I needed to place collectively a short information to climbing Suilven in Scotland as this can be a highly regarded hill stroll within the northern Scottish Highlands. The hike will be carried out by yourself or with an skilled native information, and I only recently got here again from doing this hike.
If you happen to’ve learn our content material on Scotland, and the North Coast 500 street journey specifically, you’ve in all probability seen photographs of a lovely 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 which is famed for its beautiful landscapes and beautiful mountains, Suilven nonetheless manages to face out as an iconic mountain, largely due to the way in which it appears to be like.
The steep sides and twin peaks give it an impressive look, and till you get shut up, it appears to be like to be nearly unassailable for anybody with out climbing gear.
It’s nevertheless positively a mountain that may be climbed by any hiker with average health and a sturdy pair of climbing boots. That mentioned, the ultimate ascent to the highest is unquestionably a steep climb that may check your leg muscle tissue!
Nevertheless, earlier than I get into our private expertise climbing Suilven with Hamlet Mountaineering, I needed to share some common recommendations on climbing Suilven. You may, after all, hike Suilven by yourself or you are able to do it with a information.
The best way to Hike Suilven
Suilven is positioned within the northwestern Highlands of Scotland close to the city of Lochinver. It’s positioned inside the Assynt space of Sutherland and is a part of the massive North West Highlands GeoPark.
Suilven is 731 metres or 2,389 ft in peak. This implies Suilven doesn’t qualify as a Munro if you’re a Munro-bagger as Munros are categorized as mountains over 3,000 ft in peak.
Nevertheless, regardless of its lack of Munro standing, it’s thought-about as among the best day hikes in Scotland by many hikers and is a highly regarded climbing vacation spot.
The place is the place to begin for the Suilven hike?
The most typical place to begin the place most hikers begin is simply exterior Lochinver. There’s a small walkers automotive park on Canisp Highway (right here on Google maps) which is on the street out to Glencanisp Lodge.
If this automotive park is full (it’s fairly small and sometimes full until you arrive early), you’ll need to stroll the half mile additional from Lochinver itself the place there may be extra parking accessible.
There are different choices for climbing Suilven, together with tackling it from the south facet beginning at Inverkirkaig. You may also do the longer “Suilven circuit” the place you begin in Lochinver or Inverkirkaig, ascend the north facet, descend the south facet and return by way of Lochinver or Inverkirkaig.
Alternatively, you may 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 might be then properly positioned to deal with the south facet of the mountain. This was the choice we took for climbing Suilven.
How far is the Suilven hike?
From the carpark simply exterior Lochinver it’s a 12.5 mile or 20 km spherical journey. If you happen to hike from Lochinver itself, add one other mile / 1.6 km to that stroll.
If you happen to select to do the Inverkirkaig model of the hike, that is round a 13 mile or 21 km spherical journey. This has you following the trail to the beautiful Kirkaig Falls after which persevering with alongside a loch. This route can typically be boggy and tends to be the much less widespread possibility.
Lastly, for those who do the complete loop, together with Lochinver and Inverkirkaig, you’re taking a look at round a 16 mile or 26km hike.
How lengthy do I must hike Suilven?
The preferred possibility for climbing Suilven is as a day journey. That is normally carried out 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 wish to begin early in 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 just isn’t so widespread and it may be boggy, it could possibly take longer.
Greatest place to remain earlier than or after Suilven hike?
Earlier than and after climbing Suilven, we’d suggest staying in or close to the city of Lochinver.
If you happen to’re on the lookout for in a single day lodging to your hike, Glencanisp Lodge was historically a well-liked hiker pleasant possibility discovered on the path out, nevertheless that is being refurbished and isn’t as a result of reopen till Easter 2022 based on the official web site. So that you’ll wish to discover another choice in Lochinver (verify listings right here).
Notice that for night meals at eating places in Lochinver, it’s typically greatest to e-book reservations upfront.
If you’re doing the south facet hike and canoe with Hamlet Mountaineering (as we did), you would possibly wish to additionally take into account staying in or Ullapool as an alternative ( see lodging choices right here). We stayed within the properly rated Harbour Home in Ullapool earlier than our journey.
When is one of the best time of yr to hike Suilven?
We’d solely suggest doing this within the milder months until you’re a notably skilled hiker or rent a information, as in winter the mountain will likely be icy. Your greatest guess 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 a part of the world. You’ll positively wish to be reasonably match. The trail is properly marked and straightforward to comply with, however the climate circumstances can change dramatically, so it would be best to be totally ready for all circumstances.
You’ll additionally wish to just remember to let somebody know the place you’re going and while you count on to return, and don’t count on to get cellphone sign for a lot of the hike as there aren’t many cell 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 have now run into difficulties, which was positively good for peace of thoughts.
Does Suilven require any climbing experience?
The principle route from both facet doesn’t require and climbing experience. Nevertheless, it may be a steep path in locations. In winter it is extremely prone to be icy, so for those who plan on climbing Suilven in winter you’ll positively must deliver applicable gear.
Do I want a information to hike Suilven?
No, you may hike Suilven by yourself, or you are able to do it with a information. Though given this can be a lengthy full day hike in a distant space, we do suggest going with a climbing buddy if potential.
Native guides may also be employed to help you with planning, guiding, and for his or her native experience. We went with a information from Hamlet Mountaineering because it allowed us to have the ability to canoe, camp in a single day, and have the ability to method from the south facet with out bringing a lot of our personal gear. This additionally allowed us to do the hike properly away from the crowds as comparatively few hikers method from this facet.
What ought to I pack for climbing Suilven?
The principle issues you’ll wish to deliver will embody:
The place can I discover guidebooks and assets for climbing Suilven?
You may see a extra full climbing information for the climbing route from Lochinver on the Stroll Highlands web site right here. It’s additionally included in a number of Scottish climbing guides together with this guidebook to Scotland’s greatest hill walks.
Our Expertise Mountaineering Suilven
My brother-in-law was visiting from the USA, and one in all his want record gadgets for our journey across the UK was a climbing and tenting journey someplace scenic. Naturally, the primary place that sprang to thoughts was the northwest coast of Scotland. A good friend of mine who lived in Scotland additionally was all in favour of becoming a member of us.
As we have been doing this as a part of an extended journey, we determined that hiring an area knowledgeable to deal with all of the logistics of the journey was going to be rather a lot simpler than doing it ourselves.
I selected to contact an organization referred to as Hamlet Mountaineering. That is run by a good friend of mine, Tim Hamlet. Tim affords a spread of customized climbing, climbing, canoeing, and kayaking journeys throughout this lovely a part of the world. On earlier excursions of Scotland we’ve carried out some shorter day journeys with him, together with sea kayaking and loch canoeing.
I dropped Tim an e-mail and requested if he may put collectively an in a single day journey which concerned some climbing, a picturesque mountain and maybe some canoeing. He really useful a two day / one night time journey which included canoeing throughout a variety of lochs, tenting in a single day within the wilderness, and summiting Suilven. That sounded excellent to us, and we booked.
Per particular person, we every paid £275 for our journey (2020 costs which is after we booked) with Hamlet Mountaineering. That included all our meals, tenting gear, canoes, and many others. All we needed to deliver was a sleeping bag and clothes. A full record of instructed clothes was supplied properly upfront of our journey.
The night time earlier than the 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 9am assembly in Elphin, only a 20 minute drive from the city of Ullapool the place we had spent the night time. Right here I launched Tim to my brother-in-law and good friend, and we obtained to packing our gear into dry baggage and barrels for the primary a part of the journey, a canoe throughout the loch.
As there have been 4 of us, we break up into two canoes, which we loaded up with all of the gear we would have liked for our mini expedition. That included our clothes and sleeping baggage after all, but additionally all of the meals, drinks, tents, sleeping mats, and many others.
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 down stream for a stretch, earlier than reaching Fionn Loch.
Tim had a beautiful 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 in a short time got here in useful because the Scottish climate determined it was time for a sprinkle of rain.
As soon as we had every part arrange, we had a spot of lunch, which was positively an enchancment over the dried packaged meals I keep in mind from tenting journeys in my youth. The benefit of a canoe is that it could possibly carry rather a lot, and Tim definitely didn’t skimp on lunch, with every part from regionally sourced cheeses to fantastic 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 selected time, we determined to do Suilven within the afternoon.
From our camp, it was a brief canoe to the opposite facet of the Loch, after which we set off up the facet of the mountain. Now, this wasn’t a very lengthy hike (round 7km / 4 miles spherical journey), however it did definitely contain a really steep climb. Total, it took us round 4 hours in complete with a lot of stops for photographs.
Photograph 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 sufficient to supply us beautiful views of the encircling panorama. Then it was time for the descent, which was nearly as onerous because the ascent given 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 chilli.
The next morning dawned shiny, and the solar even popped out for an hour or so to offer some fantastic images alternatives. Certainly one of our celebration even took a refreshing swim within the loch earlier than breakfast, which consisted of all of the freshly made pancakes we may eat, topped with contemporary fruit and butter.
Breakfast over, and needing to succeed in Edinburgh by a sure time, we packed up camp and canoed again up the loch, principally within the sunshine, to finish our journey.
Total we had a really unbelievable time with Tim, who went above and past to make sure everybody had an amazing expertise. We additionally obtained to climb a mountain I’ve been eager to summit for a very long time, and had a whole lot of enjoyable doing it!
If you happen to’re on the lookout for an incredible out of doors expertise within the Scottish wilderness, maybe as a part of your North Coast 500 journey, then we positively suggest trying out Hamlet Mountaineering and seeing if Tim can assist you with a visit.
That’s it for fast overview of climbing Suilven and our journey report. That will help you additional plan your journey to Scotland, we have now a variety of different posts which we predict one can find useful or inspirational.
- For street journey inspiration within the space, take a look at 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 to your journey.
- If you happen to’d like an itinerary for the North Coast 500, take a look at our detailed 7 Day North Coast 500 tenting itinerary, 7 day North Coast 500 itinerary and 5 day North Coast 500 itinerary.
- Now we have a information to 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 points of interest close to Inverness, together with a information to the Black Isle and recommendations on visiting the Cairngorms
- We’ve obtained an itinerary for visiting Skye and the Highlands
- For Edinburgh, take a look at 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 a information to getting 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 to issues to do in Glasgow
- For Aberdeen, we have now a information to issues to do in Aberdeen, our favorite eating places in Aberdeen, a instructed 2 day Aberdeen itinerary and a information to the greatest day journeys from Aberdeen.
- Now we have a information to 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.
- Now we have a information to Outlander filming areas in Scotland, in addition to Harry Potter filming areas in Scotland.
- If you happen to’re pondering of snowboarding in Scotland, see our full information to snowboarding in Scotland for all the knowledge you want
- If you happen to’re driving within the UK for the primary time, take a look at my suggestions for driving within the UK for some recommendation. We even have a information to how a lot it prices to journey within the UK.
- If you happen to’d like a guidebook to your time visiting Scotland, we suggest the Rick Steves’ Scotland information
We hope you loved this put up on experiencing Suilven. As all the time, when you’ve got any questions or feedback on this put up, tell us within the feedback beneath and we’ll get again to you as quickly as potential!