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by HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:41 am
Route description: Quinag: three Corbetts
Corbetts included on this walk: Quinag - Sail Gharbh
Grahams included on this walk: Stac Pollaidh
Date walked: 25/04/2013
Time taken: 12 hours
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 2000m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
IMG_0021 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
Sometimes, the light and colour of the hills on days of changing weather can equal, or even better, days of cloudless sunlight. Especially when you are among the otherworldly rocks of Assynt.
The night before, a band I had never heard of played Ullapool. A magical night.
IMG_0073 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
Mairearad (coincidentally, from nearby Achiltibuie) is the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion.
IMG_0080 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
OK let's get onto the actual walks. The next day dawned fitful and showery: we decided on Stac Pollaidh - again (we'd climbed it two days before). Might seem an odd decision, but in fact it was the perfect choice. It was snowing as we set off from the car park by Loch Lurgain, visibility became zero as we ascended, and by the time we reached the crest of the ridge, it was pretty much a blizzard.
IMG_0502 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
But light seemed be coming through the thick curtain of sleet... shreds of clouds tore and whizzed away from us...
IMG_0503 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
...and we were in clear weather, looking out over the dappled landscape of Assynt.
IMG_0510 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
Looking back into Coigach: cloud lingering and lurking around Sgurr an Fhidleir.
IMG_0511 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
More views over Assynt
IMG_0513 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
IMG_0511 (2) by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
Later, our drive back via Lochinver gave us a view of a rainbow over Suilven
IMG_0404 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
And, once back on the main road at Elphin, looking back we saw the sunset over Suilven too.
IMG_0408 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
The next day started bright, with great views of the Coigach hills as we drove north on the A835 - this is Stac Pollaidh, Cul Beag and Cul Mor from a roadside lochan.
IMG_0201 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
The car park gave us a view into Quinag's snow-dusted eastern corrie.
IMG_0550 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
The path leads across the moor and into the mouth of the corrie, with views of Spidean Coinich and its summit Bucket Buttress.
IMG_0301 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
The first-class path (courtesy I think of the John Muir Trust) led us through the corrie, above Lochan Bealach Cornaidh and then curved back on itself to ascend Sail Gharbh.
Spidean Coinich and its Point 714m looked like giant cakes frosted with icing.
IMG_0560 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
The bealach between Sail Gharbh and the Sail Ghorm ridge was a wild and windy spot -
IMG_0562 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
- but it gave us a great view of Suilven under brooding skies
IMG_0567 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
Although sunshine would have been nice, these lowering skies seemed perfect for the ambience of these strange-shaped far northern hills with their super-ancient rocks. The transition from rounded sandstone stones to jagged Cambrian quartzite boulders just before the summit of Sail Gharbh is very abrupt.
The ridge gave us views out over Loch Chairn Bhain, the islands and coast towards Badcall and Scourie and beyond to the Minch (not in this shot - but at one point we did briefly spot the hills of Harris on the horizon).
IMG_0311 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
The trig and summit shelter, adorned with ice crystals, were a good spot for a snack...
IMG_0312 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
...and a snifter.
IMG_0313 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
Time to go: the wind was rising.
IMG_0310 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
The gloomy but haunting views continued as we made our way back down the hill: Loch Assynt ahead, and in the distance Enard Bay and the flat peninsula of Rubha Mor.
IMG_0314 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
And Spidean and Point 714m with all their sandstone strata picked out by the snow.
IMG_0315 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
I was so struck by the effect of the snow on these layers of rock that later I did a painting of this scene, but I did it from memory and I put too much snow in!
IMG_6850 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
A celebratory trip to the pub at Kylesku was obligatory after such a great walk. We were able to sit in the bar and spot seals playing in the loch.
IMG_0316 by Tim Pearce, on Flickr
A brilliant end to a great week in the northern wilds. The bad news is that I have just realised that, embarrassingly, FOUR of these photos feature alcohol. Never mind, I have posted some booze-free photos of Quinag and Stac Pollaidh on www.drinkhighlands.co.uk
by dogplodder » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:56 pm
by Mal Grey » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:27 pm
Still need to do a walk report on my Easter Suilven trip...must get it sorted!
by GraemeMac » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:28 pm
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:53 am
by Silverhill » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:57 pm
Amazing pictures of both days!
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:15 am
Silverhill wrote:You timed that perfectly, for the cloud to shift when you got to the summit of Stac Pollaidh!
Amazing pictures of both days!
thanks - we were SO lucky with that cloud.
But sometimes luck happens on the hills - surprisingly often, I've found!