Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Suilven

Ever since I first laid eyes on a picture of Suilven I have been drawn to it, it’s iconic shape protruding from the ground like fin from a giant sleeping beast you would likely see in fantasy movie. This for me has been the mountain I have most wanted to climb in the UK.  Sadly being so far from home it has taken me a long time to be able to realise that wish. So did it live up to my expectations the answer is yes and no both of these due to the same reason the weather conditions, YES because due to dark overcast skies it created a brooding atmosphere which matched it’s mystical shape and when sat on top having some lunch the clouds parted to give glimpses of the views on offer and NO because of the dark overcast skies which meant I only got glimpses of the views on offer.

First glimpse of Suilven
We set off from Kirkaig and headed to the Falls along the well-trodden path, the rain was coming down at this point and I was thinking my long awaited Suilven walk would be a wash out, thankfully this was not the case and the rain eased as we approached the Falls. The waterfall itself has spectacular 20m drop with the water crashing down into the dark pool below. We then set off on the path to reach Suilven’s southern slope, this was a long and very boggy walk around the shore line of Fionn Loch, we came across a perfect wild camp spot right next to a small stony ‘beach’ in fact someone had the same idea as a tent was already pitched there but no one was around. We continued on the boggy path, I knew this would be the case so I had purchased some Paramo Cascada 2 trousers and I have to same they worked a treat very comfortable and I stayed nice and dry in side, despite slipping on the wet ground and landing in black peaty smelly bog! Mitch who also took a tumble commented that it was like walking on grease, I can’t think of a better explanation.

Two grumpy men
Falls of Kirkaig

Boggy Path to Suilven


Clouds part to reveal Suilven

Even boggier path


Stac Pollaidh in distance



A cairn marked the point where the path splits and we forked left and headed up towards the southern slope of Suilven. The rain then decided to hit us again and with that the cloud came in and engulfed us the temperature dropped rapidly as we started our ascent, I was thinking we had timed this very badly but just as we approached Bealach Mor the rain stopped, then when we emerged on the Bealach and started our final push to the summit the clouds parted to give us a glimpse of the Eastern ridge of Suilven, fantastic! By the time we had reached the top the cloud had returned. The strong wind was coming straight off the coast to the west and was very cold so we dropped back down and sat and eat our lunch. After this we started to head back down to the Bealach as we were negotiating the slippery rocks the clouds parted again, this time affording further clearer views. After taking plenty of photos we eventually started our descent down the northern slope. We then picked up the stalkers path which was a godsend after a further short boggy walk we then followed this back to Lochinver, but I managed a few snaps of Suilven with the summit cloud free from a distance before it disappeared out of view.  

Getting close

At the foot of the climb

The path on south side



Wet and windy summit





North route down


Looking back




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