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To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!
by Blokewithastroke » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:19 pm
Route description: Stac Pollaidh ridge and circuit
Grahams included on this walk: Stac Pollaidh
Date walked: 26/07/2013
Time taken: 3 hours
Distance: 4.5 km
Ascent: 510mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
One of the problems we face when considering where to go for our holidays is or was, of course, the weather. So it was with some trepidation that we decided to venture to the far north-west of Scotland to Assynt. Obviously, the many lochs and small lochans on the map drew attention to the fact that it rains all awful lot in this area. Fortunately, this wasn't a problem this year. Instead, in the week that we were there we had some very fortunate sunshine accompanied by the occasional rain cloud - which for Assynt, I guess, is not too bad!
It was our last day so how were we going to mark this? Well, of course, it had to be to climb Stac Pollaidh, a small but magnificent mountain we had seen in the distance as we motored on by it on the nearby A835. Of course, I had read about it and knew that the top of the mountain would present an extremely tricky climb - particularly the western section. Still, we thought that it would be worth attempting, even to experience the marvellous scenery around it, with views to Ben More Coigach, Cul Beag, Cul Mor, Suilven etc.
From our starting point just north of Lochinver it took about 40 minutes to drive to the small car park at the foot of Stac Pollaidh. The weather was superb - the best we had had so far during the week. In glorious sunshine we carefully made our way up and around in a counter-clockwise direction on the fairly recently renovated footpath. The climb was not too steep as we made our way and we quickly reached a promontory where we were greeted with a magnificent view of Cul Beag to the east, Cul Mor to the north-east and out over Loch Sionasgaig to Suilven and Canisp. Beyond that we could see to Quinag in the far distance.
We carried on and made our way up ever more steeply until we reached a relatively small bealagh between the east and west tops of the mountain... and it was here I decided to stay. Remember, having only one arm to navigate with means I am somewhat restricted in my ability to climb but as far as I was concerned I had reached as far as I could. Fortunately, both my wife and son went on and they climbed the east top and looked down on my figure below them. When they came back down they both agreed that it would be far easier if I stayed exactly as I was, which I must say came as some relief for me - suffering from a slight degree of vertigo as I do meant that I was not particularly keen to go on! However, this gave us the opportunity to take a few photographs - including the usual one of a member of the family staring out over to Ben More Coigach to the south from a fairly small promontory - and have a spot of lunch.
There are fairly obvious attractions to climbing this mountain - the fact that it is only just over 2,000 feet in height and just qualifying as a mountain being one of these attractions. There were a few other people up there but not so many that it became seething. In fact, for a good part of the time we were the only ones there.
My son disappeared off to the west and didn't re-appear until almost half an hour had passed. We were getting quite worried when fortunately he returned from his venture. He had gone about as far as he can before he met an obstacle which he couldn't overcome or find another way round it. Still, he enjoyed the experience set by this very intriguing mountain.
We set off to the west and made our way down the mountain with the sun gleaming and reflecting across the sea and the nearby loch. We finally arrived back where we had started from in no more than 3 hours of breath-taking scenery. We decided to drive 'home' along the well-known single track road that winds it way round the coast before arriving at Inverkirkaig and eventually reaching Lochinver. From there, we continued on our drive and decided that we would like to visit the beach at Achmelvich Bay before we went home the next day. What a magnificent beach! Surely one of the best in the country? It's gleaming white sands fairly took my breath away.
And so, eventually, we arrived back at our holiday house - but not before stopping on the way to take a photograph of the Assynt mountains captured in all their glory.
And indeed a couple of photographs of the beach at Clachtoll.
So, there we have it: a truly magnificent holiday. Granted, we benefitted from some very good weather and what it could be like in a 'normal' summer I obviously cannot say but I would very much encourage anyone to go to Assynt and enjoy it at least half as much as we did!
by Sgurr » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:39 pm
However, all concerned seem to have had a great day. You are right that it is just a fantastic viewpoint from wherever you get to?
by Blokewithastroke » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:48 pm
Thanks for your advice. Hmm... I shall have to think about this. Who knows, it might be a solution. For now, however, I will do the best that I can!
by Sarah86 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:36 pm
by Anne C » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:46 pm
Achmelvich Beach is one of the most beautiful in mainland Scotland I think - lots of happy memories of family holidays there . I like it better than Sandwood Bay, despite the wee caravan site behind.
by Blokewithastroke » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:44 pm