Sunrise from Stac Pollaidh 2nd July 2016

July 03, 2016  •  2 Comments

With the weekend weather forecast to be rubbish, the only glimmer of hope on the forecast front seemed to be Friday night, which was forecasting pretty clear skies and hardly any wind in the far northwest of Scotland. Therefore, in order to get out somewhere, I decided to climb Stac Polliadh for the sunrise at 4.25am on Saturday.

In order to be there in good time, I left the house at 12.30am for the 90 minute drive to Stac Pollaidh. I'm not sure what it is with deer and deserted roads, but they seem to be drawn to roads like a magnet in  the early hours of the morning. I had to slam on the breaks twice on the way over to avoid a deer, the second one was a pretty close call.... They were all over the place. Especially around Loch Glascarnoch.

Arrived at the Stac Pollaidh car park at 2am and I thought that it would take 90 minutes to get to the summit ridge, that would give me an hour to prepare for sunrise, find a good spot and capture the changing light.

It actually only took me an hour to get to the ridge so I was a little bit early. I've just bought a GoPro camera for timelapse. Primarily for when I'm camping out under the stars (So I don't miss anything), so I thought I'd try it out for a couple of hours through dawn. First thing I did was to set it up and start it taking a photo every 10 seconds. It ran from 3am to about 5am, so about 20 minutes after sunrise. It looks fantastic, but I just wish I'd left it running for another 30 minutes or so as it looks a bit 'cut off' as soon as the sun appears. Here's what it turned out like:

Sunrise from Stac PollaidhMy first try at Timelapse. I wish I'd left it running longer as it looks cut short even though it stopped about 20 minutes after sunrise. I'll know for next time!

Once the timelapse was running, it was time to find a good vantage point for the sunrise. I had wanted to get photos from the east summit, as well as some with the rocky formations in the foreground from further west. So, as the East is easy to get to, I wandered up there to start getting some photos. There was a little bit of a cold breeze so I was glad I had decided to wear a fleece under my jacket. I zipped up and pulled on my snood to keep warm. It was still an hour to sunrise and I had been hoping for lots of pinks and oranges right across the sky, but it didn't look like it was going to be like that this morning. Not enough clouds, or maybe the wrong time of year. I'm not sure. However, I started taking some pictures across to Suilven, Canisp and Cul Mor, where the best of the views were:

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Looking east towards Cul Beag, it was clear that to get the best view of it would meaning climbing down, then scrambling back up to the furthest easterly point. 

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I wasn't sure how long that would take, and I didn't want to miss things if the light started to change suddenly, so I took a walk with the tripod over to the west. It's a tricky route up to the west side and a couple of years since I did it. After a couple of failed attempts up 'the wrong gully' I decided again that this would be for another time. It would likely be difficult to find a decent tripod site with so little time left before sunrise, so I took a couple of photos and headed back over to the east summit where I remained until after sunrise. Before I had left the house I had been telling a friend that I had planned to climb Stac Pollaidh in the dark to watch the sunrise. Not sure she quite believed me so I thought a 4am text was appropriate (Just to let her know I was safe..... :) ). I don't think she had her phone by her bed though......

Looking West: Graham_Bradshaw

 

Looking East: Graham_Bradshaw

     As the sun continued to rise, I just kept taking photos as the light changed, walking back and forth through the same positions as the scenes were constantly changing. I must have about 30 photos of Cul Mor! The sun was expected to rise right between Suilven and Cansip, and that was where the light seemed be strongest.  I kept having to dial down the exposure of the camera to stop areas being 'washed out' with overexposure. The sun eventually peaked through, and although it wasn't a spectacular sunrise, it was nice enough. Certainly much better than a cloud covered pea soup that I had half been expecting!

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And some obligatory panoramas: Graham_Bradshaw Graham_Bradshaw Graham_Bradshaw

Graham_Bradshaw and as the sun rose higher in the sky, I decided it was time to call it quits. It was 5am and time to head back to the car. This walk is becoming quite familiar to me now and before I knew it I was crossing the road to the car. I felt something touch my face and stopped. It was starting to rain. I couldn't have timed it any better. Literally 10 feet from the car and it started to rain. It started pelting down on the way home.

Serendipity!

 


Comments

Dawn(non-registered)
Stunning! Travelling a fair bit with work at the moment.. So it's great to see some Scottish scenery! I've been a million miles away from there recently! Lol So great to see dx
Old man(non-registered)
Lovely shots as always. For me the panoramas are the best
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