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“You seem to be going awfully fast,” said the perspiring southern lady on the footpath to Stac Pollaidh, “would you pull me up?”

I smiled politely, but in reality I was both shocked and pleased to have realised that over the course of the week, my mental and physical fitness had increased, and here I was, alone, practically jogging towards the impressive sight that is Stac Pollaidh.

OK, so it’s a weener by comparison to everything else I’d done that week (just 631m – a Graham), and had been shunned by most of my friends who’d headed north to bag Ben Klibreck (well, ‘cept Lex who was more interested in watching the snooker!), but it was lots of fun.  After passing the tour party, and politely greeting the contractors working on the footpath as I passed them, I found myself pretty much alone on this cute conical hill, spiralling up higher until the path whittled away to nothing and I came to the conclusion that a bit of scrambling was the order of the day.  Soon afterwards, I’d made myself onto the rugged summit.  The sun was shining, I could see for miles, I was alone and free and happy – king of the castle, for a short while at least.

That evening, after celebrating the end of a great holiday by dining at a superb seafood restaurant, we found ourselves in a sparsely-populated bar which was holding a karaoke night.  After a bit of Dutch courage, we found ourselves in our element once more, as we took to the “stage” and began mauling some of our favourite tunes.  We did California Dreamin’, Hey Jude, Tequila, Angels, Daydream Believer, Chocolate Salty Balls, and others too painful to remember.  We were on fine form, and had a good laugh with the incredibly hospitable locals.  The SNP may keep harping on about “Scotland’s Oil,” but in my opinion the nation’s greatest asset is the people of Scotland, especially in places like Ullapool.  One day, when I’m tired of the rat race, motorways and shopping malls, when Yorkshire has descended into urban squalor, perpetual car crime and vandalism, I’ll consider retiring to the Highlands.  One day.

Published inHills
Copyright © Ian Fraser Nelson 2023