Stac Pollaidh (612m)

Last week we stayed in Ullapool for 4 days to get away for a bit and do some walks in the Highlands.

We were recommended this walk as great view to effort ratio. The walk took us a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes to the top and back to the car park, so definitely was a comparatively short walk. The views at the top are fantastic – we didn’t have a particularly sunny or clear day, but I think that makes the mountains even more dramatic. They look great with grey and gloomy weather.

One thing we were not prepared for was the midges. Hundreds and hundreds of them, and of course I got bitten all over any exposed flesh – my arms, neck and face. They itched for 3 days and I needed antihistamine cream. Steven looked like he had chicken pox, however the bites went away after a day so he wasn’t badly affected.

The walk starts at the car park located here,-5.2074/ and there is no need to take a map as the path is pretty clear and obvious. It’s a popular path too. It starts with going up through some ferns / trees where the midges are immediate and relentless. The greenery then clears to a gate which you go through and then it’s open moorland until you get to the base of the mountain. The path is fine but the higher you get it’s more rocky and you need to clamber up a bit. Bit more work for us short-legged folk but nothing strenuous.

The final ascent to the top is a bit steeper and rockier. We saw a couple of stags up high – I’m not sure the grass was better there for them; perhaps thoroughly wind-swept and difficult-to-get-to grass has a better taste? The top of the walk is in the middle of two higher parts which you can climb. I recommend going left and after 5 minutes of steep, rocky scrambling you reach a magnificent sight. Plenty of rocks to sit on and admire the view. Some midges here too; but by this point I had given up trying to slap them away.

Stag high up on the mountain

Steven and I had a drink of our thermos tea, and good god it tasted disgusting. Thermos tea normally has a distinctive unpleasant aftertaste, but this genuinely tasted off. The internet tells me it’s probably the milk and we should keep that separate.

Right at the top

The walk downhill is slightly longer – instead of heading back the way we came we opted for the circular route which means turning left at the bottom of the descent and going round the mountain. This path was better but had a lot of boggy parts near the bottom. It met the other path just before the gate and the midge-fest.

Mountain difficulty: medium

Mountain views: 8/10

Location: 25 minutes from Ullapool

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