Stac Pollaidh

2 April 2013

Scotland’s finest “little mountain” – Stac Pollaidh may be only 612m high, but it is a very special, unique mini-mountain.  This was to be my third ascent, but still the actual summit was a step too far!

Stac Pollaidh from the car park at Loch Lurgainn

Stac Pollaidh from the car park at Loch Lurgainn

Our first day at Inverkirkaig was bright and clear.  Not sure whether our post-winter fitness levels were up to tackling Suilven the long way on our first day out, so we decided to re-visit Stac Pollaidh.  So, it was off down the “wee mad road” to the car park at Loch Lurgainn.  We parked at 10.30am, but already the car park was pretty busy.

On our last visit, we had climbed the scree slopes directly up to the bealach, but since then the National Trust have done a superb job of improving a good path around the eastern end, which has allowed the scree scars to heal completely.

StacPollaidh route map

StacPollaidh route map

It is also a much more enjoyable route, with a gradual ascent, and excellent view across to Cul Mor, and Ben More Coigach.

on the new path round the eastern end, looking across to Cul Mor and Ben More Coigach

on the new path round the eastern end, looking across to Cul Mor and Ben More Coigach

Further round, the vast wilderness of Inverpolly comes into view, dominated by the profile of Suilven, seen in all its glory.

Suilven from Stac Pollaidh

Suilven from Stac Pollaidh

 

From the bealach, I scrambled up to the lower eastern top, which I hadn’t done before.  An easy scramble, and well worth it for the views along the ridge.

Stac Pollaidh: looking down on the (now crowded) car park far below

looking down on the (now crowded) car park far below

 

 

 

Stac Pollaidh: Anne on the bealach, with the main ridge and pinnacles behind

Anne on the bealach, with the main ridge and pinnacles behind

Returning to the bealach, we continued together along the western ridge, in and out of various gullies and pinnacles.   We continued as far as the difficult step before the final tower, and decided “discretion rather than valour”.

Stac Pollaidh:  Madonna and child pinnacles on the ridge.

Madonna and child pinnacles on the ridge.

Stac Pollaidh: summit ridge

.... about to be swallowed by a whale!

To the south, Ben Mor Coigach looked like a Norwegian glacier-covered plateau.

Just before the final tower, we found a fine place to sit and enjoy a lunch with a view!

lunch spot near summit of Stac Pollaidh, with view out to the west

lunch spot near summit of Stac Pollaidh, with view out to the west

Stac Pollaidh:  David, on the highest point we reached, with Cul Mor in the background

David, on the highest point we reached, with Cul Mor in the background

Depsite the blue sky, there was a chill in the air, so we didn’t linger too long, and soon found our way back to the bealach.  We descended NW to re-join the path that circumnavigates the hill, and followed it round and below the western (highest) summit, marvelling at a frozen lochan en route.

frozen lochan behind Stac Pollaidh

frozen lochan behind Stac Pollaidh

By 2pm, we were back at the car.  Too early to go “home”, so we continued on out towards Achnahaird, and sat in the sun for a while admiring the views.

Stac Pollaidh and Cul Mor from Achnahaird

Stac Pollaidh and Cul Mor from Achnahaird

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