STAC POLLAIDH The most technically difficult graham bagged
Our usual Youth Hostel weekend in Ullapool was swapped for two nights in the up market Arch Inn for 9 club members.
Dinner in the Arch was perfectly fine, although we had a substantial wait before being served.
The forecast was overcast with showers for the North West with the best day on Saturday.
A group of 6 of us had arranged the excellent local guide Tim (Hamlet Mountaineering) to take us over the tricky turrets of Stac Pollaidh.
At £30 each we thought it worth it to ensure we were safe and to enjoy the day.
The other three group members went their separate ways: one to bag a Corbett (Cul Mor and see the Knockan Crags), another climbed the Graham (Meall Doire Faid)
and finally the third enjoyed a stroll down Glen Achall to Loch An Daimh.
We met Tim and Keira (collie dog) at the car park below Stac Pollaidh and headed up the easy track in dry mild weather.
The stroll up gave us a chance to get to know Tim and Keira. T
im has vast experience of climbing and walking routes in Scotland, sea kayaking around the summer isles and is also a keen photographer.
On reaching the bealach we had a short scoot up the easy east top then back to the bealach to regroup.
By this time the weather had deteriorated and we faced into the mist with the predicted rain interspersed.
There being many different routes to the summit, Tim suggested we keep to the north side to minimise the winds from the South.
Waterproof jackets were required for the start of the tricky section and Tim gave us confidence as he led us over some slippery slabs and round craggy corners.
By 12 noon we came to the wall where again we were consulted on which side to tackle – we opted for ‘the squirm’. (On a previous outing this was as far as we managed).
Time for roping up and this was our first test – how to get the harness on! One of our group had never done any climbing before – the rest of us having completed our Munros with a guide on the
In-Pin – anxious excitement was focused on the task ahead and we all squirmed our way up the short but technical scramble to the easy path to the summit.
Keira by the way also came with us with just a little help up.
The conditions were decidedly dreich and we didn’t linger on the top – although we did get some cracking photos with the atmospheric Scotch mist as the dramatic backdrop.
The route down the squirm was slowly accomplished and Tim then took us down a steep gully which needed all our wits about us and we then traversed round to the main route
to complete the circuit of Stac Pollaidh. All agreed a very satisfying day out with thoughts of conquering the Cuillin ridge again.
Alison Paterson on the Squirm
Descending from the top