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Elphin to Lochinver via Suilven

Having done this ride solo a few years ago, i though this might appeal to lovers of a tough route in spectacular surroundings. Park your car in a small lay bye at the head of the cam loch a mile or so north of the tiny village of elphin, and go back uphill for a short distance and cross the road…. when you see a large gate and a tiny sign notifying you that this is the route to lochinver….go through the gate and go down a boggy decent to the shore of cam loch where this panorama of cul mor and suilven unfolds.















Head round the northern shoreline keeping your eyes peeled for a fishermans/walkers track slightly higher on the right..go through a well made wooden gate and follow this undulating track until it decends again to the loch….head for the bottom of an ill defined ridge which runs from south to north, ( which is marked by the odd cairn ), and starts to veer upwards and to the right.















Keep heading north over a series of rock and slabby sections until suiven appears straight ahead.















The trail becomes very rough at this point, but it is a great challenge and determination and a little skill are required to nail this technical section. The further up this ridge you climb, the more defined it becomes and stones and peat take over from the slabs and boulders that you have climbed up……soon the ridge levels out and the south side of canisp is revealed with the narrow loch na gainimh nestling below it.















Start decending west until you come across some singetack that only god could have made and note the majestic pointed shape of suilven on your left beckoning you forward.















Pedal uphill gradually until the trail veers right where you head for the outflow of the western end of loch na gainimh….then cross it to the northern side of a deep gully containing the river and scramble up to a very muddy and stony path and keep heading west (suilven nows looms to the south large and forbidding now) this section requires shouldering your bike until with some relief you come to a land rover track which comes in from glencanisp lodge.















Follow this fantastic track as it undulates beside the loch and stop now and again to marvel at the sight of suilvens dramatic shape (now seen as a viking ship from this side)

A series of fast decents and counter climbs follows until the track levels out and then look back at the the way you have came.















Continue to a fork in the trail, where you have the option of a quick detour to suileas bothy for a seat and a little chill out, or keep pressing on until you reach the sprawling glencanisp lodge.















Head of dowhill on a tarmac road all the way to lochinver, where first priority must be a pint in the coulags hotel (which is mucho recommended).





























All that remains now is to head north on the main road uphill, and along the northern shores of loch assynt to inchnadamph and then elphin…….and probably one of the finest days out on a bike you have ever had lies behind you now, so its …”home now jeeves, and a welcome night out in ullapools lively seaforth pub which is only a twenty minute drive away..

Submitted By TrailScotland Member – Fadgadget 

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