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To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!

To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!


Postby 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: 510m

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I feel that I must apologise for taking so long to produce these reports but it is the fact that this gives me an opportunity to look back at the summer months of last year and to share the fabulous experiences we had on our holiday that makes this so appealing. So here we go again...

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.
Jonny and Stac Pollaidh.jpg
The Starting Point: Stac Pollaidh.
Suilven from Stac Pollaidh.jpg
Looking North to Suilven, Canisp and beyond that 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.
Suilven and Canisp.jpg
Suilven and Canisp
Cul Mor.jpg
Cul Mor
Ben More Coigach.jpg
Ben More Coigach
Cas Close to the Edge.jpg
The usual photograph: my wife close to the edge. Well, why not?


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.
Achmelvich Bay.jpg
Achmelvich Bay


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.
Assynt Mountains.jpg
The mountains of Assynt.

And indeed a couple of photographs of the beach at Clachtoll.
Clachtoll Bay.jpg
Clachtoll Bay
Split Rock.jpg
Split Rock at Clachtoll Bay


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!
Blokewithastroke
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Re: To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!

Postby Sgurr » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:39 pm

Hi blokewithastroke. I needed this one to complete the Grahams, but blokewithabadknee was not going to be able to accompany me up the last bit. I was nervous about the penultimate scramble so looked for a guide on this site. I came up with Ken Keith (http://highlandadventures.co.uk/) who gave me immense confidence, and I am sure would help you too. Guiding doesn't come cheap, but if you ever wanted to repeat Stac Pollaidh for a special occasion, I'm sure he would oblige.


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?
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Sgurr
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Re: To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!

Postby Blokewithastroke » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:48 pm

Hi Sgurr,

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!

Cheers.
Blokewithastroke
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Re: To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!

Postby Sarah86 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:36 pm

Stunning set of photos of a beautiful looking place. I am hoping to holiday up the north of Scotland next year. Those beaches look so clear.
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Sarah86
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Re: To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!

Postby Anne C » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:46 pm

Lovely images of one of my very favourite places, Assynt. :clap: Great to be reminded of it in sunny summer weather - lovely pics.
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.
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Anne C
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Re: To the Top of Stac Pollaidh... Well, Almost!

Postby Blokewithastroke » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:44 pm

Thanks for your comments. To give you some idea of the attractions of this place we have been back to Assynt since our holiday of last year - just a short break mind you, but it took just over 7 hours to get there. I think that we plan to return next year as well!
Blokewithastroke
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Posts: 52
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Joined: Oct 19, 2014

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