Elphin to lochinver via suilven.

This topic contains 42 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  NiallWallace 3 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #4359

    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.

    cul mor and suilven from near elphin. by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    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.

    035 by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    Keep heading north over a series of rock and slabby sections until suiven appears straight ahead.

    037 by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    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 lochan fhada nestling below it.

    042 by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    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.

    suilven rearing up in front by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    Pedal uphill gradually until the trail veers right where you head for the outflow of the western end of lochan fhada….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.

    056 by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    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)
    056 by fadgadgetguy, on Flickry
    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.

    canisp in the distance by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    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.

    looking back from near the lodge by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    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).

    069 by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr

    having a fag at lochinver bay by fadgadgetguy, on Flickr
    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.. 🙂


    Awesome report mate and great photos. Hopefully this inspires people to get out and ride natural trails.


    This write up really brings the essence of the far north west to the Forum. Thanks.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    This looks like a little gem indeed, nice photos and write up, just need to pencil in a long weekend for the 8 hour drive up there 😀


    Its a pleasure guys…… Its a ride everyone should do at some point, just to escape from our sometimes busy trails.


    Looks absolutely fantastic :thumbup: .


    this looks awesome and highly tempted to persuade RossB to do it next month, when we are camping on the west coast. just a couple of questions for Fadgadget:

    1. What is the distanceof the route?
    2. have you got a gps file for it?
    3. is it an “out and back” route or a loop?

    Thanks in advance :thumbup:


    @ charliebrook. Hi mate. I never tallied up the distance of the route, as it was a case of me just looking at the OS map and saying to myself “this looks promising” as i had previously done a route from inverkirkaig just outside of lochinver, up the southern flanks of suilven ( which is a fantanstic rocky trail )
    I would estimate the circular route as around twenty five to thirty miles or so.
    You can of course leave a car parked in the shoreline car park in lochinver, but the road trip back gives you a chance to unwind and refelct on your ride, and see suilven peeking its head watching you as you pedal back this scenic road.
    Sorry, but i never logged any data for this ride, but it would be interesting if someone could do it in the future.
    Not recommended in heavy mist or cloud, as navigation could be tricky.
    Cheers mate.


    I’ve walked a similar route up here and have to say it’s amazing. Suilven is a very dramatic mountain, a real whale back. Shame you can’t ride up it and enjoy the views from the top.


    Cheers Fadgadget, that is really helpful :thumbup: i dont know that area at all at the reference to Ullapool was confusing me, as i thought Ullapool was as far north west as you could go, but lochinver was a fair drive (nevermind cycle) away.(this will be my 1st time on the NORTH-west coast, and have been promised amazing scenery (and maybe a castle 😉 ). we’re also hoping for decent weather for snorkelling off the coast, so fingers crossed for warmer weather :wtf: 😀

    I’ll record it on my GPS and post the link for you… and possibly send it to http://www.MTBTrails.info for registering it on their site :thumbup: 😀

    Aweosme pictures Peter! 😎



    A great write-up and some lovely photos.

    I’m thinking of a bikerafting trip in that area sometime so it’s all good info.


    @peter. Yeah.. Been up suilven a few times and one day soon i will try and circumnavigate it.. Starting from inverkirkaig to the fionn loch on a technical feast of a track, and then cutting across the moor to round suilvens eastern tip before decending down to glencanisp lodge.
    Now that would be a ride and a half.


    Great report.

    It’s always good to see reports from new areas. Looks a good one too! :thumbup:


    This may be of interest to people who would like further info.



    Looks like a belter! Well done! :thumbup:

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