Author Topic: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!  (Read 3206 times)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #30 on: 12:12:35, 15/06/20 »
Day 12 of my treadmill trek of reminiscing on the Outer Hebrides, and a shorter walk this morning as I took an 8 mile detour to visit the Isle of Scalpay to the south-east of Tarbert. I couldn't not revisit Scalpay because I remember our walk around the island as being probably the wettest we've ever done.



It's not that it rained the whole time, although there were several downpours, but that the terrain was so extremely boggy which meant that we spent a lot of time trying to pick out the best way from one place to the next.

Our summer holiday of 2017 was our first 'dedicated' walking holiday and, with the exception of footwear, our gear was mostly from Mountain Warehouse. It wasn't really up to the job! Back then we used paper maps for our route-finding and kept them dry in plastic wallets. Here I'm putting my phone into its waterproof pouch:



Fairly typical of the terrain...



My wife trying to get around what's more of a pond than a bog...



...and again:



We went to the highest point on Scalpay - Beinn Scorabhaig - and my wife took a sort of selfie. Even the summit was mostly water!



But apart from the wetness, we loved Scalpay. Away from the road, the island felt incredibly rugged and wild, and the views were fantastic!  :)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #31 on: 13:21:33, 17/06/20 »
Day 13 of my south-to-north treadmill trek through the Outer Hebrides took me from Tarbert to the border between the Isle of Harris and the Isle of Lewis. It might seem strange to talk about a border between two 'Isles', but although they share the same landmass, they are very different in many respects and the high mountains and hills near the border used to be a very real barrier between the two communities.



When we stayed on Lewis in 2017, we'd only been doing walking as a leisure activity for less than a year and I persuaded my wife that we should try climbing a small mountain. I found just the place in the south of Lewis - Liuthaid, with its three summits at around 1600ft. Shouldn't be a problem.

We began by walking along a track to the east of Liuthaid looking for a place to start our ascent. There were no paths at all and, looking at the OS map now, I can see we chose as steep a route as possible. We zig-zagged our way up through the heather and rocks and I worked on the basic principle that up must be the right direction.

The weather was quite reasonable before we began the climb, but it soon started to rain and we went up into cloud and it got windy. Eventually, the terrain began to level off and we went in search of a summit cairn - our plan was to use it as a shelter from the wind and rain while we had a spot of lunch. Of course we hadn't seen a soul since we began the walk, nor did we expect to in that weather. We found the cairn... and there were two people huddled into the sheltered side!!

We greeted each other, but they weren't in a hurry to leave so (making sure the other pair were hidden behind the cairn!) I took a photo of my wife...



...and she took a photo of me:  :)



It wasn't too hard to find a second summit and we ate our sandwiches there. I think the cairn in the next photo was at the third summit, and that's me standing by a rock somewhere on the descent as the view starts to appear:



We'd ascended Liuthaid somewhere to the east and we descended to the south where I knew there was a path running east-to-west. We found it and headed off back towards the road a couple of miles away.

We had to make our way past the occasional group of cattle, like this one. Further along we negotiated a group that was obviously a family and the big daddy bull was lying across the track and not going anywhere. We went around!



Another encounter was slightly more concerning at the time. Two dogs joined us (there was still not a person in sight) and pestered us for food. One gave up and ran off, while the other followed us for a mile jumping up at our rucksacks all the way. Fortunately, the dog wasn't aggressive, but it was annoying all the same and we couldn't get rid of it.

It was some time before I could persuade my wife to try hill climbing again...  ;)

Mel

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #32 on: 21:31:54, 18/06/20 »
I've enjoyed my catchup on your reminiscing.  The bog hopping trip looks fun!
I'm tired of people bein' ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. - John Coffey, The Green Mile

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #33 on: 08:15:44, 19/06/20 »
I've enjoyed my catchup on your reminiscing.  The bog hopping trip looks fun!

Thanks Mel. It was fun, but I think that's often true when the conditions are a little more extreme than usual.  :)

(I'm on Lewis now and although we've done a few walks there, it's a big island and they're quite spread out. This morning's treadmill trek doesn't get near to any of them, so the next report will be in a couple of days.)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #34 on: 12:44:50, 21/06/20 »
With the Isle of Lewis having a relatively large area, the few walks we've done there are spaced well apart. That meant today's treadmill trek didn't come close to any of our walks, so I compensated by paying a visit to the cottage we stayed in.

It's called Eagle Bay Cottage and it stands near a cliff edge overlooking Loch Eireasort. The loch is a fjord-like sea loch on the east side of the island.



Eagle Bay was the first cottage of this style that we've stayed in and we absolutely loved it. It was wonderfully equipped, very luxurious and it felt really isolated.



It's very hard to spot on a satellite image.  :)



An evening view from the living room area:



Looking down to the loch from in front of the cottage. We often saw otters.



Perhaps we'll go back when things return to normal...

Mel

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #35 on: 18:03:55, 22/06/20 »
Bet you had some "atmospheric" views out of that window!
I'm tired of people bein' ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. - John Coffey, The Green Mile

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #36 on: 19:05:02, 22/06/20 »
Bet you had some "atmospheric" views out of that window!
The views were amazing; I remember watching what were probably buzzards soaring over the hills to the right and wondering if they were eagles...  :)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #37 on: 14:20:18, 23/06/20 »
I think this was Day 15 of my treadmill trek from toe to tip of the Outer Hebrides - I'm losing track!

The walk from the east side of Lewis to the west side was on a very long, mostly straight and level road, with uninteresting scenery that hardly changed for the first 9 miles. Not the most exciting way to spend a morning, although I knew what to expect because I remembered driving to Callanish a couple of times. 



On the first occasion we did two walks in one day, the first of which I'll mention here. I'll save a report on our second walk - around Great Bernera - for next time.

We parked in a car park near the site of the Standing Stones of Calanais and headed off to visit two other stone circles a mile-or-so away - saving the best 'till last. I think I'm right in saying that the three sites are sometimes called Callanish 1, 2 and 3, but after three years I've no idea which is which now.

So I'll call the first stone circle we found Callanish 1...  ;)



...and perhaps this one is Callanish 2:



By far the most impressive - as in, as impressive as Stonehenge - was the last group of standing stones. There were quite a few people at this site (compared with none at the other two sites), but we managed a couple of photos that make it look as if we had the place to ourselves:  :)





Next stop, Great Bernera!

Doddy

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #38 on: 16:43:00, 24/06/20 »
I walked the Hebridean Way two years ago and mostly wild camped. I stayed in one hotel when it was very windy and a flat tent pitch very unlikely till  late evening, if at all. I camped at the Howmore hostel as it was near full and very pleased I detoured to the hostel at Rhenigidale. I stopped one night in a Hobbit House at campsite near Caranish.
It is great walk. I had the weather and I do my Scottish trips in May to avoid the midges. I flew from Glasgow into Barra and out through Stornaway.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #39 on: 12:46:14, 25/06/20 »
I walked the Hebridean Way two years ago and mostly wild camped. I stayed in one hotel when it was very windy and a flat tent pitch very unlikely till  late evening, if at all. I camped at the Howmore hostel as it was near full and very pleased I detoured to the hostel at Rhenigidale. I stopped one night in a Hobbit House at campsite near Caranish.
It is great walk. I had the weather and I do my Scottish trips in May to avoid the midges. I flew from Glasgow into Barra and out through Stornaway.
Sounds wonderful. We've walked little bits of the Hebridean Way, but only by chance on other walks!  :)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #40 on: 12:48:00, 25/06/20 »
Day 16 of my treadmill trek from the very south to the very north of the Outer Hebrides began with a short ferry trip from Callanish to Linshader and from there I walked to the northern tip of Great Bernera. Our walk around the island in 2017 was one of the most scenic and interesting walks we've done in Scotland and the weather was good too, which helped a lot!  :)



Great Bernera is reached by a single-track bridge. As soon as we were on the island, we stopped to investigate some standing stones on the hillside:



Ruined houses aren't uncommon in the Outer Hebrides, but this one still had many of the owners' contents - including furniture, a radio and other household items.



The landscape and the views out to sea along the west coast were spectacular. We found our way by following occasional posts and cairns - good fun!





I used this photo for my PC wallpaper when we got back...



Just before the wide, sandy beach at the northern tip of Great Bernera, we came across a reconstructed Iron Age dwelling:



A cool, clear stream arriving at the sea. I spent a happy half hour trying to divert it, but without much success:



(The island behind my wife is Little Bernera.)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #41 on: 13:21:35, 27/06/20 »
Day 17 (I think) of my treadmill trek around the Outer Hebrides took me to Carloway on the west coast of Lewis. In 2017, we did a fairly long walk in this incredibly scenic area. I took loads of photos and it's been a challenge to select just a few to show what an amazing place this is.

My Street View treadmill treks are getting a bit shorter as my routine changes. I'm alternating them with outdoor walks and including some running, which I'm hoping to get better at! At the moment, I do a video running workout for 30 minutes before the Street View walk - and I'm running half-a-mile of the final mile of that. Anyway, that's my excuse for reducing the trek to 8 miles today!



A broch at Doune Carloway:



A real highlight of the walk was a visit to the Blackhouse Village at Garenin. We were able to go inside the blackhouses and get a feel for what living there must have been like - and not that long ago:



Leaving the village and heading down to Loch Garenin beach:



A panoramic view of the beach:



We followed the spectacular, rugged coast to a small lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula:







The lighthouse can just be seen in the top-left corner of the photo:



It's a long way to the area of our next proper walk, so I'm going to head to Stornoway first - where we've done some shorter walks. It's still a fair way though, so it'll probably be a few days before I add to the blog...

WhitstableDave

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #42 on: 14:30:56, 01/07/20 »
Only one walk remains of those we've done on the Outer Hebrides and that was at the northernmost tip of Lewis and a long way from my last treadmill visit which was at Carloway. So to extend my treadmill trek a bit further than was strictly necessary, I did a virtual walk across Lewis to Stornoway. The walk took two treadmill sessions and was on a very straight, mostly level, rarely used, single track road where the scenery hardly changed until the last mile as I approached Stornoway.



We've been to Stornoway several times and in 2017 we walked around the town for a couple of hours while killing time waiting for the ferry. Here are some photos I took of the harbour, the visitor centre and the castle:





Next, I'll head north to the Butt of Lewis. It will be another few days before my next report...  :)

fit old bird

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #43 on: 18:12:31, 01/07/20 »
Thanks Dave. This has been really useful as I am hoping to get there this year.
ilona

Mel

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Re: Walking the Outer Hebrides end-to-end - virtually!
« Reply #44 on: 18:28:36, 01/07/20 »
Enjoyed catching up on your latest reminiscing adventures.  After seeing so much wild and wilderness though, man-made structures seem almost like an intrusion!
I'm tired of people bein' ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. - John Coffey, The Green Mile