On Stac Pollaidh's ridge

Stac Pollaidh from Loch Lurgainn

Hillwalking route up Stac Pollaidh from Loch Lurgainn

A short, very popular circular route following well-defined paths on Stac Pollaidh. Well-honed rock-scrambling skills will be needed to negotiate a 'bad step' to reach the highest point.

Route outline


Stac Pollaidh

Ascent 575m (1880ft)
Distance 5km (3m)
Time 2:00hr
Start/finish Loch Lurgainn
Grid Ref : NC108096
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Stac Pollaidh is a unique and very distinctive little mountain, standing isolated in the north-west highlands. This, combined with its proximity to the roadside, has made it a very popular hill during tourist seasons and a well-constructed path has been built to cope with the errosion.

The path climbs around the base of Stac Pollaidh and up its northern side onto its crest. Traversing the ridge is very enjoyable in fine conditions, though to reach the summit requires negotiating a 'bad step' which calls for fine rock-scrambling skills.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Loch Lurgainn

Gate below Stac Pollaidh

Gate below Stac Pollaidh

North of Ullapool, the A835 continues north-east through Coigach to Ledmore Junction. Around halfway between Ullapool and Ledmore Junction are a couple houses that make Drumrunie, immediately south of which a narrow unclassified road heads westwards towards Achiltibuie.

Turning onto this road, head for around 3km to Loch Lurgainn and then a further 4km above its eastern and northern shores. You'll come to the large car-park for Stac Pollaidh with welcoming sign boards.

2. Stac Pollaidh

At the bealach by Stac Pollaidh's eastern top

At the bealach by Stac Pollaidh's eastern top

From the large car-park, cross the road, head through a gate and begin uphill hiking through a wood on a well constructed footpath.

After climbing around 40m, the woodland is left behind and the path comes to a junction - take the right (east) fork. Shortly after the junction, the path comes to a gate in a deer-fence and once through, its onto open hillside following the well-constructed path.

The path meanders and climbs around the eastern base of Stac Pollaidh and as it turns north-west, comes to a split - take the obvious, but less well-constructed path on the left aiming due-west and climbing steeply uphill.

The path climbs and zig-zags up loose ground to a bealach by Stac pollaidh's eastern summit (spot height of 551m).

The eastern summit is a fine vantage point and a good place to stop for a breather.

Stac Pollaidh's highest point is on the opposite end of the ridge and between it and the eastern summit is a fair bit of rugged ground to contend with. There is an obvious boot worn path traversing the route, keeping below the crest in bits and switching between the north and south side of the ridge. Some of this is exposed, but there's nothing of any difficulty if keeping to the path. There are alternatives should you fancy a little fun scrambling.

That is until you reach the gap immediately below the highest and most westerly summit - there is a nasty little bad step to negotiate ! If you don't fancy scrambling up the step, then just before reaching it, there is a detour to another, slightly lower summit on which most people will be happy to call it a day.

I'd guess that in the dry, the bad step is an exposed scramble up a little tower verging on Grade 3 - most competent rock-scramblers should be able to climb up and down it without the use of a rope. A down-climb of the step will be needed on the return.

The awkward step on Stac Pollaidh

The awkward step on Stac Pollaidh

To climb up the bad step, keep slightly to the south of the crest, where there are a couple of vertical stretches leading up sandstone rock and onto safety. Once past the step, all that is left is a simple walk to the cairn on the summit .

The awkward step on Stac Pollaidh

The awkward step on Stac Pollaidh

3. Return to Loch Lurgainn

Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh's centre peak from the western peak

Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh's centre peak from the western peak

To return you could simply re-trace your route up.

Alternatively, a circular route can be made. To do this, return along the ridge to around halfway and get onto the north side of the crest. Head directly down the fall-line on scree to join a path by the remains of a fence. Turn left (north-west) and follow the path until it joins the main constructed footpath at around c500m. Aim west on this constructed footpath and follow it around the western base of Stac Pollaidh and back to the car-park.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Recommended map :

Harvey Mountain Map,
GPX file(s) :
Download GPX
of route
Always carry a decent compass.

Information on maps and GPX files is on this page.

Weather forecasts »

Alternative and nearby routes »

Cul Beag and Cul Mor

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Ascent : 1650m (5410ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 6:25hr

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Canisp from Loch Awe

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Time : 4:30hr

Breabag and the Bone Caves

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Ascent : 700m (2300ft)
Distance : 10km (6m)
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