This article is part of the series “2022-10: Autumn in Scotland”.
It’s 12 October, day 6 of Annika’s and my Scotland holiday this autumn. Today we want to hike round the Stac Pollaidh – or “Stac Polly” – a mountain in the Assynt region of the Northwest highlands. Its twin summit is quite prominent. We start our tour after lunch, where weather was supposed to get better. (And it was.)
Slowly we start hiking up following the excellent cobblestone path.
Technically our tour follows a circular path round the summits, but it climbs up almost on level of the east summit. The west summit is round 80 metres higher and needs a certain amount of scrambling and mountaineering experience that we lack.
It is still cloudy, but the sun starts to peek more and more through breaks in the clouds. Quite soon the views are impressive, from hazy tones of dark grey against the light to circular views that seem to cover the whole Assynt region. Harsh mountain tops – nunataks in the ice age – hilly landscapes – countless lakes, and to the west: the sea.
The ascent gets a bit steeper, the cobblestone path zigzags up the mountain. The passing clouds constantly change the landscape’s appearance. Again and again I have to look back for the views.
Finally we arrive at the junction to the east summit. It is not far to climb it and it rewards with a scenic 360° view, only interrupted by the higher west summit. Stunning! Me meet a local that shows and names all mountain massifs and tops around. Wind increases and we are pretty glad about our windproof clothes.
It’s hard to leave this beautiful place but finally we leave the summit and walk back to our circular route. The first part is near perfection, then it gets quite muddy and slippery. But the views are still awesome.
The more we loose elevation the more we approach our starting point. We can see the harsh rocks of the west summit and partially hidden behind the east summit that we just had visited. The sky is bluer than and Stac Pollaidh looks friendly. Other mountains in directing sun however look sombre and almost hostile.
We reach a last sheep gate and shortly after arrive at the parking place.
Two photos in portrait format – they never blend in with my other landscape format photos. The first is from the ascent, the second from the descent.
Shortly after we have arrived at the car it is starting to rain. Wow, that’s perfect timing! And beyond that it rewards us with one of the most durable double rainbows I ever saw. Intensely it is shining for more than 40 minutes while we are driving to our hostel in Inchnadamph. Even when it gets dark the sun still is illuminating a cloud blanketing a mountain.
Along with our day on Isle of Lewis’ west coast this day is definitely one of my personal highlights of our holiday. Thank you Annika for planning the tour and sharing the experience!