Up on “Stac Polly”

As next day promised to be a bright, cloudless day, with temperatures in their high twenties it would be a perfect day to spend at the… beach?! Nah, a great day to climb up a mountain! Thus, I took my bike early morning and cycled back the 24km to Stac Pollaidh. Stac Pollaidh, or anglicised Stac Polly, is a chocolate-red coloured sandstone mountain with a pinnacled crest and steep gullies. Lying right next to Loch Lurgainn the spiky-topped summit rises about 600m above sea level, the hike up only about a mile long. Due to its low height, clear path, and easy accessibility Stac Polly is very popular and thus, has become one of the most hiked peaks in the north-western Highlands. Accordingly, there had been a lot of erosion, why the path had been carefully re-constructed a few years ago, making the climb and navigation much easier nowadays, and hopefully protecting the surface from further erosion at the same time.

Stac Pollaidh at Loch Lurgainn

By the time I arrived, Stac Polly’s popularity was easily visible by the many cars parked in the parking lot and the road sides leading to it. The trail starts across the parking lot after passing through a kissing gate, climbing through scrub and birches before opening up to moorland. Until halfway up most of the well-built path is made up of stone steps. With a gentle climb it curves around the eastern flank to the mountain’s northern face. With each meter gained in height the views were becoming more spectacular by the minute. Neighbouring peaks as Cùl Mor, Cùl Beag and Suilven rise out of the loch scattered landscape.

Hiking path up Stac Pollaidh

When reaching the junction where the circuit trail continues around Stac Pollaidh, I turned left, following the rocky path up to the saddle ridge and, eventually, to to the eastern summit. The true summit lies on the most western pinnacle and involves a tricky scramble, which requires a bit more climbing experience than I have in store. As the views would only be marginally better from there, I would not miss out much. Despite the many cars parked a the foot of the mountain, the peak was surprisingly quiet, so everyone could find a private spot to admire the iconic Scottish wilderness. On such a fine day, the panoramic views were superb, with unobstructed sight over the Inverpolly Nature Reserve with its distinct mountain peaks and across Loch Lurgainn to Loch Broom and the Summer Isles. The scenery is staggeringly beautiful, almost surreal and truly unique.

Stac Polly summit

I descended down back to the junction where I returned onto the main path to encircle the mountain base. After a little under three hours I was back a the parking lot where I had left my bike.

Inverpolly Nature Reserve, Suilven

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