KILT TIME & STAC POLLAIDH June 27

After last night, you’d have thought I would make sure the drapes were closed tight to keep the terribly early sunlight out. You’d be right. But I forgot to shut the bathroom door and there are no drapes in there. Hello 3:30 am! I hate you!

There were two things on our agenda today:

  • Get Chad measured for a kilt
  • Hike Stac Pollaidh

Not the most ambitious agenda, but we were hedging on how much hiking we’d do on Stac Pollaidh. If my knee held up, we’d make the final push of doom to make the summit, we’d do that. Otherwise we’d take the wussy trail and just enjoy a scenic hike and eschew the final climb of doom.

After a hearty breakfast of an insane amount of porridge, and by insane amount I mean as much porridge as I would eat in an entire week at home in one bowl, we stopped at Chisholm & Son’s Kiltmakers to get Chad measured for a kilt. The most adorable, sweet, utter delightful, older woman (Heather) helped us. Once Chad explained that he wanted a kilt using the colors of his University, she started rattling off all the different ones that had blue or gold in them. Chad settled on the MacLeod of Lewis pretty much right out of the gate.

While we waited for Mr. Chisholm to come back from parking his car I wandered around trying really hard not to touch every bolt of tartan and poke at all the finished garments (and deer head). I tried really, really hard.

In short order, Chad was measured and Heather explained how he needed to wear the kilt – giving me a squeeze she said she trusted me to make sure he looked proper. We promised to send her a picture of Chad wearing his kilt at “our University’s American football game”. I’m anticipating the kilt arriving in time for the cold weather games late in the season. I will be giddy when it shows up. Just giddy! (I’m sure Chad will also be excited.)

At the trailhead for Stac Pollaidh we headed out – and up – giving me terrible flashbacks to the Ben More debacle. I was also starting to sweat profusely; carrying 2 liters of water on your back will do that I suppose. So like last time, I was soon back to hiking in short sleeves.

The wind was insane and constant. And again, like last time, I was all goose fleshed and my arms were numb. So I put on my jacket. Ah. Relief. And then it started to rain. So we pulled out the rain jackets. And polar fleece hats. Because, of course. On the trail for 30 minutes and I’d already changed three times. (I’d like to take a moment and thank Chad for taking photos that make me look like a hiker who knows what’s up. Thanks, babe. I like looking like I know what the hell I’m doing!)

We hiked up the main part of the loop trail with no problem. And then we stopped and looked up. Oh the top looked so tempting. So very tempting.

But the Walking Highlands website described the final climb as requiring a “high level of scrambling expertise”. We did a little exploratory scramble and then decided, as we slid down off the loose rock that making the final push to the top was just not going to happen. So we did this instead.

I had no doubt that we could have gotten up without much damage, but the coming down seemed like it would be more treacherous than we were prepared for, not to mention I didn’t really want to ruin the rest of our trip by breaking myself completely.

We finished the loop, enjoying the views and the non-brutal terrain. It’s amazing how enjoyable a nice mild hike can be. Sometimes I forget.

From Stac Pollaidh, we drove over to the east coast, north of Inverness, to check it out. After all, we were relatively near and had no other plans for the rest of the day. We ended up on The Black Isle, which is neither black, nor an isle. Our end game was Cromarty since it was supposed to be an adorable little town and we needed food.

Unfortunately for us, most of Cromarty shut up shop at 5, which I am sure is quite nice for the locals. Fortunately we managed to find a pub that was open and had a super late lunch / early dinner. After food we had a nice little walk and enjoyed the view on the water. The big drilling platforms were quite disconcerting to me. So massive. So crazy massive. But the rest was quite lovely.

Winding our way through this little town on our way back to Drumnadrochit I spied the ruins of a cathedral. We stopped the car and rushed over to see it. What a strange thing it was. Even after we saw the image of the full Cathedral, the part that remained seemed odd.

Finally made it to our hotel and were quite pleased to see that since it was Saturday, there was live music – guitar, 2 fiddles, accordion and bellows pipes. Fun!

Clickity on the photos to make them full size. There are lots of lovely photos for your enjoyment! 

chris on June 27th 2015 in Travel

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