Walking on Uist and Barra

40 coast, moorland and mountain walks on all the isles of Uist and Barra

By Mike Townsend

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

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
12 Jun 2012
8 Nov 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.2cm
  • Overview

    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.

    • a variety of day walks across the islands from 3km to 17km
    • illustrated with OS map extracts and photographs
    • lots of information about wildlife, geology and history to accompany each route
    • other guidebooks for the Outer Hebrides include Walking on Harris and Lewis and Cycling in the Hebrides
  • Contents

    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)
    2 Benbecula
    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
    Beinn Mhòr
    Walk 3.5 Beinn Mhòr from Sniseabhal
    Walk 3.6 Beinn Mhòr from Taobh a Tuath Loch Aineort
    Walk 3.7 Taobh a Tuath Loch Aineort
    Walk 3.8 Stulaigh
    Walk 3.9 Gleann Dail bho Dheas
    Walk 3.10 Eriskay (Eirisgeigh)
    Machair Way
    Walk 3.11 Tobha Mòr
    Walk 3.12 Aisgernis/Cladh Hàlainn
    4 Barra
    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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  • Reviews

    '...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

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Mike Townsend

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.

View Guidebooks by Mike Townsend