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Written by Graham Bradshaw of


Those of you who have read my previous blogs may have noticed that I’ve wanted to catch the aurora from the summit of Stac Pollaidh for a while. So, when I returned to work on the 3rd of January and realised that there was a clear sky forecast for the night of 4th January in Assynt, I started to think about taking a trip over to catch some stars. Before long I had booked the Thursday as a holiday and was leaving after work on the Wednesday for an adventure!


As you can probably imagine, this wasn’t the lightest of backpacks, so I was relieved to be setting out on a clear path that I knew quite well, and it shouldn’t take much more than an hour to reach the summit, even in the dark


On the drive over, the temperature gauge was hovering around the 2C mark, except passing loch Glascarnoch when it dipped to -1C. I expected this, and was confident it would be above freezing in Assynt. I was right. When I reached the carpark at the base of Stac Pollaidh at 8 pm, it was 3C, pitch black, and there was only a motorhome in the carpark. Occupants obviously in for the night, as I could see the internal light on.


I’ve often wondered what must go through the minds of people staying in deserted carparks when a car turns up in the middle of the night and car doors are heard opening and closing outside. I’m not sure I’d get a comfortable nights sleep with all the weirdo's around….


Anyway, I quickly got my boots on, pulled my fleece snood over my head, zipped up my down jacket, wriggled my rucksack on and set off up the mountain.





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Anyone that’s interested, my gear consisted of the following:


  • Berghaus Men's Ridgeway 75L Rucksack

  • Thermarest Neoair Xtherm mat

  • Snugpak Chrysalis 4 sleeping bag

  • Vango Banshee 200 tent (smaller footprint than my Quasar)

  • Snugpak Special Forces Bivvy Bag (In case I couldn’t find a big enough pitch for the tent)

  • 2 x Boil in the bag meals (Chicken Tikka and Sausages in Gravy)

  • 3 x Cuppa Soups

  • 1 x Chocolate Mousse Dessert

  • Pots

  • One of Chinas best quality petrol stoves from Ebay (BRS-8 Oil/Gas Multi-Use Stove)

  • 0.5 litres of petrol

  • 3 litres of water

  • Go pro camera (I never actually used it)

  • 1 x 30,000mAh lithium battery (To recharge camera batteries)

  • Dual usb charger for camera batteries

  • 1 x 15,000mAh lithium battery (for phone recharging)

  • Headtorch (Petzl Tikka RXP)

  • Spare headtorch (Petzl Tikka RXP)

  • Spare headtorch battery

  • Nikon D810 with Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 lens