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Everything You Need to Know before Climbing Suilven Mountain

Everything You Need to Know before Climbing Suilven Mountain

Are you about to climb Suilven? Wait—before you lace up those hiking boots and set off, there’s a bit of prep work we’ve got to chat about. Suilven might not be Everest, but this mountain has a few tricks up its sleeve that you’ll want to be ready for.

From the best time to visit, what gear you should not forget and even the secret spots only we locals know about, consider this your insider guide. So read on, and let’s dive deep into everything you need to know before climbing Suilven Mountain.

What is the background and significance of Suilven?

What is the background and significance of Suilven

Nestled in the Assynt-Coigach area, Suilven is the result of millions of years of sculpting, courtesy of glaciers that sliced through the landscape during the last Ice Age. 

The name “Suilven” translates to “Pillar Mountain,” which is thought to come from the Old Norse, used by the Vikings who once navigated Scotland’s coasts. It stands at around 2,398 feet.

And let’s not forget those peaks—yes, Suilven proudly boasts a couple of them: Meall Meadhonach (the Middle Peak) and Caisteal Liath (the Grey Castle), which is the true summit.

When is the best time to climb Suilven?

The best time to climb Suilven Mountain is late spring through early autumn. We’re talking about that sweet spot from March through September.

This is when Scotland decides to play nice with the weather, giving you those longer daylight hours and somewhat drier trails.

Is Suilven a difficult climb?

Is Suilven a difficult climb

Suilven is hard to climb and considered challenging, though it might look like a mountain that’s come straight out of a climber’s tall tale. Don’t let its modest height fool you. 

The whole round-trip hike clocks in at about 20 kilometres, and it involves a pretty rugged landscape that leads to some steep

While you’re not exactly preparing to scale the likes of K2, this is not your leisurely Sunday hill walk, either, so you’ll want to pack some good boots and a can-do attitude.

Does Suilven require climbing expertise?

Does Suilven require climbing expertise

Climbing Suilven does require a bit of expertise, not necessarily in climbing but definitely in general fitness, stamina, and navigation. It’s a fairly steep ascent, and the journey can be quite a long one.

However, the breathtaking views from the top make every step worthwhile.

If you feel you’d rather tackle the mountain with someone who knows it like the back of their hand, guided tours are a great option! Hamlet Mountaineering and Mountain Magic offer guided walks up Suilven, helping you make the most of your adventure.

How to Climb Suilven

How to Climb Suilven

As you venture closer to the base of Suilven, the terrain becomes a bit more demanding—think rugged paths, boggy sections (so waterproof boots are a must!), and some steep, rocky ascents.

Despite the physical challenge, the path to Suilven is draped in the glory of the Scottish Highlands (trust me, the effort is well worth it). On a clear day, the vistas of the surrounding wilderness and lochs are unbeatable.

How to Get to Suilven

How to Get to Suilven
  • By Car. The most straightforward way is by car. Drive to Lochinver using the A835 and A837 from Inverness, and then head towards Glencanisp Lodge from Lochinver to find the parking area near Loch Druim Suardalain.
  • By Train. The nearest train station to Suilven is in Lairg, which is about 38 miles away from Lochinver, requiring a subsequent taxi or bus journey to reach the start of the Suilven trail.
  • By Bus. The bus service to Lochinver is infrequent but reliable. The Durness Bus (809) operates a service from Lairg to Lochinver on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only, so planning is crucial. 

Where to Stay Near Suilven

Inver Lodge Hotel

Address: Iolaire Rd, Lochinver, Lairg IV27 4LU, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 157-184-4496

Cost: £-££

Book now

The Inver Lodge is just a stone’s throw away from the base of Suilven, making it ideal whether you’re planning an early morning hike or a late afternoon expedition. And while you’re here, don’t forget to soak in the hotel’s idyllic setting and breathtaking views.

You’ll find here cosy rooms with WiFi and coffeemakers, and the cherry on top: a fancy onsite restaurant. But that’s not all; it’s pet-friendly too, so your furry friends can enjoy a holiday in the Highlands as well.

Pro Tip: Remember to book your room well in advance during the busy summer months to avoid disappointment, as rooms fill up in a flash.

Davar Guest House

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Address: Davar, Lochinver IV27 4LJ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 731 210 9549

Cost: £-££

Book now

Davar Guest House, nestled in the heart of Lochinver, is a mere hilly jaunt away, meaning you can hit the trail early to beat the crowds. Not only close to Suilven, but Davar also offers splendid views of Lochinver Bay to feast your eyes on.

The guest house offers three rooms and comes with standard amenities like free parking, free breakfast, WiFi, and ensuite bathrooms in all rooms, so you can relax and refresh after a long day out.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to ask for a room with a sea view for that extra bit of special magic during your stay. Also, make sure that you book your rooms directly on their website for the best rates and deals.

Suil na Mara

Address: Inver Lochinver Sutherland, Lochinver IV27 4LJ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 157 184 4535

Cost: £-££

Book now

Suil Na Mara is a self-catering accommodation that puts you right on the hill above Lochinver, a hop, skip, and jump away from Suilven.

The place has four cabins (small, home-like pods) equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and seating area. Here, you’ll have the freedom of an entire house, so you can take a day off from adventuring to just chill out.

Pro Tip: When self-catering, remember to pack some groceries or pick them up from the local shops in Lochinver. It’s also a pet-friendly joint, so no worries about leaving your pets behind.

The Altnacealgach Motel

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Address: Ledmore Jct, Lairg IV27 4HF, United Kingdom


Cost: £-££

Book now

The Altnacealgach Motel is tucked away in Ledmore, a bit more of a drive to Suilven, but well worth it. It offers self-catering cabins which is perfect if you prefer more space and amenities.

Boasting a laid-back vibe, it offers all the essentials for your stay, like spacious rooms, free parking, and even an established onsite restaurant to unwind in the evening. And for the cherry on top: stunning views over Loch Borralan.

Pro Tip: If a day of adventure has you craving some downtime, Altnacealgach Motel has got you covered. They offer white sandy beaches within easy reach, so you can enjoy a stroll along the coast and perhaps even dip your toes.

Harbour House

Address: Garve Rd, Ullapool IV26 2SX, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 185 461 2222

Cost: £-££

Book now

Harbour House in Ullapool is a nice detour spot if you fancy mingling with artists and music festivals. Granted, it’s a bit further away from Suilven, but trust me, the extra miles are worth it.

This place offers a variety of rooms and a shared lounge, and let’s not forget, it is a stone’s throw away from Ullapool’s seafront. This makes it a great place to combine your outdoor adventure with some good old Scottish hospitality.

Pro Tip: And if you’re here around August, make sure to check out the esteemed Ullapool Book Festival!

Where to Eat near Suilven

The Seafood Shack

Address: 9 W Argyle St, Ullapool IV26 2TY, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 7876 142623


Cost: £-££

The Seafood Shack in Ullapool has garnered fame for its fresh, locally sourced seafood that captures the essence of coastal Scotland. It’s a fair drive from Suilven Mountain, but after a day of hiking, trust me, the distance is worth it.

Their menu boasts a variety, including salads, Cullen skink, fresh oysters, and mussels. Favourites among regulars are their tempura haddock wrap and the shellfish platter—it’s like the sea’s bounty on a plate.

Pro Tip: They don’t take reservations, so it’s a first-come, first-served kind of deal. Remember to get there early or be prepared to join the queue—it’s worth the wait, though!

Lochinver Larder

Address: Main St, Lochinver, Lairg IV27 4JY, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 1571 844356


Cost: £-££

Lochinver Larder is practically around the corner from the mountain’s base. This homely pie shop offers everything, from meat pies to vegetable pies and fish pies.

Their best-selling pies include chicken and ham pie, chicken curry pie, and poached salmon pie. Then, you can pair it with any of their drinks, whether it’s tea, coffee, or beer.

Pro Tip: If you fancy taking food home, you can always check out their takeout menu or, even better, their Pies by Post section, where you can purchase their pies and store them at home.

Peet’s Restaurant

Address: Harbourside, Lochinver, Lairg IV27 4LE, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 1571 844085


Cost: £-££

Peet’s Restaurant, located comfortably on Lochinver’s harborside, is not just close to Suilven Mountain; it’s a blissful retreat for the famished explorer. 

The restaurant features a seasonal menu; however, you can always check out their sample menu, on which you’ll find a variety of seafood and pizza. They also have a menu for kids, so there is no need to worry about their food.

Pro Tip: Peet’s can fill up quickly, a testament to its popularity. So be savvy and book your table in advance, especially if you’re planning to dine post-adventure.


Address: The Main St, Lochinver, Lairg IV27 4LX, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 1571 844333


Cost: £-££

Delilah’s is just a short drive from Suilven, offering the perfect refuelling station with a quirky vibe. Their menu has something for every palate, from light bites and sandwiches to heartier fare for those post-hike cravings.

Expect to come across seared monkfish, rib eye steak, scallops, and their signature Delilah’s Burger. Moreover, they did not forget about the kids and those with dietary restrictions.

Pro Tip: Delilah’s cosy atmosphere is part of its charm, but it also means space is at a premium. Snag the best spot by booking ahead, especially if your hiking group is on the larger side.

West Coast Delicatessen

Address: 5 Argyle St, Ullapool IV26 2UB, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 1854 613450


Cost: £-££

West Coast Delicatessen is a bit of a jaunt from Suilven Mountain, but if you’re heading back to Ullapool, it’s an ideal spot to catch a bite. This deli lays out an impressive spread of cheeses, charcuterie, toast, salads and more.

Pro Tip: They do takeaway if you’re planning to hit the road early. Also, they have weekly specials, so keep an eye on their social media to see what exciting items you can snag during your visit.

Essential Things to Pack for Suilven Climbing

Essential Things to Pack for Suilven Climbing
  • A sturdy backpack: This is your trusty sidekick where all your essentials go, so make sure it’s durable and comfortable to haul up that slope!
  • All-weather gear: The Scottish weather enjoys playing peek-a-boo! It’s best to pack layers, from waterproof jackets to sun hats, and be ready for all the twists the weather might throw.
  • Well-fitted boots: Achy feet are no fun on a hike; find boots that are friends with your feet, offer good ankle support, and are waterproof—nobody likes soggy socks!
  • Map and compass: These old pals can be priceless if your techy GPS drops the ball, so don’t forget these in your kit.
  • Plenty of snacks and water: Quick bites and hydration are your fuel on this journey. Granola bars, dried fruits, and, of course, water are absolute must-haves.
  • First Aid Kit: A bit of a safety net here; pack band-aids, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and pain relief medications—better safe than sorry.
  • Headlamp or torch: This is useful if you underestimate how long you’ll be out or if you fancy a twilight or dawn hike—the views are worth it.
  • Multi-tool Kit: These compact saviours can come in handy in the most unpredictable situations—ever tried to open a snack pack with cold fingers?
  • Whistle: Old school again, but a whistle can prove vital if you need to signal for help. It’s lightweight; just hang it around your neck, and you’re good to go.
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