Canisp is sometimes considered as the least attractive of the Assynt siblings. Not as iconic as Suilven, no caves en route like Braebag, no multi-topped ridges like Quinag. Even the shape of the mountain is rather "normal", no odd rocky outcrops or giant ravines. Nevertheless, it is still an intriguing mountain by my standards. Its biggest advantage is location, right in the middle of the moonlike landscape of Assynt, with all the mountains mentioned above in close proximity. On a good day, views are extensive and very impressive, too!
Our first visit to Canisp was in September 2008. We had a superb shorter day in sunny conditions, with great views. 10 years have passed and the mountain didn't change. It's just us who aged... Well, we might have more wrinkles but we still feel like hillwalking, especially in Assynt, where everything is a bit bizarre
Canisp in 2008...
Our route was a slightly modified option of the usual eastern approach, we hoped for some interesting views from near the little lochan below Meall Diamhain, but sadly it started raining before we got there, so our detour didn't result in any extra photos
Weather forecast was for rain in the afternoon, but we hoped for a dry window in the morning and off we went... to the weird world of Assynt!
The walk starts from a rough layby near Loch Awe, it fits 4-5 cars. Plenty of space when we arrived.
Getting ready for the initial wet trudge:
The day was dull and honestly, I was surprised to see other walkers (groups both in front and behind us) also climbing this hill. It looks like we're not the only mountain addicts
Dull it was, though dry to start with. Looking NE towards Conival:
The initial path is wet and requires some bog hopping abilities, but once the slopes begin to raise towards the summit, the ground becomes drier and more stony. At some point we even encountered a small version of Stob Ban slabs:
Not as smooth as the ones in the Fisherfields, but I couldn't resist a pose here:
Cul Mor and Stac Pollaidh:
Up the rocky ridge:
Quinag very moody:
The main path follows the southern edge of the wide ridge, but we thought we'd leave that for the descent and climbed up the edge of Coire nam Mang. our line of ascent is visible right behind me. What am I pointing at? Will be revealed in the next photo!
Yes, my eyes are still sharp, I spotted a distant stag! I hope it was just resting - or hiding from stalkers!
Suilven is not visible until near the summit. Here is a snap from our 2008 visit (taken from the main path about 100m below the summit of Canisp), much better conditions and good light for photos:
Back to today...
Looking down the ascent route:
Our line of ascent was pathless but easy, some scree but nothing too annoying:
On the summit with Lucy (her 78th Corbett):
Patchy cloud drifted around the summit area and photos came out even duller. The best views are of course west and north-west. Suilvan is the main feature, also the inaccessible Loch na Gainmh:
The western cliffs are very steep and when looking down, the landscape gives the impression of an aerial photo. Shame about the gray atmosphere:
Kevin amongst the rocks:
A few quick panoramas, taken just before the rain arrived:
...and that's how it looks when the sun is shining...
East to Braebag/Conival/BMA ridge:
Back to the gray reality...
Right, enough rubbing it in! Not every day in Scotland is bright and dry...
As we sat on the summit, the group from behind us arrived as well. I was glad to recognize two fellow Walkhighlanders, Dave and Allan, we met on previous WH meets So of course, there was a lot of chatting, mostly about the upcoming November meet. Ah, small world. But of course, weather (as per usual in Scotland!!!) was against us, it started raining, first it was just a drizzle but soon it became heavier. We left the summit first, dressed in waterproofs, but instead of following the shortest way down the mountain, we took a small detour down the Meallan Diamhain shoulder. We hoped, maybe the rain would stop and we'd get some interesting pictures of the little loch just below the cliffs of Coire nam Mang as well as the intriguing rocky gorge of Alt Mhic Mhurchaidh Gheir, but sadly, the rain never stopped. it followed us all the way down to the car park, so we promised ourselves that we will return to this mountain once again some time, just to explore it in drier conditions
A couple of pictures of the rocky gorge taken on our first visit in 2008:
A staircase waterfall:
Canisp might not be as strange as its neighbours, but it is still a lovely hiss and should not be overlooked if you happen to be in the area
I heard that the upcoming weekend will have at least one sunny day, so expect another story from me soon. Maybe even a new Munro. Fingers crossed
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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.