The weekend of 26-27th November brought deep depressions off the Atlantic bringing a fair bit of rain and some strong winds to the Highlands. There was a coating of snow to low levels on the Friday night which receded on Saturday before lowering a touch again on Sunday. The weather on Sunday wasn’t exactly inspiring for the tops so I decided to head for the west coast and see if there were any wild coastal views. Travelling through Ullapool and Assynt I ended up near Lochinver and decided to make for the famous Old Man of Stoer, a stack I’ve not seen since childhood. The sea was wild though perhaps not quite as wild as I’d hoped for.
The Cal Mac Ullapool – Stornoway ferry heads down Loch Broom towards stormy seas in The Minch. Beinn Ghobhlach towering behind. Probably quite an entertaining day for it.
Wild seas off the Assynt coast across the mouths of Achmelvich Bay and Loch Inver from Lewissean Gneiss crags just south of Clachtoll. Soyea Island is the island in the middle distance on the right.
Waves crashing onto the rocks just south of Stoer lighthouse. The sea was much more fierce than some of the photos would suggest. The tide was low at the time and this has probably had an effect.
The car park just south of the lighthouse is the best place to start the walk along the cliff tops to the Old Man of Stoer.
A view back south to Stoer lighthouse from the cliff tops on the way to the Old Man. A boggy path marks the most trodden lines along the coast.
On the walk along the cliff tops from the lighthouse to the Old Man I was frequently blasted by spray from waterfalls flowing uphill in a landward direction!
The Old Man of Stoer from the cliff tops directly above. The cliffs are fairly steep down to the foot of the stack and in the blustery wind I didn’t hang around for too long before heading towards the Point of Stoer further north to get better angles for photos of the stack.
Right on the western slopes of the point I found two different perches to soak up the wild atmosphere with the westerly wind blowing strongly and the waves thundering in. I must have spent about an hour here watching and photographing the sea and the light changing as the sun descended behind clouds on the south westerly horizon.
The photo above was taken from an exposed, elevated position on the cliff edge and that below from a Torridonian Sandstone terrace much lower down and closer to the waves, gained by an atmospheric easy scramble. I can’t decide whether I prefer the lighting of the view above or the better angle and greater expanse of sea in that below!?
Darkness gathered as I made my way back along the Stoer peninsula until the lighthouse came back into view with its beam now switched on and doing its work. What a tiny feature on the edge of such a vast ocean.
Jason Bonniface, 29/11/2011