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Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly


Postby colgregg » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:43 pm

Route description: Stac Pollaidh ridge and circuit

Grahams included on this walk: Stac Pollaidh

Date walked: 01/07/2011

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 5 km

Ascent: 676m

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The third and final day in Ullapool started of in a very unpromising fashion with cloud cover which seemed like it wasn't going to budge. We spent the morning doing the touristy bit driving up the coast to Durness and Smoo cave then on to Tongue to see the impressive mountains of Ben Loyal and Ben Hope and back via Lairg. By this lunchtime all had cleared out and the promise of a sunny afternoon had us heading for the car park below Stac Polly.
Stac Polly must be the most recognisable mountain in the country with it's spires of rock looming high above Loch Lurgainn it's rocky summit looking so precaroius that you could imagine it collapsing at any time.
With the weather being so settled it was good to be able to set of up the steep path without having to carry rucksacks. Because of erosion the path has been renovated almost throughout it's length all the way to the col on the summit ridge. The path leads round the Eastern edge of the hill and round to the north side rising at an easy gradient until it becomes a steep staircase leading up to the lowest point on the ridge. I've never been a fan of steps but today this literally was a stairway to heaven.
In weather like we had today Stac Polly is in part a family mountain. While we were on it there were a few people picnicking on the rocks at the col. It seems the kind of place where mam and kids can safely while away the time while dad heads off along the ridge. After a quick visit to the Eastern top, trying not to disturb the mother and two toddlers picnicking it was our turn to head West part on path and part by scrambling up and over the many rock towers that soared dramatically above us. After an exhilerating half hour or so we were faced with the hardest obstacle of all. A 15 ft pillar loomed ahead requiring a certain amount of expertise to negotiate it's face before walking on to the true summit at the westerly edge. According to H.W. walks it is one of the hardest summits to get to. I have to admit that although I'm not inexperienced at scrambling I just couldn't get the first moves in with confidence so decided that I was happy to be on the summit just prior to the tower. In fact I reckon more people will stand on that summit that the main top and as it's only around a metre or so lower I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.
After my brother went on to touch the top we set off back along the ridge scrambling over a few more routes as we went before we ended up back at the low point on the summit ridge. This was what I've become to call the Gars- Bheinn moment (named after the Southernmost summit on the cuillins) Now, as then, I was standing atop a fantastic mountain in perfect weather with views that were second to none. We spent time soaking in the surroundings before reluctantly accepting that we had to leave and head down hill. We headed back down the steps but instead of returning the way we came we followed the well worn path which took us round the western side of the hill. As we descended back towards the car park I was forever looking back at the shattered cliffs looming over me. It may only be just over 2000 ft but it must rank amongst the best in Scotland.
In conclusion I had an excellent three days walking in the Assynt. While we had some mist on the first two days it always cleared out to give spectacular views. Day three ended on a high with the perfect weather. Wet weather gear only came out on day one and that was only for around 10 minutes!! And fortunately my apprehension about the dreaded midge turned out to be unfounded. I had expected swarms to be springing up from the heather and attacking me with every step I made but in reality all I saw were a few taking refuge in the tent which was the last thing they did as they were promptly dispached to midge heaven.
I hope I haven't over done it with the pics but on a day like this there were so many suberb views to capture.

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Stac Polly from below

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Looking across Loch Lurgainn to the Fiddler and Wednesday's walk

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The Col and start of the ridge to the West from the Eastern top.

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Cul Beag from the Eastern top.

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On the ridge looking East

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Stac Polly summit.

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Cul Mor formas an impressive backdrop to the Ridge.

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Cul Beag and Loch Lurgainn

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Water, water, everywhere. beautiful Lochs and seascape

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My brother negotiates the rock tower

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Me with Suilven in the background from the col on Stac Polly

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colgregg
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby dooterbang » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:35 pm

I love this hill. The views are sensational.

Was up there in May for my 40th, was lucky enough to have the same views.

Thanks for posting.
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dooterbang
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby monty » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:19 am

Fantastic end to your week Colregg.
Stac Polly looks tremendous. I never fail to be amased by the sheer variety of mountains in Scotland. great photos. :D
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby colgregg » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:43 pm

monty wrote:Fantastic end to your week Colregg.
Stac Polly looks tremendous. I never fail to be amased by the sheer variety of mountains in Scotland. great photos. :D

I'd seen the photos, read the books but nothing compares to getting up close and personal. The mountains are outstanding round that part of the country. I've decided I'm never going to be a Munro bagger, time and distance is prohibitive, so I hope to cherry pick a few of the classics before my fitness levels drop, so theres one or two more around Ullapool to get yet.
colgregg
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby Vick1 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:13 pm

Nice photos of my favourite hill and I never get tired of going up there :)
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby davetherave » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:12 am

Never done it yet, But I feel as though I have atleast been there after reading your TR.

Must now read the rest of your N W TRs.
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby soulminer » Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:32 pm

Special wee hill with a sting in its tail :lol: Was waving to you from BMC 8)
Pity I was driving up on the Saturday, I should have checked the date before sending you a pm- Nugget :)
Glad you enjoyed your trip, don't need to ask if you will be back, do I ? :thumbup:
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby L-Hiking » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:40 pm

Great description of what sounds a wonderful hike. I like yourself live a long way from the Highlands and time and distance is always a factor those pics have got my mouth watering Skye in Sept I just might nip over for a look
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby colgregg » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:58 pm

Luvhiking wrote:Great description of what sounds a wonderful hike. I like yourself live a long way from the Highlands and time and distance is always a factor those pics have got my mouth watering Skye in Sept I just might nip over for a look

Maybe an idea if the weathers not too good in Skye. The ride up to Ullapool is a good one as it passes through Torridon and right beneath An Teallach. Skye is a very hard place to leave though and there's enough great days to be had to keep you there. The Assynt is similar, once there you'll wish that "just nipping up" bit was for a few days as the urge to climb the mountains is irresistable.
colgregg
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Re: Assynt. Day 3 - Stac polly

Postby colgregg » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:04 pm

soulminer wrote:Special wee hill with a sting in its tail :lol: Was waving to you from BMC 8)
Pity I was driving up on the Saturday, I should have checked the date before sending you a pm- Nugget :)
Glad you enjoyed your trip, don't need to ask if you will be back, do I ? :thumbup:


I probably passed you somewhere around glen Coe As we were driving down that day.
colgregg
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