Stac Pollaidh is one of the most iconic & popular hills in the area. Just 15 miles North of Ullapool & in the heart of the Inverpolly Forest, it’s ease of access & relatively short climb means that it’s also one of the busier hills.
The summit of Stac Pollaidh might only stand at 613 meters, but the views from even 100 meters shy of the top are truly spectacular.
Stac Pollaidh means “The Steep Rock at the Pool” in Gaelic and it’s easy to see how it got it’s name. It looks quite imposing from the roadside & reaching the true summit has it’s complications, with a high level of scrambling expertise required.
Due to it’s popularity Stac Pollaidh has sadly suffered from erosion so it’s better to stick to the paths to help preserve the make up of the hill. The path starts through a gate from directly opposite the entrance to the car park. The car park is quite small for the number of walkers often found on the hill, so an early or late start is often better to guarantee a parking place.
The path steadily climbs uphill with grand views down Loch Lurgainn & of Cul Beag (769m).
After a short distance the path forks by another gate in a deer fence, with options to take either a clockwise or anticlockwise route around Stac Pollaidh.
Taking the anticlockwise route, the path continues to climb steadily & heads towards the North side of the hill. As the path curves around the far side some of Stac Pollaidh’s neighbouring hills come into view. Cul Mor (849m) & another iconic hill in Assynt, Suilven (731m).
From the far side of the hill the erosion is at it worst & following the main path directly towards the ridge is the best approach. The views in all directions from the ridge are truly breathtaking.
Sadly Stac Pollaidh isn’t one of those hills where you can spend some time milling around the summit and appreciating the tranquillity as certainly from spring to autumn there definitely won’t be just you climbing this hill.
We had the pleasure of sharing our time on Stac Pollaidh with a drone circling above our heads which for a good couple of hours sounded like a swarm of bees right next to us, such fun!
From the ridge it is possible to scramble to the true summit, which is found at the Western end. However it is no easy task & as you descend, it’s easy to see why.
Evidence of the erosion on the hill.
Upon leaving the ridge the track continues anticlockwise at a steady gradual decline, where it meets the deer gate and rejoins the path that was followed at the start of the route.
Approaching Gruinard on the way home we had to stop & capture the beautiful sunset over the bay.