven waves.

WH15.jpg


Crampons on ice and tarmac.

WH16.jpg


It was heavy going, but soon came upon the stranded 4wd, only a hundred yards from where we had tried to extricate it earlier, the trailer visible beyond. Could have been me :(

WH17.jpg


All in all, it seemed a long day for now gain, but it wasn’t for no gain. It had been a useful recce, and a day in the wilderness, but I will return and get my pristine blue sky winters day, but not yet.
Last shot from Elphin on route home, teasing me with a clear summit, but not for long

WH19.jpg
User avatar
spiderwebb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1392
Munros:74   Corbetts:15
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Hewitts:109
Wainwrights:68   
Joined: May 18, 2011
Location: Miltonduff, Elgin

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:01 pm

Suliven ain't going anywhere Spider, you'll get that of your bucket list I've no doubt.its on mine also along with a wild camp at Sandwood Bay
User avatar
gammy leg walker
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2978
Munros:204   Corbetts:7
Grahams:3   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Jan 30, 2010
Location: Central Region

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby ancancha » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:22 pm

Even 4x4s have their limitations, though it is easy to get the feeling of invincibility as they make such a difference 8)
Sorry it didn't work out for you this time Spiders Web, but at least no bashes in you or your transport. You live to walk another day :wink:
User avatar
ancancha
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 927
Munros:84   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   Donalds:1
Joined: Jun 30, 2014
Location: Killadysert

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:03 pm

Nice wee report Dave. There will be another day. If its any consolation, I saw nowt from the top of this one but it sure is a majestic beast!
User avatar
Borderhugh
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 294
Munros:281   Corbetts:17
Grahams:13   Donalds:18
Sub 2000:12   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Feb 4, 2012
Location: Stirling :)

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:22 pm

Excellent adventuring, but you'll have to go back for the view... its the best on the planet*!



*Other views are available
User avatar
Mal Grey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2078
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:112
Wainwrights:65   
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, too far south for much hillwalking, so probably in a canoe!

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:29 pm

Suilven looking impressive in white. I got turned back on the ridge once due to wind. I can only suggest save it for a wall to wall sunshine day. It is a shame to visit it in the clag. Dare I say it is not a baggers mountain. :D

Try these for the car. I got a pair a few years ago. They are made of a Kevlar type substance and far simpler than chains. I have found them invaluable.
https://www.roofbox.co.uk/car-snow-socks/
User avatar
Sunset tripper
 
Posts: 1129
Joined: Nov 3, 2013
Location: Inverness

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby spiderwebb » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:54 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Suliven ain't going anywhere Spider, you'll get that of your bucket list I've no <span class="skimlinks-unlinked">doubt.its</span> on mine also along with a wild camp at Sandwood Bay


Definitely Willie, took a chance it might turn out ok, but time lost etc. Being unable to drive in cost another half hour, but good to get out and close to it, looks stunning close up :D

ancancha wrote:Even 4x4s have their limitations, though it is easy to get the feeling of invincibility as they make such a difference 8)
Sorry it didn't work out for you this time Spiders Web, but at least no bashes in you or your transport. You live to walk another day :wink:


Yes :lol: all unscathed. Must confess that the old Freelander was brilliant, with winter tyres, driving on snow was as easy as any other driving, BUT, on ice forget it, 4 wheels slide just as well as 2 :D


Borderhugh wrote:Nice wee report Dave. There will be another day. If its any consolation, I saw nowt from the top of this one but it sure is a majestic beast!


It happens, but what a hill :D

Mal Grey wrote:Excellent adventuring, but you'll have to go back for the view... its the best on the planet*!



*Other views are available


Of that I'm sure, and a return will be forthcoming and with the better camera :D

Sunset tripper wrote:Suilven looking impressive in white. I got turned back on the ridge once due to wind. I can only suggest save it for a wall to wall sunshine day. It is a shame to visit it in the clag. Dare I say it is not a baggers mountain. :D

Try these for the car. I got a pair a few years ago. They are made of a Kevlar type substance and far simpler than chains. I have found them invaluable.
<span class="skimlinks-unlinked">https://www.roofbox.co.uk/car-snow-socks</span>/


Blue sky day would be good, its a photographers mountain, which put simply, means you've got to be able to see it, which to be fair I did and up close, but next time hopefully on top too :D
Heard of those socks before, and had a wee gander, but would they work in these conditions, it wasn't snow at all, it was ice, and all the worse as I suspect it was compacted snow, refroze, and very shiny, and I couldn't see anything making progress on it unless it had some penetrations such as studs or chains ? I had winter tyres on the front, although didn't expect them to make any difference on ice either.
User avatar
spiderwebb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1392
Munros:74   Corbetts:15
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Hewitts:109
Wainwrights:68   
Joined: May 18, 2011
Location: Miltonduff, Elgin

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby jonny616 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:45 pm

The 4WD,s number plate is an anagram of Slippy :lol:
User avatar
jonny616
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1514
Munros:250   Corbetts:12
Grahams:1   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:6   
Joined: Aug 19, 2009

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby spiderwebb » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:44 am

jonny616 wrote:The 4WD,s number plate is an anagram of Slippy :lol:


Brilliant, well spotted :lol: :lol: :lol:
User avatar
spiderwebb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1392
Munros:74   Corbetts:15
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Hewitts:109
Wainwrights:68   
Joined: May 18, 2011
Location: Miltonduff, Elgin

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby ancancha » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:50 am

spiderwebb wrote:
jonny616 wrote:The 4WD,s number plate is an anagram of Slippy :lol:


Brilliant, well spotted :lol: :lol: :lol:

:lol: :lol: :lol:
User avatar
ancancha
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 927
Munros:84   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   Donalds:1
Joined: Jun 30, 2014
Location: Killadysert

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:36 am

spiderwebb wrote:Heard of those socks before, and had a wee gander, but would they work in these conditions, it wasn't snow at all, it was ice, and all the worse as I suspect it was compacted snow, refroze, and very shiny, and I couldn't see anything making progress on it unless it had some penetrations such as studs or chains ? I had winter tyres on the front, although didn't expect them to make any difference on ice either.


They claim to be better than chains on ice. I have used them successfully on ice but not sure if the conditions were as bad as you had. I know the bit of road you mean where the water sometimes comes over the road.
They are accepted now in France in the mountains instead of chains where it states chains are compulsory.
Chains are obviously harder wearing but interfere with some ABS and traction control systems apparently.

For around about £50 and easy to fit they are worth sticking in the boot and giving a try.
All the best. :D
User avatar
Sunset tripper
 
Posts: 1129
Joined: Nov 3, 2013
Location: Inverness

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby The Rodmiester » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:53 am

Excellent stuff there Dave, don't think I'd have tried that drive up the track. Ah well nothing for it a return journey awaits and no doubt a visit to the pie shop as well :lol:
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 3283
Munros:103   Corbetts:172
Grahams:43   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:55   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Carnoustie

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby pollyh33 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:36 pm

Bummer Dave :( :( :( :(

Keep your return visit for a day when there are some mad Weegies ( a even madder languisher!) on the loose :roll: :roll: :roll:

XXX
User avatar
pollyh33
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2553
Munros:282   Corbetts:12
Grahams:4   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Location: Rutherglen

Re: Suilven On Ice

Postby spiderwebb » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:42 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:
spiderwebb wrote:Heard of those socks before, and had a wee gander, but would they work in these conditions, it wasn't snow at all, it was ice, and all the worse as I suspect it was compacted snow, refroze, and very shiny, and I couldn't see anything making progress on it unless it had some penetrations such as studs or chains ? I had winter tyres on the front, although didn't expect them to make any difference on ice either.


They claim to be better than chains on ice. I have used them successfully on ice but not sure if the conditions were as bad as you had. I know the bit of road you mean where the water sometimes comes over the road.
They are accepted now in France in the mountains instead of chains where it states chains are compulsory.
Chains are obviously harder wearing but interfere with some ABS and traction control systems apparently.

For around about £50 and easy to fit they are worth sticking in the boot and giving a try.
All the best. :D


Cheers Sunset Tripper, I've been browsing them, Autosocks seem to be the favourite ?? Halfords do them, but mixed reviews. By the time I make up my mind I won't need them, but far point re the price, not a lot for piece of mind in the boot :D

The Rodmiester wrote:Excellent stuff there Dave, don't think I'd have tried that drive up the track. Ah well nothing for it a return journey awaits and no doubt a visit to the pie shop as well :lol:


Thanks Rod, the thought of needing crampons along the road now, I wouldn't have even tried with the car :lol:

pollyh33 wrote:Bummer Dave :( :( :( :(
Keep your return visit for a day when there are some mad Weegies ( a even madder languisher!) on the loose :roll: :roll: :roll:
XXX


:lol: :lol: Mad but gorgeous :D depends how long a wait ?? The languisher is always keeping me on me toes, I need to apply the same in reverse, as she's a bit behind with a walk report or two :wink: :wink:
User avatar
spiderwebb
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1392
Munros:74   Corbetts:15
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Hewitts:109
Wainwrights:68   
Joined: May 18, 2011
Location: Miltonduff, Elgin

6 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Joyce skinner, Riise04, Rover20 and 64 guests


Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information on the forum and in walk reports is provided by individual users. It is each walker's responsibility to check information and navigate using a map and compass.