I needed to place collectively a short information to mountain climbing Suilven in Scotland as this can be a highly regarded hill stroll within the northern Scottish Highlands. The hike might be accomplished by yourself or with skilled native information, and I only recently got here again from doing this hike.
In the event, you’ve learned our content material on Scotland, and the North Coast 500 street journey, particularly, you’ve in all probability seen pictures of a stupendous twin-peaked mountain.
That mountain is Suilven, and it’s discovered simply south of Lochinver within the UNESCO listed North West Highlands Geopark. In part of the world that’s famed for its gorgeous landscapes and beautiful mountains, Suilven nonetheless manages to face out as an iconic mountain, largely due to the way in which it seems.
The steep sides and twin peaks give it an impressive look, and till you get shut up, it seems to be virtually unassailable for anybody without climbing gear.
It’s nevertheless positively a mountain that may be climbed by any hiker with reasonable health and a sturdy pair of mountain climbing boots. That mentioned the ultimate ascent to the highest is certainly a steep climb that may check your leg muscular tissues!
Nevertheless, earlier than I get into our private expertise climbing Suilven with Hamlet Mountaineering, I needed to share some normal recommendations on mountain climbing Suilven. You possibly can, after all, hike Suilven by yourself or you are able to do it with information.
The right way to Hike Suilven
Suilven is situated within the northwestern Highlands of Scotland close to the city of Lochinver. It’s situated inside the Assynt space of Sutherland and is a part of the big North West Highlands GeoPark.
Suilven is 731 meters or 2,389 ft in peak. This implies Suilven doesn’t qualify as a Munro in case you are a Munro-bagger as Munros are labeled as mountains over 3,000 ft in peak.
Nevertheless, regardless of its lack of Munro standing, it’s thought of among the finest day hikes in Scotland by many hikers and is a highly regarded mountain climbing vacation spot.
The place is the place to begin for the Suilven hike?
The commonest place to begin the place most hikers begin is simply outdoors Lochinver. There’s a small walker automobile park on Canisp Highway (right here on Google maps) which is on the street out to Glencanisp Lodge.
If this automobile park is full (it’s fairly small and sometimes full until you arrive early), you’ll stroll the half-mile additional from Lochinver itself the place there may be extra parking out there.
There are different choices for mountain climbing Suilven, together with tackling it from the south aspect beginning at Inverkirkaig. You may also do the longer “Suilven circuit” the place you begin in Lochinver or Inverkirkaig, ascend the north aspect, descend the south aspect and return through Lochinver or Inverkirkaig.
Alternatively, you possibly can kayak or canoe to close the bottom, beginning close to the village of Elphin and crossing Loch Veyatie. From the shores of Fionn Loch, you’re then effectively positioned to deal with the south aspect of the mountain. This was the choice we took for climbing Suilven.
How far is the Suilven hike?
From the automobile park simply outdoors Lochinver, it’s a 12.5 mile or 20 km spherical journey. In the event you hike from Lochinver itself, add one other mile / 1.6 km to that stroll.
In the event you select to do the Inverkirkaig model of the hike, that is around a 13 mile or 21 km spherical journey. This has you following the trail to the gorgeous Kirkaig Falls after which persevering alongside a loch. This route can generally be boggy and tends to be the much less fashionable choice.
Lastly, should you do the total loop, together with around a 16 mile or 26km hike?
How lengthy do I have to hike Suilven?
The preferred choice for mountain climbing Suilven is as a day journey. That is often accomplished from close to Lochinver (12.5 miles / 20 km spherical-journey hike) and is an extended day hike that takes most hikers between 7 to 10 hours. You’ll need to begin early in the day to make sure have sufficient time and ideally end in daylight.
The route from Inverkirkaig is roughly the identical distance, however as the trail will not be so fashionable and it may be boggy, it could take longer.
The finest place to remain earlier than or after Suilven hike?
Earlier than and after mountain climbing Suilven, we’d suggest staying in or close to the city of Lochinver.
In the event you’re in search of a single-day lodging in your hike, Glencanisp Lodge was historically a well-liked hiker-friendly choice discovered on the path out, nevertheless, that is being refurbished and isn’t because of reopening till Easter 2022 in response to the official web site. So that you’ll need to discover an alternative choice in Lochinver (test listings right here).
Observe that for night meals at eating places in Lochinver, it’s usually greatest to e-book reservations upfront.
In case you are doing the south aspect hike and canoe with Hamlet Mountaineering (as we did), you may need to additionally think about staying in Ullapool as an alternative ( see lodging choices right here). We stayed within the well-rated Harbour Home in Ullapool earlier than our journey.
When is one of the best times of 12 months to hike Suilven?
We’d solely suggest doing this within the milder months until you’re a notably skilled hiker or rent information, as in winter the mountain shall be icy. Your greatest wager is prone to be from April to October.
How match or skilled do I should be to hike Suilven?
That is positively an extended day hike with some steep sections in a distant part of the world. You’ll positively need to be reasonably matched. The trail is effectively marked and simple to observe, however, the climate situations can change dramatically, so it would be best to be absolutely ready for all situations.
You’ll additionally need to just be sure you let somebody know the place you’re going and if you count on to return and don’t count on to get a cellphone sign for a lot of the hike as there aren’t many cellular cell towers on this a part of the world.
After we hiked with Tim he had a full setup, from an emergency locator beacon by means of to a survival tent ought to we’ve run into difficulties, which was positively good for peace of thought.
Does Suilven require any climbing experience?
The primary route from both aspects doesn’t require climbing experience. Nevertheless, it may be a steep path in locations. In winter it is extremely prone to be icy, so should you plan on climbing Suilven in winter you’ll positively have to deliver applicable tools.
Do I want the information to hike Suilven?
No, you possibly can hike Suilven by yourself, or you are able to do it with information. Though given this can be a long full day hike in a distant space, we do suggest going with a mountain climbing buddy if doable.
Native guides will also be employed to help you with planning, guiding, and for your or her native experience. We went with information from Hamlet Mountaineering because it allowed us to have the ability to canoe, camp in a single day, and have the ability to strategy from the south aspect without bringing a lot of our personal tools. This additionally allowed us to do the hike effectively away from the crowds as comparatively few hikers strategy from this aspect.
What ought to I pack for mountain climbing Suilven?
The primary issues you’re going to need to deliver will embody:
The place can I discover guidebooks and assets for mountain climbing Suilven?
You possibly can see an extra full mountain climbing information for the mountain climbing route from Lochinver on the Stroll Highlands website right here. It’s additionally included in a number of Scottish mountain climbing guides together with this guidebook to Scotland’s greatest hill walks.
Our Expertise Climbing Suilven
My brother-in-law was visiting from the USA, and one in all his want listing objects for our journey across the UK was a mountain climbing and tenting journey someplace scenic. Naturally, the primary place that sprang to thoughts was the northwest coast of Scotland. A pal of mine who lived in Scotland additionally was excited about becoming a member of us.
As we had been doing this as a part of an extended journey, we determined that hiring an area professional to deal with all of the logistics of the journey was going to be lots simpler than doing it ourselves.
I selected to contact an organization known as Hamlet Mountaineering. That is run by a pal of mine, Tim Hamlet. Tim provides a variety of customized mountain climbing, climbing, canoeing, and kayaking journeys throughout this stunning part of the world. On earlier excursions of Scotland, we’ve accomplished some shorter day journeys with him, together with sea kayaking and loch canoeing.
I dropped Tim an e-mail and requested if he might put collectively an in a single day journey that concerned some mountain climbing, a picturesque mountain, and maybe some canoeing. He beneficial a two-day / one evening journey which included canoeing throughout a lot of lochs, tenting in a single day within the wilderness, and summiting Suilven. That sounded excellent to us, and we booked.
Per individual, we every paid £275 for our journey (2020 costs that are once we booked) with Hamlet Mountaineering. That included all our meals, tenting tools, canoes, and so forth. All we needed to deliver was a sleeping bag and clothes. A full listing of instructed clothes was offered effectively upfront of our journey.
The evening earlier than the mountain-climbing journey the three of us taking the journey all met and stayed in Ullapool on the Harbour Home lodge.
The journey itself began with a 9 am assembly in Elphin, only a 20-minute drive from the city of Ullapool the place we had spent the evening. Right here I launched Tim to my brother-in-law and pal, and we obtained to packing our gear into dry luggage and barrels for the primary part of the journey, a canoe throughout the loch.
As there have been 4 of us, we cut up into two canoes, which we loaded up with all of the gear we wanted for our mini-expedition. That included our clothes and sleeping luggage after all but in addition all of the meals, drinks, tents, sleeping mats, and so forth.
While we didn’t have maybe the sunniest of days, the rain and wind held off, and we had a pleasing two hours of paddling from one finish of Loch Veyatie to the opposite. Regardless of visiting within the peak summer season months, we solely noticed one different canoe on the Loch. It actually felt like we had this a part of Scotland to ourselves.
On the finish of the Loch, it narrowed to a shallow river, and right here we needed to hop out of the canoes and float them downstream for a stretch, earlier than reaching Fionn Loch.
Tim had a stunning spot earmarked for our campsite on the shores of Fionn Loch, and we set about placing our camp collectively. We every obtained a tent of our personal, after which there was a big communal kitchen tent to share. This is a short time that got here useful because the Scottish climate determined it was time for a sprinkle of rain.
As soon as we had every little thing arranged, we had a spot of lunch, which was positively an enhancement over the dried packaged meals I bear in mind from tenting journeys in my youth. The benefit of a canoe is that it could carry lots, and Tim actually didn’t skimp on lunch, with every little thing from domestically sourced cheeses to great meats which we put into tortilla wraps. This was all washed down with a pleasant cup of tea.
After lunch, we selected to courageous the considerably inclement climate and deal with the Suilven hike. On Tim’s journeys, there’s the choice to do the Suilven hike the next morning if the climate is trying higher, however as we needed to be in Edinburgh the next night for a particular time, we determined to do Suilven within the afternoon.
From our camp, it was a brief canoe to the opposite aspect of the Loch, after which we set off up the aspect of the mountain. Now, this wasn’t a very lengthy hike (around 7km / 4 miles spherical journey), nevertheless, it did actually contain a really steep climb. Total, it took us around 4 hours on whole with a lot of stops for pictures.
Picture credit score Tim HamletThe climate was not precisely excellent, with a good quantity of rain to maintain us cool as we climbed. Nevertheless, there have been breaks within the cloud cowl, which cleared sufficiently to supply us gorgeous views of the encircling panorama. Then it was time for the descent, which was virtually as arduous because the ascent gave the steep nature of the path.
Nonetheless, we made it safely again down the hill, the place the rain stopped. Again at camp, we loved a slice of cake and among the single malt whisky, we’d introduced alongside, earlier than settling into a night of chat and a mighty high-quality freshly cooked chili.
The next morning dawned vibrantly, and the solar even popped out for an hour or so to supply some great images alternatives. Considered one of our events even took a refreshing swim within the loch earlier than breakfast, which consisted of all of the freshly made pancakes we might eat, topped with recent fruit and butter.
Breakfast over, and needing to achieve Edinburgh by a sure time, we packed up camp and canoed again up the loch, largely within the sunshine, to finish our journey.
Total we had a very unbelievable time with Tim, who went above and past to make sure everybody had amazing expertise. We additionally obtained to climb a mountain I’ve been eager to summit for a very long time, and had numerously enjoyable doing it!
In the event you’re in search of tremendous doors expertise within the Scottish wilderness, maybe as a part of your North Coast 500 journey, then we positively suggest testing Hamlet Mountaineering and seeing if Tim will help you with a visit.
That’s it for a fast overview of mountain climbing Suilven and our journey report. That can assist you in additional planning your journey to Scotland, we have a lot of different posts which we predict you will discover useful or inspirational.
- For street journey inspiration within the space, try our detailed information to the North Coast 500. We even have a North Coast 500 Lodging Information, information to our favorite B&Bs on the North Coast 500 in addition to my images highlights on the North Coast 500 for some inspiration in your journey.
- In the event you’d like an itinerary for the North Coast 500, try our detailed 7 Day North Coast 500 tenting itinerary, 7 days North Coast 500 itinerary, and 5 days North Coast 500 itinerary.
- We now have information on Loch Ness in addition to a few of our different favorite day journeys from Inverness for some inspiration. We even have some detailed guides to different sights close to Inverness, together with information to the Black Isle and recommendations on visiting the Cairngorms
- We’ve obtained an itinerary for visiting Skye and the Highlands
- For Edinburgh, try our 2 day Edinburgh itinerary, our information to issues to do in Edinburgh, and our information to one of the best day journeys from Edinburgh to get you began. We even have information to get from London to Edinburgh.
- For Glasgow, see our Glasgow and Loch Lomond itinerary, our information to the greatest day journeys from Glasgow, and our information on issues to do in Glasgow
- For Aberdeen, we have information on issues to do in Aberdeen, our favorite eating places in Aberdeen, a instructed 2 day Aberdeen itinerary, and information on the greatest day journeys from Aberdeen.
- We now have information on all our favorite whisky distilleries in Scotland, which additionally has a lot of info on how whisky is made, the totally different Scottish whisky areas, and extra.
- We now have information on Outlander filming places in Scotland, in addition to Harry Potter filming places in Scotland.
- In the event you’re pondering about snowboarding in Scotland, see our full information on snowboarding in Scotland for all the data you want
- In the event you’re driving within the UK for the primary time, try my suggestions for driving within the UK for some recommendations. We even have information as to how a lot it prices to journey within the UK.
- In the event you’d like a guidebook in your time visiting Scotland, we suggest the Rick Steves’ Scotland information
We hope you loved this publish on experiencing Suilven. As at all times, when you have any questions or feedback on this publish, tell us within the feedback under and we’ll get again to you as quickly as doable!