I needed to place collectively a quick information to climbing Suilven in Scotland as this can be a very fashionable hill stroll within the northern Scottish Highlands. The hike will be executed by yourself or with an skilled native information, and I only recently got here again from doing this hike.
Should you’ve learn our content material on Scotland, and the North Coast 500 street journey particularly, you’ve in all probability seen photographs of an exquisite 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 seems.
The steep sides and twin peaks give it an imposing look, and till you get shut up, it seems to be virtually unassailable for anybody with out climbing gear.
It’s nevertheless undoubtedly a mountain that may be climbed by any hiker with reasonable health and a sturdy pair of climbing boots. That stated, the ultimate ascent to the highest is unquestionably a steep climb that may check your leg muscle tissues!
Nevertheless, earlier than I get into our private expertise climbing Suilven with Hamlet Mountaineering, I needed to share some basic tips about climbing Suilven. You possibly can, after all, hike Suilven by yourself or you are able to do it with a information.
Learn how to Hike Suilven
Suilven is positioned within the northwestern Highlands of Scotland close to the city of Lochinver. It’s positioned throughout the Assynt space of Sutherland and is a part of the big North West Highlands GeoPark.
Suilven is 731 metres or 2,389 toes in top. This implies Suilven doesn’t qualify as a Munro if you’re a Munro-bagger as Munros are categorized as mountains over 3,000 toes in top.
Nevertheless, regardless of its lack of Munro standing, it’s thought-about as among the finest day hikes in Scotland by many hikers and is a very fashionable 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 exterior Lochinver. There’s a small walkers automobile park on Canisp Street (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 need to stroll the half mile further from Lochinver itself the place there may be extra parking out there.
There are different choices for climbing Suilven, together with tackling it from the south aspect beginning at Inverkirkaig. You too can 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 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’re then properly 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 carpark simply exterior Lochinver it’s a 12.5 mile or 20 km spherical journey. Should you hike from Lochinver itself, add one other mile / 1.6 km to that stroll.
Should you 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 gorgeous Kirkaig Falls after which persevering with alongside a loch. This route can typically be boggy and tends to be the much less common possibility.
Lastly, in the event you do the total loop, together with Lochinver and Inverkirkaig, you’re round a 16 mile or 26km hike.
How lengthy do I have to hike Suilven?
The preferred possibility for climbing Suilven is as a day journey. That is normally executed from close to Lochinver (12.5 miles / 20 km spherical journey hike), and is a protracted day hike that takes most hikers between 7 to 10 hours. You’ll need 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 is just not so common and it may be boggy, it will probably 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.
Should you’re in search of in a single day lodging in your hike, Glencanisp Lodge was historically a preferred hiker pleasant possibility discovered on the path out, nevertheless that is being refurbished and isn’t because of reopen till Easter 2022 in line with the official web site. So that you’ll need to discover an alternative choice in Lochinver (examine listings right here).
Observe that for night meals at eating places in Lochinver, it’s typically greatest to e-book reservations prematurely.
If you’re doing the south aspect hike and canoe with Hamlet Mountaineering (as we did), you would possibly need to additionally take into account staying in or Ullapool as a substitute ( see lodging choices right here). We stayed within the properly rated Harbour Home in Ullapool earlier than our journey.
When is the perfect time of 12 months to hike Suilven?
We’d solely suggest doing this within the milder months until you’re a significantly skilled hiker or rent a information, as in winter the mountain might be icy. Your greatest guess is prone to be from April to October.
How match or skilled do I have to be to hike Suilven?
That is undoubtedly a protracted day hike with some steep sections in a distant a part of the world. You’ll undoubtedly need to be reasonably match. The trail is properly marked and simple to observe, however the climate circumstances can change dramatically, so it would be best to be absolutely ready for all circumstances.
You’ll additionally need to just be sure you let somebody know the place you’re going and once you anticipate to return, and don’t anticipate to get cellphone sign for many of the hike as there aren’t many cell cell towers on this a part of the world.
Once 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 got run into difficulties, which was undoubtedly good for peace of thoughts.
Does Suilven require any climbing experience?
The primary route from both aspect 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 in the event you plan on climbing Suilven in winter you’ll undoubtedly have to carry applicable tools.
Do I would like 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 will 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 be capable to method from the south aspect with out bringing a lot of our personal tools. This additionally allowed us to do the hike properly away from the crowds as comparatively few hikers method from this aspect.
What ought to I pack for climbing Suilven?
The primary issues you’ll need to carry will embrace:
The place can I discover guidebooks and assets for climbing Suilven?
You possibly can see a extra full climbing information for the climbing route from Lochinver on the Stroll Highlands website 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 certainly one of his want checklist 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 buddy of mine who lived in Scotland additionally was occupied with becoming a member of us.
As we have been doing this as a part of an extended journey, we determined that hiring a neighborhood knowledgeable to deal with all of the logistics of the journey was going to be loads simpler than doing it ourselves.
I selected to contact an organization referred to as Hamlet Mountaineering. That is run by a buddy of mine, Tim Hamlet. Tim affords a variety of customized climbing, climbing, canoeing, and kayaking journeys throughout this lovely a part of the world. On earlier excursions of Scotland we’ve executed 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 lot of lochs, tenting in a single day within the wilderness, and summiting Suilven. That sounded good to us, and we booked.
Per particular person, we every paid £275 for our journey (2020 costs which is once we booked) with Hamlet Mountaineering. That included all our meals, tenting tools, canoes, and many others. All we needed to carry was a sleeping bag and clothes. A full checklist of urged clothes was supplied properly prematurely 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 buddy, 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 wanted for our mini expedition. That included our clothes and sleeping baggage after all, but in addition 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 nice two hours of paddling from one finish of Loch Veyatie to the opposite. Regardless of visiting within the peak summer time 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 the whole lot arrange, we had a spot of lunch, which was undoubtedly an enchancment over the dried packaged meals I bear in mind from tenting journeys in my youth. The benefit of a canoe is that it will probably carry loads, and Tim definitely didn’t skimp on lunch, with the whole lot 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 (round 7km / 4 miles spherical journey), nevertheless it did definitely contain a really steep climb. Total, it took us round 4 hours in whole with plenty of stops for photographs.
Picture credit score Tim Hamlet
Picture credit score Tim Hamlet
The climate was not precisely preferrred, 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 virtually as laborious 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 a number of 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 vivid, and the solar even popped out for an hour or so to offer some great images alternatives. One in every of our occasion 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 recent 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.
Picture credit score Tim Hamlet
Picture credit score Tim Hamlet
Total we had a really incredible time with Tim, who went above and past to make sure everybody had an awesome expertise. We additionally obtained to climb a mountain I’ve been eager to summit for a very long time, and had plenty of enjoyable doing it!
Should you’re in search of an incredible out of doors expertise within the Scottish wilderness, maybe as a part of your North Coast 500 journey, then we undoubtedly suggest trying out Hamlet Mountaineering and seeing if Tim will help 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’ve got a lot of different posts which we predict you’ll 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.
- Should you’d like an itinerary for the North Coast 500, try our detailed 7 Day North Coast 500 tenting itinerary, 7 day North Coast 500 itinerary and 5 day North Coast 500 itinerary.
- We have now 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 tips about 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 the perfect 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’ve got a information to issues to do in Aberdeen, our favorite eating places in Aberdeen, a urged 2 day Aberdeen itinerary and a information to the greatest day journeys from Aberdeen.
- We have now a information to all our favorite whisky distilleries in Scotland, which additionally has plenty of data on how whisky is made, the totally different Scottish whisky areas, and extra.
- We have now a information to Outlander filming areas in Scotland, in addition to Harry Potter filming areas in Scotland.
- Should you’re considering of snowboarding in Scotland, see our full information to snowboarding in Scotland for all the knowledge you want
- Should you’re driving within the UK for the primary time, try my ideas for driving within the UK for some recommendation. We even have a information to how a lot it prices to journey within the UK.
- Should 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, in case 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 potential!