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Achmelvich, Suileag and Suilven: New Year jackpot

Achmelvich, Suileag and Suilven: New Year jackpot


Postby malky_c » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:18 am

Grahams included on this walk: Suilven

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Meall an Fheadain

Date walked: 06/01/2019

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 25.5 km

Ascent: 1175m

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Grahams: Suilven.
Sub 2k Marilyns: Meall an Fheadain
Date: 04/01/2018 - 06/01/2019.
Distance: 25.5 km.
Ascent: 1175m.
Time taken: 7 hours.
Weather: Mild and overcast, getting cooler and sunnier.

Link to part 1
After leaving the Forest Way bunkhouse, we headed for Ullapool for a few provisions, then onto Lochinver for lunch at the pie shop. In fact we had intended that to be the focal point of the day, followed by the walk-in to Suileag bothy.

The pies certainly were one of the highlights, and while looking through the weather forecast, we decided that tonight might also be good for camping. So we opted for that instead.

Friday 4th January: Achmelvich beach. distance/ascent - absolutely nothing!. Dry and overcast.

While wandering back to the car in Lochinver, I wondered if camping would actually be that pleasant - it wasn't especially cold, but it was overcast and there was a bit of a breeze coming in from the sea. We drove round to Achmelvich and put on a few more layers of clothing before finding a secluded spot on the machair above the beach. In fact it was pretty much exactly 6 months since we had last camped here on our first excursion to the hills together :) .

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Achmelvich beach

After putting the tent up, we went for a bit of a stroll, although neither of us were inclined to go for a new year's swim :lol: . Probably should have done as it is rarely as mild at this time of the year.

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Camping spot

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Achmelvich

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Not what you’d expect for early January

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Suilven peeking out

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The hidden smaller bay at Achmelvich

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Beach

It certainly wasn't as pleasant as our previous camp here, but with plenty of clothes on plus our sleeping bags, we were able to sit out on the grass next to the tent until quite late. As a bonus, when we took the tent down the following morning, it was completely dry!

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Another cup of tea…

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Beach again the following morning

Saturday dawned overcast but dry and mild again, and we planned a little more exertion today. Following another visit to the pie shop to pick up pies to take home (almost the main purpose of our entire new year trip, possibly :lol: ), we drove round to Glencanisp Lodge.

Saturday 5th January: Walk-in to Suileag, plus Suilven 16km, 850m ascent, 4 hours. Dry, overcast and breezy.

Today's plan was to walk to Suileag bothy, with enough daylight remaining for a bit of a walk without the heavy packs. I had initially been keen on the western ridge of Canisp - this looks good on the map and Jackie confirmed that she had enjoyed it last time she stayed at Suileag. Jackie was still avoiding proper hills, so was planning a walk up to Loch na Gainimh However the weather was a bit uninspiring and we left the car later than intended, so we decided to make our minds up at the bothy.


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



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Suilven from near Glencanisp Lodge

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Suilven

The walk in was easy enough, although with 10kg of coal again, the surprise steep ascent about 2/3 of the way in was a rather short grind! We reached the bothy shortly after midday and sat down for a cup of tea and some lunch.

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Canisp from the walk-in

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Approaching Suileag

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Not a bad view from the window...

We decided to head out together to Loch na Gainimh. I was now thinking that a quick wander up towards Loch a' Choire Dhuibh to find some scenic outcrops with good views from was probably as much as I'd manage today - Canisp seemed a bit far away.

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Approaching Suilven

I left Jackie near Loch na Gainimh and zoomed off up the new path towards Suilven. Once at the loch, I decided that better views might be had from higher up - I could just head up towards the col on the Suilven ridge for a little bit....

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Canisp and Loch na Gainimh

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Suilven from Loch a’ Choire Dhuibh

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Quinaig

20 minutes later I found myself on the col - it was much closer than I'd expected. The clag had also cleared and there was even the odd hint of blue sky around - suppose I may as well go to the top then :lol: . Heavy rain was due to come in just before sunset, but I was up here way quicker than I imagined possible. The light was no match for our summit camp up here 6 months ago, but Suilven on a clear day in the Christmas/New Year holidays - still pretty good!

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On the summit ridge at the col

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Stac Pollaidh and Beinn Mor Coigach

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Blue sky and the view west over Stoer

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East along the summit ridge

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Lochinver

I didn't hang around much this time, and retreated down the ridge at double speed. Then new path made the descent quick, and I was back at the bothy in a little over an hour from the summit. Fair to say Jackie was a bit jealous, having spotted me on the summit!

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Quinaig

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Meall Mheadhonach

Another good bothy night with a roaring fire followed, and mindful of the long drive home tomorrow (for Jackie at least - back to Glasgow), we went to bed at a fairly sensible time.

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Suileag bothy night

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Suileag bothy night

Before walking out to the car the following morning, we climbed the small hill immediately behind the bothy. Jackie had found this yesterday while I was on Suilven and decided it would make a good place to watch sunrise from. At this time of the year we were even able to have a lie-in before going out for sunrise 8) .

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Suilven first thing in the morning

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Pre-sunrise

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Suilven

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Sun coming up

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Canisp

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Sun a little higher...

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Quinaig from above Suileag

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Suilven and sunrise

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Canisp

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Suileag and Canisp

While the best of the sunrise was obscured by cloud and the ridge of Suilven, it was still lovely to watch, and the final day of our trip looked as if it would be good 8) .

Sunday 6th January: Walk-out from Suileag, plus Meall an Fheadain 5 + 4.5km, 150 + 175m ascent, 4 hour, 10 minutes + 1 hour, 50 minutes. Cool, calm and sunny.

An easy walk out from the bothy was followed by a scenic drive around the coast to Altandhu.

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Stags on the horizon

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On the walk-out

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Suilven reflections

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Canisp and Suilven from Loch Druim Suardalain

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Sheepy stopoff

Jackie had briefly considered a re-visit to Stac Pollaidh, but decided that might upset her injury again, so I suggested Meall an Fheadain instead. A fraction of the effort but with views to match Stac Pollaidh, it seemed like a good bet. We parked at the foot of the service road up to the mast and wandered up.


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


ImageService road to the mast

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Altandhu

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Cul Mor, Stac Pollaidh and Cul Beag

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Quinaig and Suilven with Assynt behind

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Meall Dearg and Isle Ristol

The views from the summit are excellent - way better than last time I visited. We decided to head south to a small summit that overlooked the Summer Isles directly - perfect! A good 20 minutes were wasted sitting here. We decided to complete the circuit by dropping down through deep heather (had to get some in somewhere :lol: ) to the road then strolling back to the car. To make things even better, Assynt and Coigach appeared to be in a small bubble of good weather, with eerie cloud encroaching from the south.

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Summer Isles

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Achiltibuie and Sail Mor

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Summit of Meall an Fheadain from the south

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Quinaig and Suilven

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Tanera Beag

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Tanera Mor and other Summer Isles

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Dornie and northern Summer Isles

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Beinn Mor Coigach

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Inverpolly from Meall an Fheadain

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Loch a’ Mheallain and Reiff

We stopped on the shore at Polbain to brew up a last cup of tea before hitting the road back to Inverness. That's how all New Years should be (although a little snow wouldn't have gone amiss :wink: )

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Beinn Mor Coigach from Polbain

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Sail Mor and Dundonnell from Polbain

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Tanera Mor from Polbain
User avatar
malky_c
 
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Re: Achmelvich, Suileag and Suilven: New Year jackpot

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:11 pm

You hit the jackpot right in the middle! :D

I'm tempted to try your route up Suilven. We did it from Inverkirkaig (which I thought was more scenic) but this looks just as interesting. One trip is definitely not enough to explore Suilven properly, so maybe this spring... :wink:
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BlackPanther
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Re: Achmelvich, Suileag and Suilven: New Year jackpot

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:02 pm

I keep saying it, but I just MUST get up to Assynt. If it's even a quarter as good as the pics, it has to be marvellous!

A pic of Suilven was what got me back into hill walking a decade or so ago, yet I've still not been anywhere near it... :roll:

How does any reasonable human being lug 10 kg of coal that far.........?????
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Alteknacker
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Re: Achmelvich, Suileag and Suilven: New Year jackpot

Postby Jaxter » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:41 pm

Alteknacker wrote:I keep saying it, but I just MUST get up to Assynt. If it's even a quarter as good as the pics, it has to be marvellous!

A pic of Suilven was what got me back into hill walking a decade or so ago, yet I've still not been anywhere near it... :roll:

How does any reasonable human being lug 10 kg of coal that far.........?????

He carried in close to 20k into Lochivraon :shock: :lol:
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Jaxter
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