Coordinates: 58°06′54″N 5°08′13″W / 58.115°N 5.13707°W / 58.115; -5.13707
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Highest point
Elevation731 m (2,398 ft)
Prominence496 m (1,627 ft)
ListingGraham, Marilyn
Coordinates58°06′54″N 5°08′13″W / 58.115°N 5.13707°W / 58.115; -5.13707
English translationPillar mountain
Language of nameOld Norse + Scottish Gaelic
PronunciationScottish Gaelic: [ˈsuləvjeɲ]
OS gridNC153183
Topo mapOS Landranger 15

Suilven is a mountain in Scotland. Lying in a remote area in the west of Sutherland, it rises from a wilderness landscape of moorland, bogs and lochans known as Inverpolly National Nature Reserve. Suilven forms a steep-sided ridge some two kilometres (1+14 mi) in length. The highest point, Caisteal Liath ("Grey Castle" in Scottish Gaelic), lies at the northwest end of this ridge. There are two other summits: Meall Meadhonach ("Middle Round Hill") at the central point of the ridge is 723 metres (2,372 ft) high, whilst Meall Beag ("Little Round Hill") lies at the southeastern end.


The name is Viking in origin, coming from the Old Norse súla fjell, meaning ‘pillar mountain’. [1]


Geologically, Suilven is formed of Torridonian sandstone, sitting on a landscape of Lewisian gneiss. The surrounding rocks were eroded during an episode of glaciation. Suilven was covered by the last British and Irish Ice Sheet. Prior research described Suilven and many other mountains in Northwest Scotland as nunataks, but cosmogenic isotope dating of mountaintop erratics has since disproved this hypothesis. The flow of ice created the distinctive narrow teardrop plan, while carving and scouring the vertical sides of the mountain.[2]


In 2005 Glencanisp estate, of which Suilven forms part and the neighbouring Drumrunie estate, were bought by the local community with the help of the John Muir Trust. The Assynt Foundation aims to create local employment and safeguard the natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of the community and future generations, and for the enjoyment of the wider public.


The most common route of ascent starts from the end of a public road that leads to Glencanisp Lodge, about 1.5 kilometres (1 mi) from Lochinver to the west of the summit. From here a path leads across undulating moorland towards the steep north side of Suilven and the route up to Bealach Mòr (the Great Bealach or Pass) after a little over two kilometres (1+14 mi). The final pull up to the bealach is steep, and the path has been re-made with many boulder steps. From here the summit is nearby. The summit itself is broad and grassy, though it is almost totally surrounded by vertical cliffs.

Another route starts from Inverkirkaig, some four kilometres (2+12 mi) south of Lochinver: this route reaches the bealach from the south, passing Kirkaig Falls on the way. One may also start from Elphin, on the eastern side. It is possible to reach the ridge without first climbing to Bealach Mòr from this direction, though very exposed scrambling is required, particularly between Meall Meadhonach and Meall Beag.

All these routes involve a round trip of around 25 kilometres (15+12 mi) over rough terrain.

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2017 film Edie, a widowed pensioner climbs Suilven to complete a long-held ambition.[3]

Stac Pollaidh and Suilven star in an episode of Disney+ Star Wars show Ahsoka.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Suilven". Bella Caledonia. 27 October 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2024.
  2. ^ Butler, Rob. "An Essay on the Geology of NW Scotland" (PDF). Leeds University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  3. ^ "EDIE Screens first in the village of Lochinver" Simon Hunter Official website. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  4. ^ "PICTURES: Star Wars hits the Scottish Highlands after Stac Pollaidh and Suilven star in Disney+ show Ahsoka". 20 September 2023.

External links[edit]