Stac Pollaidh

Route: Stac Pollaidh ridge and circuit

Grahams: Stac Pollaidh

Date walked: 09/10/2011

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 4.3km

Ascent: 600m

Date - Sun 09/10/2011
Hill - Stac Pollaidh
Route - Anti-clockwise circuit from car park. Gained ridge and went up the East top. Scrambled along ridge close to W top (true summit) but retreated from final scramble to summit due to wet/windy conditions.
Weather - Wet, windy and claggy
People - Me / Michelle
Time - 3.5 hrs
Distance - 4.3km
Ascent - 600m

Stac Pollaidh Route Profile 9 Oct 2011.jpg


Last day of Michelle's visit. The weather forecast was poor everywhere but the NW looked the best of a bad bunch (although turned out to be slightly worse than we'd expected). Stac Pollaidh has been on our to-do list for ages - and we knew it's best kept for a dry day, especially as we both like a good scramble and knew the final section to gain the true summit was a little tricky. No worries though- we'd get out anyway and see what happened. It's still a fine hill in a stunning area and would make a perfect half day followed by lunch in Ullapool.

Began the walk on the excellent path which leads all the way up to the ridge. Nearly on the ridge and we were engulfed in clag. The ridge is a myriad of rock offering various scrambly lines. Despite the wet rock and brisk wind we still got hands on where safe enough to do so. Went up to the east top first then made our way along the ridge exploring the various pinnacles and gullies - visibility was so poor that we couldn't really see where a line would take us and we hit a few dead ends. All good fun. Eventually we made it right along to the pinnacle that blocks the way to the west top (true summit). Previous reports (such as malkys) document the scramble well. You can take a direct line up the rock tower or shuffle along a bypass route. Challenging but not too hard in good conditions. Unfortunately for us it was pishing it down and strong winds. It was a non-starter for me. Michelle pondered scrambling up the tower for a while but I talked her out of it! One slip on the wet rock or a gust of wind and our day would be ruined! We descended into a gully for shelter and a snack before finding our way back on to the path and we were down and back at the car in no time.

A fantastic little hill with a well deserved reputation and in one of the finest parts of Scotland - we'll be back again for sure, but will wait for a dry day and have a lot more fun on the rock :)

Poor hill is badly crumbling away...

Loch Lurgainn

Stac Pollaidh


Ascending the path

Clag starting to roll in

East end

In the clag now


We gained the ridge in very poor visibility. Turned left and worked our way up to the East top.

Clear view along the entire length of the ridge :lol:

We made our way along the ridge heading toward the West end. Good fun scrambling on various pinnacles and getting lost in small gullies. The poor vis meant we were never too sure where a particular line would end up at. Hit a couple of dead ends whilst exploring.

The cloud broke for a minute and we got a view across Loch Lurgainn to Beinn an Eoin and Sgorr Tuath

Could barely get the cameras out before the cloud came down again

Continued climbing our way along



We made it to the final rock tower that blocks the way to the summit. Became more focused on looking at the options and didn't take great pics, but this one shows the summit on the left and the blocked way on the right.

Being so wet and windy I decided it wasn't worth trying. Michelle eyed up the direct route up the tower for a while before I persuaded her otherwise! One slip or a big gust of wind and our day would have been ruined.

This shows the right hand side of the direct route up. Manageable on a good day I'd say. But in the wet with a big drop next to it I'd say not.

We retreated down a gully to the north and found shelter for a rest and some food.

Then made our way down to pick up the path

Visibility improved slightly but we never got any of the stunning views around these parts.

Looking back

Nearly done. Loch Lurgainn and the car park just about coming into view.

Got back to the car and the weather started deteriorating, wind picked up even more and it started totally pishing it down. A well timed finish and we were glad to not to be any of the several small groups just starting to head up the hill.

A fine day out in one of the finest parts of Scotland - but next time we'll return on a good day, enjoy the rock up there even more and get up to the summit :)

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User avatar
Location: USA (formerly Inverness)
Pub: Clachaig
Mountain: Cuillin Range
Place: NW
Gear: Chocolate
Member: Mountaineering Council of Scotland
Camera: Nikon
Ideal day out: Scrambly ridge
Ambition: Get lost in the Andes....

Munros: 33
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 2
Sub 2000: 14
Islands: 8


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