Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

The Harris Walkway, an attractive hiking option

7th September 2008

You would think that a trail passing through the countryside of Harris with its wondrous hills, glens and lochs would be well publicised. However, that does not appear to be the case for the Harris Walkway and I came across it while following tracks marked on my OS map during my explorations of Harris last month. Even finding a description of it on the web is not as easy as it should be. I did manage to locate an article written by Cameron McNeish for The Sunday Herald shortly after he officially opened the trail in 2001 when he was president of the Rambler’s Association in Scotland. Here’s an excerpt that gives you a good flavour of the route followed:

Start: A859 road just E of bridge over the Scaladale River. Grid Reference: NB186096.

Finish: A859 road near Seilebost. Grid Reference: NG090971.

Route: From the cairn by the side of the road follow the green track S past Caisteal Ard and Gormul Maaruig. The track rejoins the main road for a short distance before following a minor road to the bridge over the Abhainn Maruig. From here a track runs S over the Braigh an Ruisg and down to Urgha Beag from where it’s only a short distance to Tarbert. From there a combination of roads and paths run through Cadha, Diraclett, Kendibig, Meavag and Drinishader. From the head of Loch Plocrapool another track and minor road combination runs to Grosebay from where a green road runs over the hills behind Cluer and Stockinish. Follow the line of the Sgurran Ruadha dyke N until you meet the road again on the zigzags of the Uamh Ard. Follow the road down to the junction of the Stockinish road, turn right up the sign-posted track and follow it through the bealach to the A859 near Seilebost.

All in all, it’s a good twenty mile trek so splitting it over two days sounds eminently sensible. The trouble with trying something like this in one day is that you are rushing along and that Harris deserves much better than that. Leaving some time to take it all in is very much in the spirit of the island. Not having hoards following you or ahead of you like the West Highland Way in summer makes it easy to slow down and relax a little. From my experience, I reckon that the countryside through which you’ll be passing demands nothing else.


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