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A 'Good Friday' on Suilven

A 'Good Friday' on Suilven


Postby callumw93 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:57 pm

Route description: Suilven

Fionas included on this walk: Suilven

Date walked: 19/04/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 21.5 km

Ascent: 899m

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My Nan has the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your feelings on living in an area over ninety miles from the nearest large city) of living in Assynt, and, on those rare days when the air is not filled with rain, gales or midges, has a veranda which stares out to Suilven. From this direction (or anywhere else in Lochinver) the mountain looks an impossible climb, steep on all sides and so very different to the craggy mountains elsewhere in Assynt. From the car park it seems like it's facing out to sea, a sugar loaf with the smallest hint of the ridge behind.

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The other notable trait about Suilven is that wherever you see it from (Lochinver, Elphin, Little Assynt, Inverkirkaig) it always seem distant - on a map it appears to be put in the most remote corner of Assynt possible. And it always looks considerably higher than it is, perhaps because it rises out of rough but flat moorland in all directions.

After a week of cloudy but dry weather, the sun emerged out on Friday. Suilven is clearly visible from the start, although it still appeared that it would take a full day of hiking to reach the base! The first half mile I'd done a few times on the River Inver / Glencanisp circuit (a great low level walk - would recommend) - then we passed a sign I'd seen a few times before - well at least we were heading in the right direction!

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The path across Assynt is undulating but easy going, wide and wild. We followed the edge of a couple of lochans, then past the Suileag bothy, then appeared to be heading past Suilven itself! Instead of the dome, we were treated to a side view of it's rocky ridge. An obvious cairn and side path then indicated we had to approach...

There's an exhibition about how they repaired the path approaching Suilven at Glencanisp, and the determination and effort involved seems similar to a moon landing mission. And entirely worth it! The ruins of bog adjacent indicated this used to be an unpleasant stretch, but now a pleasant path carried us all the way to the base. Suddenly Suilven loomed, looking as impossible as it did from four miles away.

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As everyone else has noted, there is a path heading up there, and although it's steep it's not a real scramble, just a climb. The hazy views across to Quinag opened up quickly, although they were nothing compared to emerging on the ridge. Like climbing over a parapet, suddenly Stac Polly, Cul Mor, Cul Beag et.al. appeared as well, standing astride the haze.

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The climb up to the domed summit required a couple of easy scrambles but it wasn't particularly exposed, although the views remained incredible in all directions. Then suddenly we were at the cairn!

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The weather was so calm and warm for April. Not a breath of wind, sitting down just west of the summit was no different to having a picnic in the park. Except, of course, for the vista of water and rock in all directions. One of the specs of white near Lochinver village was Nanny's bungalow ; on seeing that I had reception I rang her house phone I instructed her to go out to her balcony and wave. Discerning a person-sized spot was, perhaps, a little optimistic (as the crow files it must be seven miles), but we waved enthusiastically and she informed us she could see us!

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The return was by the same route. Coming off the mountain wasn't too tricky, although there were a couple of skids on the path. The principal feeling on the return walk was thirst, it was about 20C and we'd packed too little water. 90 minutes or so later we reached the tuck shop and downed cans of Irn-Bru - more walks need tuck shops at the end! A gentle last few hundred metres back to car were spent in thoughts of achievement, the dome has been ascended!

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What an incredible mountain in approach, ascent and views - surely the finest Graham or similarly sized lump of rock in the British Isles!
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Last edited by callumw93 on Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
callumw93
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Re: A 'Good Friday' on Suilven

Postby Marty_JG » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:38 am

What an incredible mountain in approach, ascent and views - surely the finest Corbett or similarly sized lump of rock in the British Isles!


Well, it's certainly the smallest Corbett in Britain... 8)
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Re: A 'Good Friday' on Suilven

Postby callumw93 » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:22 am

Marty_JG wrote:
What an incredible mountain in approach, ascent and views - surely the finest Corbett or similarly sized lump of rock in the British Isles!


Well, it's certainly the smallest Corbett in Britain... 8)


:shock: Oops! Should have corrected that!
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Re: A 'Good Friday' on Suilven

Postby Sgurr » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:29 am

I climbed it as my penultimate Graham and it has just as much wow factor as for someone doing it near the beginning of theirs. Though we were old and had to break it with a camp in the Suileag Bothy. Nice report.Now I am trying to work out if I would swap my sea view for your nanny's. Sorry, no. She has too many midges for too much of the year.

Below, my view. Snag, no mountains

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