Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
7th and 8th November 2009
A weekend spent up in the far north west based in Ullapool.
I headed out of Aberdeen on Saturday morning with Stephan for the bright lights of Ullapool! It was wall to wall blue skies as we made the journey west and we kept fingers crossed that the fine weather would hold for the weekend. Our first port of call on arriving at Ullapool was to secure a bed for the night. We returned to Linda at Tigh Na Failte who is always very welcoming and managed to book the night in the small chalet at the back of her B&B which again provided for a nice comfortable stay. Travelling further north we now headed out to Inverpolly stopping on the way to have a look at Loch Cul Dromannan. The hills of Coigach and our hill for the day Stac Pollaidh (Polly) form a fantastic back drop to the loch.
Loch Cul Dromannan
The hills of Inver Pollaidh are fairly well isolated from one another which means that irrespective of which one you choose to climb it provides fantastic viewing of the surrounding hills and landscape. The area surrounding Stac Polliadh has been well managed and excellent paths lead the way up the steep hillside.
Stac Pollaidh across Loch Lurgainn
Views back down to Loch Lurgainn opened up as we ascended; a rising anticlockwise traverse then took us round to the shaded north side. From within the shadows we looked out onto the great Torridonian sandstone flanks of Cul Mor sitting on a raised terrace on the opposite side of Loch an Doire Dhuibh.
Cul Mor from Stac Pollaidh
After leaving the path that circumnavigates Stac Polliadh a short climb took us onto the summit ridge just west of the rounded eastern buttress. The main top lies at the opposite end of the 500 metre ridge along whose length lie a number of pinnacles and towers which provide for some entertaining scrambling. The last tower about 100 meters from the summit does provide a bit more of a challenge. We returned to the east side of this tower to enjoy our lunch before starting our decent steeply down the north side to pick up the main path. The sun was now dropping below the hills of Coigach and casting some long shadows across the south east leg of Loch Lurgainn and part way up the flanks of Cul Beag. The grasses covering the lower slopes were now showing a lovely autumnal orange as we eased our way back to the car park.
Cul Beag near sunset
We spent a pleasant evening over a pint and a dram at the Seaforth pub after a Haggis supper. Breakfast at the B&B was enjoyed while looking out over Loch Broom before we prepared ourselves for a walk up Beinn Enaiglair. After driving back east out of Ullapool we parked up at Braemore junction. Signs in the car park guided us to a style before a number of wooden posts led across some boggy moor land for around 2km to bring us onto a bridge that forded the burn just above Home Loch.
An Teallach across Home Loch
After shrugging off the interests of some mountain goats we continued along a wider track for a while.
Mountain goats below Beinn Enaiglair
Not able to locate an expected a fork we left the track and made our own way up the hillside tending toward the bealach between Beinn Enaiglair and Meall Doire Faid before taking a more direct line toward the top. A fine panorama to the south was filled with the mountains of the Fannaichs range and the serrated line of An Teallach further west.
An Teallach from Beinn Enaiglair
A grassy channel eased our way through the many boulders lining the upper slopes and onto the top as the huge bulk of Beinn Dearg came into view. An amazing dry stone wall runs almost perfect and unbroken up the north west ridge of Beinn Dearg to disappear out over the whitened summit plateau.
Beinn Dearg from Beinn Enaiglair
We talked about maybe descending to the west and follow a path around the north side of the hill but the dark icy shadows dissuaded us and we decided to stay in the sun and drop down to find the path from the bealach to the south. The slopes further down were made awkward by deepening heather but we were soon on the path that follows the burn running down to home loch. Just before reaching the wide track above the loch we found the fork in the path that we missed on our walk in. We should have left the main track on the way up to join a feint path following the line of the burn as it turned away right just before a dry stone wall. It was now a case of retracing our steps across the new footbridge above the loch and across the moor to the car park. After a quick clean up, change and a mug of tea and we soon were ready for the drive back to Aberdeen.
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