North Coast 500 Winter Break
Do you have a hankering for a north coast 500 winter break, or to climb some of Assynt’s great mountains in winter? If so the following is very much for you!
Moon Set Over Achmelvich Bay At Sunrise
Recently we spent a week in our lovely pods to do a bit maintenance and winter-proofing. We’d never been to Assynt at this time of year before, so were a little unsure of what to expect. Would it be too cold to have fun? Will our pods be warm enough? Would the pub still be open?!
First Snow Of The Winter
There is no getting around this one, it was cold. That didn’t stop us have a great time however. We saw some beautiful frosty mornings, that turned into mild, if short, sunny days. Being so far north it takes a little longer for the sun to show up (and it disappears a bit quicker as well). It’s worth the wait however, as the sunrises can be spectacular!
Sunrise Over Assynt’s Hills from Achmelvich
Top tips for a north coast 500 winter break are:
- Bring hats, gloves & warm clothing.
- Make the most of the daylight.
- Take care on roads, which can be icy where the sun does not reach.
- Watch for deer when driving, especially at night (they spend less time in the hills in winter)
Something we had not expected, but found to be a new and interesting experience, was frosty sand. Not only does it give the beautiful Achmlevich beach a fresh new look, but it was a whole new sensation to walk on. Crunch!!
Frosty Sand on Achmelvich Beach
Another surprise was to see the moon above the bay in the mornings. We’re used to seeing the sun set there in summer but have never seen the moon in that part of the sky. It was quite striking and allowed for some unique holiday snaps.
Our pods were scarcely ordered, let alone built & installed, this time last year, so we didn’t really know what to expect from them in cold temperatures. We knew that they were insulated and have underfloor heating. Would that cut it in the far north of Scotland?
Opposite of a Baked Alaska – Baking inside & frozen outside
The answer was a resounding yes! Temperatures were regularly below freezing outside, not that we could tell. In fact there were times at night when we were a little too warm and had to stick a leg or arm outside of the covers. We’d always hoped that our pods would be suitable for north coast 500 winter breaks, but now we can recommend it with total confidence.
The dark nights were also no problem. We quickly got into a relaxing routine of cooking a tasty meal & watching Netflix once the sun had gone.
We managed 2 hill climbs during the week. Low cloud scuppered our plan of climbing Conival & Ben More Assynt, but we able to summit a Corbett close to Quinag called Glas Bheinn. A comparatively short walk, but not lacking in the scenery department. We saw deer but not another human that day.
Summit of Glas Bheinn Looking North Towards Kylesku
What a day we had for climbing Stac Pollaidh. At this time of year the roads, mountains and area in general are much quieter than in the tourist season. We almost had the whole hill to ourselves and were treated to views of the coastline to the west & hills in every other direction. Suilven, Canisp & Quinag were seen to the north , Cul Mor & Cul Beag to the east & the Fiddler to the south.
Assynt hills from Stac Pollaidh Summit
What’s Stopping You?
If you’re pondering a north coast 500 winter break, we’d whole-heartedly recommend staying in our toasty pods. This counts for double if you favour quiet beaches, mountains & roads, above warm weather.
And in case you were wondering – the local pub was open, as it is all year round. Cheers!