Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Out of Assynt

I crossed to Tanera Mor, the largest of the main Summer Isles group, and as I approached, met quite by chance with friends  Simon and Liz who were travelling and paddling the north west.We enjoyed tea and home-made scones from the cafe (which is also the post office) whilst sitting in a sunny spot.  Soon it was time for me to go though - the weather to the south had clearly broken and we had a fairly long drive home through the rain.

The northwest corner of Scotland continued to hold the fair weather; Cul Mor formed a scenic backdrop as I paddled across to Achiltibuie (the name possibly translates as high yellow place), the village a line of white houses typical of the far north west and the Hebrides.

I soon arrived at the shingle beach and we packed up to drive home.  The paddling may have been over, but the road out of Assynt is one to savour....

Looking to Cul Beag from near Aird of Coigach.  I had a memorable but hugely long day one summer traversing Cul Mor and Cul Beag from Knockan on the main Ullapool to Lochinver road (main being a relative term hereabouts!).  The drop between the two hills is very considerable and there's tough going on heather and rock.  I recall the heat reflecting back off the sandstone and ending the day red and hot - a bit like the rock....

Across Loch Lurgainn, the rocky face of Sgorr Tuath rises sharply.  It's the truncated end of the ridge of Beinnan Eoin (hill of the bird - this usually refers to eagles).  The truncated spur beyond is Sgurr an Fhidhleir (pronounced "yealair" and meaning hill of the Fiddler), itself part of Ben Mor Coigach.  It's a complex and wild group of hills with no easy access, particularly from this direction.

Rising above the road in crumbling splendour is Stac Pollaidh.  This small hill is just 612 metres high (a shade over 2000 feet) but from here always looks much bigger.  From Cul Mor and Cul Beag you look down on its spiny summit ridge.  Stac Pollaidh may be short but it's by no means an easy hill to climb - though so many folk were doing so that it became one of few Scottish hills to really need remedial path work to ease the erosion of thousands of boots.

It had been a superb trip to this most dramatic and beautiful corner of Scotland.  Sadly, this was almost the last good weather for over six weeks - we were so lucky to have been able to take advantage of it.


  1. Nice shots!
    Have a great week!
    xoxo, Juliana

  2. Thank you Juliana and Leo, Assynt is possibly the most dramatic and starkly beautiful area in Scotland (possibly - there are a few contenders!)

    Kind Regards