Suilven is looking at me, or at least that how it feels lately. Everywhere I look, I see it. Each morning when I poke my head out of the hatch, from our boat on the floating docks in Lochinver harbour, there it is; in sunshine, green dome gleaming; other times swathed in summit-crawling mist. Often its domed top is sliced off completely by cloud but it’s even more ominous then, its threatened presence looming larger than its actual visual spectre.

I stalk it back, from the safe distance of this far end of the harbour, preparing myself for the day I will climb it. From this side it looks impossibly steep – pillar mountain, Sula Bheinn – a rock hard phallus of vertical ascent. Locals assure me that it’s the long walk in rather than the climb up that is the hard part. However, this afternoon when I looked at it through binoculars I was actually frightened.

I was slowly scanning the horizon above the village, my eyes grazing, leisurely following the patches of light which were moving sensuously over the tilted scree slopes of Canisp, and then onto the lumpy moors with their little woodlands and clearings of soft grass, all greenly idyllic. And then suddenly Suilven – filling the view, filling the world.

I have to admit, my belly shuddered a little, my heart quickened and quailed. Suilven so close. And I am to scale it…

Lochinver harbour, Assynt, Scotland
17th May 2014