How Stac Pollaidh inspired Alan Hinkes to head for the biggest mountains on earth.
"When you’ve climbed the world’s highest mountains including K2, Everest and Kangchenjunga, where do you go for your next mountain fix? “When I finished climbing all 14 of the 8000m peaks, people naturally asked me what was next,” says mountaineer Alan Hinkes. “No one expected me to say Stac Pollaidh.”
But if it wasn’t for this diminutive peak, located in the north-west Highland of Scotland, Hinkes may never have even pulled on a pair of climbing boots.
“I remember seeing the mountain when I was studying geography at school,” says Alan. “I thought it was fantastic-looking, but I realised I was going to need scrambling skills at the very least to climb it. In many ways, it was Stac Pollaidh that got me into climbing because I wanted to learn the skills required to get to the top.”
At a modest 612m, Stac Pollaidh is a long way off Munro status, but it has earned its place in the Trail 100 thanks to its castle-like ramparts. “It wasn’t until September last year that I finally got to the top, and there’s no doubt that you need scrambling skills to get tthere. It might be small, but we were treated to stunning views out across Inverpolly Forest across to Suilven and Quinag. It was definitely worth the wait and then, after we’d climbed it, we ended up walking across Scotland from Ullapool.
“People often ask me if I can really train for the Himalayas in Scotland, but I tell them that really it’s the other way round. I go climbing in the Himalayas so that I can enjoy walking in Scotland. They think I am joking... but I really mean it.”
Best route via the east from the car park at NC108095.
Video overview of Stac Pollaidh