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Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Sensational Stac Pollaidh


Postby jupe1407 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:10 am

Route description: Stac Pollaidh ridge and circuit

Grahams included on this walk: Stac Pollaidh

Date walked: 06/10/2018

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 4.2 km

Ascent: 534m

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I'm fairly sure it's possible to run out of superlatives when describing Stac Pollaidh, I'm just not sure how. This walk came pretty much in the middle of our now traditional fortnight in the north west. We'd spent much of the first week in Kinlochewe staring out the window at seemingly ceaseless rain, however the promised doom laden forecast eased off towards the end of the week and having met up with Allison (Sick Kid) and her husband Craig, finally escaped our respective prisons. Allison and I took advantage of a good forecast to repeat Beinn Damh on Friday and after they very kindly offered us to share their holiday cottage for week two in Strathcanaird just north of Ullapool we relocated on the Saturday, hilariously forecast with the best weather of the entire week :lol:

After getting more supplies and our stuff into the cottage, it was just gone 3pm. Enough time surely for a quick trip to Stac Pollaidh. Allison and I headed round whilst Anne, still unable to walk due to her accident back in March, and Craig relaxed. We got to the car park around 4pm and duly pinched the final space.

Polly looks absolutely wonderful from every angle, more so from right below.

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We set off up the steep path and decided to take the left hand fork at the fence before changing our minds and cutting across to the right. The route up is pretty steep but the built path is excellent, and good views to Cul Beag and Loch Lurgainn soon open up.

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The gradient eases after the fence line and the path meanders it's way on a slow rising traverse around the base of the mountain, gradually reaching the bealach below the east top. The walk round is however like having an amazing present very slowly revealed. Cul Mor and it's lochans came into view first, bathed in late afternoon light.

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A Little further round the truly breathtaking stuff begins. Suilven, Canisp and the hundreds of lochans which cover this incredibly rugged landscape appear. It's like walking into a giant 3d Colin Prior photograph. The rainbow was just a ridiculously good piece of icing on the cake.

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Not long after this we emerged onto the bealach below the east top and had a look at the fun to come :lol: It is indeed true that you can make the scrambling as hard or as easy as you like, however as Allison had been up here before, I just followed her :lol:

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Most of the scrambly stuff was fine apart from one awkward downclimb over a big drop which I was briefly erm, concerned, about :lol: Luckily pausing to try to work out where the hell I was supposed to go allowed for some time to take photos from the perch of this incredible wee mountain.

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There were terrific views across to the other Coigach Grahams, Beinn an Eoin, Sgurr an Fhidhleir and Coigach itself. What a place.

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Before long we got a look at the summit and of course the dodgy scramble to get across to it.

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Luckily Allison, having done this before knew the moves. The tricky part isn't the exposure or the scrambling itself, but actually getting started. There are decent footholds but the handholds are scant. We did briefly consider the gully, but it was wet, and frankly looked horrible. I found a ledge to the right of the "Starting point" which had a handhold to get a start and moved across without any real issues. Once the first two moves are done, the rest is straightforward. Within minutes we were on the summit of this incredible mountain.

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After a brief pause to take in the views, and with a potential rain shower to come, we decided to reverse the scramble while it was dry before having a well-earned bite to eat. This was more straightforward in return. We duly found a nice viewpoint for a snack, looking out over Suilven and one of the finest views you could hope to see.

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As the evening wore on, the light just got better. This is a truly mesmerising place to be at the best of times, but to watch the sun setting on the land beyond was a privilege.

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Finally it was time to head down. We opted to follow the eroded gully down from the section below the dodgy scramble. It's loose and steep in places, but pretty manageable. One more brief stop to watch the sun setting on Suilven before the rain came was hard to resist.

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The return to the car park on the mostly good path didn't take long and we were back at the cottage not long after 7pm. It's quite telling that three of my favourite mountains are all Grahams within this very small area. Around a year previously I enjoyed fantastic conditions on Coigach and the Fiddler. This small corner of the north west highlands really is other-worldly.


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jupe1407
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:19 am

Its the finest "mountain" area in the world, of course it was sensational! :D

Some lovely images there, capturing this amazing landscape beautifully.
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby Graeme D » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:05 pm

A bit better than Debbie and I got a few days later! :mrgreen:
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby jupe1407 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:25 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Its the finest "mountain" area in the world, of course it was sensational! :D

Some lovely images there, capturing this amazing landscape beautifully.


Thanks Mal. I've been lucky up here, also had good walks on Cul Mor and the two munros from Inchnadamph last week, as well as a glorious day on Coigach last year. I absolutely love the area 8)

Graeme D wrote:A bit better than Debbie and I got a few days later! :mrgreen:


I'm almost afraid to ask :lol:
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:31 am

Great stuff Jupe. These photos are outstanding especially the rainbow one :D
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby Graeme D » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:27 am

Graeme D wrote:A bit better than Debbie and I got a few days later! :mrgreen:


I'm almost afraid to ask :lol:[/quote]

It wasn't that bad, not just as crisp as you got a few days earlier. TR coming shortly.
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby Chris Mac » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:21 pm

Outstanding photos, I really need to get further north! :clap:

Thanks for the pics showing the scrambles, you rarely get that, good to see what's involved and now I really want to play around on what looks like a cracking hill, I can see why Assynt is your favourite area. :D
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby jupe1407 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:39 pm

Chris Mac wrote:Outstanding photos, I really need to get further north! :clap:

Thanks for the pics showing the scrambles, you rarely get that, good to see what's involved and now I really want to play around on what looks like a cracking hill, I can see why Assynt is your favourite area. :D


Thanks Chris. We weren't up for long as it was very late in the afternoon. You could quite easily spend a day playing around up there. It's glorious :D
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby yokehead » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:40 am

Fantastic report, I must return to this wonderful place! :D

I was there in 2001, but only climbed to the bealach since it was with my 9 and 7 year olds. My wife had already been terrified for them when we'd been up the Ben More Coigach ridge from Culnacraig, the Pollaidh ridge was rightly out of the question!

Whilst there we bought a small painting of Pollaidh which I gave to my Dad and had a good spot on his dining room wall. My Dad is sadly no longer with us but I now have the painting and it brings double, fine family memories.
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Re: Sensational Stac Pollaidh

Postby Stefan1 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:13 pm

Stunning photos!

I agree, Assynt is my favourite for mountains!
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