Date: Saturday 23rd September 2017
Weather: Breezy, good air clarity
The weather has not been kind. Two weeks off at the start of September on Harris and in Torridon had delivered no real high quality days outside day 1 (on the ferry) and day 16 (home already).
The weekend didn’t look great, other than the far NW Highlands. A long way, but we needed some views.
Set off in the dark from Inverness, arrived in Assynt a little after sunrise. Summer’s long days do make it hard to be out as the sun rises. Autumn sees a welcome return to dark and low-light conditions.
Parked up at the layby just past Knockan Crag. Cul Beag was lit in early morning syrupy light.
Booted up and off up the stalkers path, decent views south to An Teallach:
It’s a decent path at the start:
The windspeed was lower than we’d expected, just a breeze to start. The sun was warming as we headed uphill.
Finally a properly decent, sunny day on the hill. You can feel the batteries charging.
As you reach the shoulder of Meallan Diomhan there is a view to Suilven:
We took a wide line north then curving round to SW to maximise the views after Meallan Diomhan. There is now evidence of a path and a cairn line, which I don’t remember from our previous visits.
Once on the NE ridge of Cul Mor, views open up to Suilven, and beyond that to Quinag, Ben Stack, Foinaven and Arkle.
Ben Stack, Foinaven and Arkle:
Quinag, Canisp and north:
Canisp, Ben More Assynt and Breabag:
The ridge culminates in a steep, and rather mossy slippy, ascent to the trig point. At the top the southerly wind, from which we had been sheltered, was more noticeable.
The views to Coigach are excellent.
To the north Suilven is the main eye-catcher with the hills further north bonuses.
We headed off the summit (which was getting intermittently fogged) and headed for the north-western arm of Sron Garbh, which we had not previously visited.
Some lovely sandstone architecture on the way.
The northern outlier is well worth the walk. The perspective on the Coigach hills shifts to a lovely, symmetrical framing between Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh.
Stac Pollaidh seems very close.
Sat and had lunch, and absorbed the views for an hour. Eventually decided to head back.
Wandered back around the best viewpoints before heading back to the main summit.
We watched a crèche of ravens entertaining themselves in Coire Gorm on the way back – they seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Wandered back to the bealach between the summit and Creag nan Calman, the views are superb.
Just off the bealach there is a lovely wee nubbin, recognised that from past visits.
Wandered out to the nubbin – the Shiants were visible out past Stac Pollaidh:
Turned to head back. The nubbin:
Dropped down the easy slope of the coire between the main summit and Creag nan Calman. Ben More Assynt/Conival shows well out to the NE:
Reascended Meallan Diomhan and headed back for the car:
Followed the outward route back. The sunshine held nicely, although the wind was picking up.
Spotted a number of Broom Moth caterpillars – a sure sign that autumn is proceeding.
Back to the car, we had a wee sneeky wander at Knockan Crag before turning south. Stopped at Ullapool for a refuel with Cullen Skink from the Seafood Shack (sublime) before heading on back south.
Assynt in autumn sunshine…batteries recharged.