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Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp

By Ian Tupman   

on June 11, 2018    5/5 (2)

Posted as a walk in – Europe, Scotland, Ullapool and Assynt

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp

Further Details

Route Summary:

An out-and-return to the summit of Suilven, one of the most iconic mountains in Britain

Route Start Location: Parking area before Glencanisp Lodge

21.23 km 1217 m 6-8 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: 

Summits and Places on this Route


No toilets but the honesty shop at Glencanisp Lodge sells refreshments and some arts and crafts


The section of the route as it rises towards Loch a’ Choire Dhuibh is currently (June 2018) very boggy but it is planned to construct a proper path.

Between June and September, the Highland midge can really spoil your day if you are not well-protected. There are various products available but Smidge seems to be effective for most people

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : Not applicable

Limited parking is available at the end of the public road from Lochinver

Public Transport:

None to the start/finish of the route. There is no train service in the region and buses are few and far between. Check with https://www.travelinescotland.com .

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp

Suilven is one of the most instantly recognisable mountains in Britain. Although not even achieving Corbett status, its iconic profile draws thousands to it every year. There are two routes on to Suilven and this out and return route from Glencanisp is probably the most popular. Suilven is classified as one of the Grahams.

Suilven from Glencanisp Route Description

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp

The unmistakable profile of Suilven seen from Canisp

Start at the parking area at the end of the public road from Lochinver. There is an honesty box for donations to the Assynt Foundation which owns and manages the estate. Arrive early as space is limited and the road beyond the parking area is private.

Head east along the tarmac road towards Glencanisp Lodge, bear left and pass between the lodge and the outbuildings which house an honesty shop and the Assynt Foundation’s offices. Keep right and then take the track signed ‘Suilven’.

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp
The shop at Glencanisp Lodge

Continue along this rough track for approximately three kilometres where a path to the left leads a short distance to the Suileag bothy, a good place to shelter if caught in a downpour. Staying on the main track, continue south-eastwards and cross the Abhainn na Clach Airigh by the bridge. The track then climbs away from the river and turns south.

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp
The north face of Suilven from the bridge over the Abhainn na Clach Airigh

After approximately half a kilometre, take the pitched path on the right which rises away from the track. Numbered timber pegs indicate areas of past repair by the Assynt Foundation and the John Muir Trust. The path rises steadily and climbs up to a flat, boggy area. Find your way as best you can across this although at the time of writing, there are proposals to put in a good path for this section.

Continue towards Loch a’ Choire Dhuibh and follow the path around to the right and cross its outflow.

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp
Loch a’ Choire Dhuibh and the route to the summit in red

From the far side of the loch, head south-southeast across grassy terrain and pick up the path at the bottom of the gulley which rises to the dip in the main ridge. This is where the going gets tougher as the climb is steep and relentless until finally reaching the Bealach Mor.

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp
Ptarmigan on the ascent to Bealach Mor

The surprise view as you reach the col takes the breath away as you look across to Cul Mor, Stac Pollaidh and the mountains of Coigach.

From the bealach, head west-northwest along the ridge. Pass through the gap in the stone wall which straddles the ridge and continue to climb steadily. There are several rock steps to negotiate but if you have made it this far, you will have no problems traversing the ridge.

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp
The final ascent to the summit

After crossing another col, the final rise takes you onto the broad plateau of Caisteal Liath and the summit cairn at 731m. There are fine views back along the spine of Suilven to the east summit and the 360 degree panorama is worth taking some time to enjoy.

Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp
Looking back along the ridge to the east summit
Walk up Suilven from Glencanisp
The summit cairn at 731m

Rested, fed and watered you now need to reverse the route back to Glencanisp Lodge where refreshments are available in the honesty shop before the short walk back along the road to the car park.

Ian lives In Ardrossan and being only a fifty five minutes ferry crossing to Brodick, the Isle of Arran is his 'back yard'. He knows the mountains of the north of the island well and has walked every permutation of routes over the various summits. He is now spending more time further north exploring the Cairngorms, the far north-west and the mountains of the west of Scotland.

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