Our blog - Suilven, 26 Jul'18

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !


26 July 2018
A bespoke guided day to Suilven. John King was leading....

It was a glorious morning in the Northwest Highlands on Thursday as I met three generations of the Campbell family and their black Labrador, Meg, at Glencanisp Lodge for an ascent of Suilven. After a brief reprieve last weekend, the hot conditions were back in full force and, with the forecast predicting temperatures over 25C, sunscreen and water were the order of the day. Fortunately a moderate south-easterly breeze was blowing to keep things a little cool and it also kept the midges and the clegs at bay!

We set off past the lodge with great views towards Suilven and Canisp pulling us along. The whole area is buzzing with life at this time of year and shortly after the lodge a slow worm cut across our path. Further on we saw frogs and a golden-ringed dragonfly. Then an emperor moth caterpillar wriggled its way into the undergrowth right beside the path. These caterpillars are an amazing green colour and it was fascinating to watch the movement ripple through its body as it scuttled away.

As we headed away from the main track leading from Glencanisp and climbed up the path towards the hill itself it was impressive to see the extent of the path-work here since my last visit to Suilven back in May. Now a good path exists all the way across the moor to the base of the gully that leads onto the ridge. The days of cutting across swathes of eroded peat and hoping between boulders is a thing of the past!

Heading up the gully to the ridge the views opened up all around. Quinag looked particularly good to the north. We passed a team of three from Arran Footpaths working on an eroded section in the middle of the gully. They had a small speaker with them and were listening to some tunes as they worked, which made for a slightly surreal experience of climbing the hill to Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Sound of Silence’!!

Joanne decided that the hill wasn’t for her on the day, so, finding a comfortable spot with a commanding view and some snacks, she waited and took in the scene, while the rest of us carried on up. Gaining the ridge, the stunning views out over the vast ‘cnoc and lochan’ landscape of Coigach opened up in front of us, with the peaks of Wester Ross and Skye in the distance. Following the ridge up, we made good time to the top. Meg the dog showed that despite being 10 years old she still had the agility to leap up the few little rocky steps along the way.

Summit views don’t come much better than from Suilven so we took a few moments to enjoy the panorama before setting off back down to join Joanne. The descent went quickly, passing the workmen on the path once again, with less good music playing this time round, and then onto the new path lower down. We topped up our water bottles from the stream crossing the path at Loch a’ Choire Dubh and then made a steady walk back, stopping for a few photo opportunities along the way as the light was coming nicely onto the summits.

It was a hot walk out but enjoyable in the lovely weather and we had the prospect of ice creams at the Glencanisp Lodge Honesty Shop calling us back! An ideal finish to another super day on Suilven.

More photos by John are here on Flickr.

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