Walking on Uist and Barra
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A guidebook to walking on the Uists and Barra, in the Outer Hebrides - with 40 graded day walks on Berneray, North Uist, Grimsay, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Barra, Vatersay and Mingulay. Routes range from easy beach walks to mountainous excursions and explore rugged hills, awesome sea cliffs, moorland and lochs.
- best visited in the spring and summer, when the daylight seems endless and the coastal machair is ablaze with the blooms of wildflowers
- Balivanich on Benbecula, the location of the main airport, and also the ferry terminals at Castlebay, Lochboisdale and Lochmaddy
- varying distance and severity, from short, low-level beach walks to serious excursions across wild, mountainous terrain requiring sound navigational skills; all routes graded to aid selection
- Must See
- the white sands of Berneray, the lochs of North Uist, the hills and machair of South Uist, the romance of Eriskay, the fearsome cliffs of Mingulay and the iconic Kisimul Castle in Castlebay on the Isle of Barra
Located on the edge of north-west Europe, the islands that make up the southern end of the Outer Hebrides are places of staggering contrasts: rugged hills, shell sand beaches, awesome sea cliffs, caves and arches, moors and lochs. Although relatively accessible by air and by sea, much of the archipelago still remains unspoilt. Few who go there venture far from the roads.
The 40 graded day walks described in this guide take in the full range of terrain in this unique island group visiting Berneray, North Uist, Grimsay, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Barra, Vatersay and Mingulay.
This guidebook includes a selection of easy, coastal walks along beaches and cliffs but also some wilder and mountainous routes further inland, on Uist and Barra and on the offshore islands.
Geology and geomorphology
Plants and wildlife
Accommodation and facilities
Using the guide
1 North Uist
Walk 1.1 Berneray (Beàrnaraigh)
Walk 1.2 Udal
Walk 1.3 Crògearraidh Mòr
Walk 1.4 Lochportain
Walk 1.5 Lì a Tuath and Lì a Deas
Walk 1.6 Langais
Walk 1.7 Burabhal
Walk 1.8 Eabhal from Loch Euphort
Walk 1.9 Eabhal from Cladach Chairinis
Walk 1.10 Grimsay (Griomasaigh)
Walk 1.11 Scolpaig
Walk 1.12 Hogha Gearraidh and Hosta
Walk 1.13 Balranald Nature Reserve
Walk 1.14 Baleshare (Baile Sear)
Walk 2.1 Borgh
Walk 2.2 Culla Bay
Walk 2.3 Ròisinis
Walk 2.4 Ruabhal
3 South Uist
Walk 3.1 Loch Sgioport
Walk 3.2 Uisinis lighthouse and Nicolson’s Leap
Walk 3.3 The Northern Corries of Thacla
Walk 3.4 The Three Peaks
Walk 3.7 Taobh a Tuath Loch Aineort
Walk 3.8 Stulaigh
Walk 3.9 Gleann Dail bho Dheas
Walk 3.10 Eriskay (Eirisgeigh)
Walk 3.5 Beinn Mhòr from Sniseabhal
Walk 3.6 Beinn Mhòr from Taobh a Tuath Loch Aineort
Walk 3.11 Tobha Mòr
Walk 3.12 Aisgernis/Cladh Hàlainn
Walk 4.1 Barra’s northern peninsula
Walk 4.2 Cliaid
Walk 4.3 Allathasdal
Barra’s central hills
Walk 4.4 The Barra Watershed
Walk 4.5 Barra’s highest hills
Walk 4.6 Central Barra
Walk 4.7 Dùn Bàn
Walk 4.8 Dùn Bàn and Beinn Tangabhal
Walk 4.9 Vatersay (Bhatarsaigh)
Walk 4.10 Mingulay (Miùghlaigh)
Appendix A Glossary of Gaelic and Norse terms
Appendix B Route summary table
Appendix C Further reading
Appendix D Useful information
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'...the author includes snippets of history and folklore. Being a geologist, he also does not overlook the rocks which form this landscape at the edge of Europe.'
Canoeist Magazine, November 2012
Mike Townsend's love of the outdoors began with teenage walking holidays in the Lake District and Snowdonia. Later, at Edinburgh University, he began exploring the Highlands, and in 1969 first glimpsed the Uists and Barra from Skye. After graduating in Geology, he was a freelance mineralogist during the 70s, which involved extensive travel and occasional mountaineering in South America and Australasia.
Mike moved to Barra in 1980 to become a Geography teacher, relocating to Benbecula in 1988. He has spent many periods since then, even more since retiring in 2010, exploring the islands, particularly their more remote, unfrequented areas.
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