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Stac Pollaidh, 'By Fair Means'
by roscoT » Tue May 10, 2016 5:59 pm
Route description: Stac Pollaidh ridge and circuit
Grahams included on this walk: Stac Pollaidh
Date walked: 06/05/2016
Time taken: 2.5 hours
Distance: 6.2 km
Ascent: 615m3 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).
Coming quickly off of Ben Wyvis, driving towards Ullapool the sky started to clear of clouds and, as the strange jarring shapes of the mountains of this area became fully visible, it was clear we were in for a treat. Layers of atmosphere a brilliant blue above, the air was warm but for a occasionally bracing breeze, 'the little weirdo' as I have seen it called, standing above us from the car park.
Sgorr Tuath from the road by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020374 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
The path leading off to the right below the lower side of Stac Pollaidh's ridge ascends quickly, and we were sweating and breathing heavily until, thankfully, shade was reached behind the mountain. Quite suddenly, Cul Mor, Canisp and Suilven appeared in brilliant technicolour above the myriad of small lochs so familiar to Assynt. Amazing.
P1020378 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Cul Mor by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Suilven by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Euan by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Me by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Again, at once when the ridge is reached, my breath was taken away by views in all directions, to the sea in the west, Coigach to the south, and the stunning hills to the east and north. We took turns walking the (very dodgy) path and up a little cleft to the most easterly point of the ridge, getting some nice long shots with a sense of scale.
P1020394 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020397 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
to sea by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020404 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020406 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
euan and cul beag by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020412 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
suilven, canisp and loch sionascaig by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
An Teallach? by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
When we returned to our bags at the first cairn, we had been joined by a group of 4 people, who started in the direction of the 'true' summit, looking back suggestively at us. We had not really thought about doing the full ridge, WH had suggested it was perhaps too advanced for novices like us. Eventually, one of the group asked us if we were coming up, and helpfully said we could follow them. My decision was made, but Euan, who has been known to suffer from vertigo in his latter years, seemed unsure. We decided if there were any parts beyond our capabilities, we would turn back.
The next 30 minutes was some of the most fun I have ever had on the hills - First, shimmying up a chimney, then traversing across, around and over various boulders for around 500m, before finally going around the final tower and squeezing up and through an awkward gap to the summit proper. Congratulated by our interim guides, the views were ample reward, and despite Euan's sweaty palms, he was happy to admit it was worth it.
P1020418 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
First chimney by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
dodgy bit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
tight squeeze by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
loch lurgainn and cul beag by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
true summit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020440 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
We chatted for about 15 minutes with the family from nearby, who had climbed up here countless times, before thoughts turned to the return route and getting to Inchnadamph for dinner and a well-deserved beer. The return over the ridge was more difficult to navigate and get back to our bags, particularly reversing down the chimney, where one wrong foot could have spelled disaster. Descending then back the way we came in the shade, we then took a left round the other side to complete the circuit. Our legs would not thank us for 20K and 2000m of ascent in one day in the morning, but this was but a distant thought as darkness descended, wine flowed, and three more days of the same lay ahead
chimney descent by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020445 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
P1020451 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
by jacob » Tue May 10, 2016 7:36 pm
by Gordie12 » Tue May 10, 2016 8:18 pm
by roscoT » Tue May 10, 2016 8:26 pm
jacob wrote:Not a very original thing to say, but Stac Pollaidh is a real little beauty. Our first Scottish hill, so warm memories. Nice report. Well spent day with Wyvis in one run
Cheers Jacob, a great 'wee hill' indeed! Can't think of a better introduction to Scotland
Gordie12 wrote:Did a few hills in this area last September/October and planning to go back this year for at least this one and Suilven - can't imagine I'll be as lucky with the weather, that looked superb.
Good stuff Gordie! As our luck would have it, we got even better conditions for Suilven (climbed yesterday). Tales of Ben More Assynt, Conival and Quinag also to come, watch this space...
by Gordie12 » Tue May 10, 2016 8:32 pm
by roscoT » Tue May 10, 2016 8:38 pm
Gordie12 wrote:Hope you enjoyed Quinag, had a great day there last October.
What an amazing mountain it is. Away to re-read your report now
by Alteknacker » Tue May 10, 2016 10:00 pm
Assynt is still on my list of "to do's", and every time I see pics of it, the desire grows (the only bummer is that it's 12 hours away...)
SP, Suilven, the Cobbler - all wonderful hills, hills to dream of; and none of them Munros....
by weaselmaster » Tue May 10, 2016 10:36 pm
Looks like you had a fine time
by BobMcBob » Tue May 10, 2016 10:47 pm
by Jaxter » Wed May 11, 2016 10:53 pm
Can't wait to get to there - WH meet in July not far away now!!