Walking on Uist and Barra
40 coastal, moorland and mountain walks on all the isles of Uist and Barra
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.
Seasonssuitable for year-round walking, although probably best between April and August when daylight hours are long, and wildlife and wildflowers are most prolific
Centresthe principal centres are close to the ferry terminals: Castlebay, Barra; Lochboisdale, South Uist and Lochmaddy, North Uist. Balivanich, beside the airport, is the main service centre for Benbecula
Difficultywalks range in length from 3km to 17km (1 - 7 hours). Low-level walks, along beaches and across machair, are generally less demanding. Walks over moorland and hills are challenging and require good navigational skills
Must Seethe cliffs of Mingulay; the sands of Vatersay; Barra - Caisteal Chiosmuil; Eriskay - Coilleag a'Phrionnsa; South Uist - Beinn Mhòr; Benbecula - View from Ruabhal; Grimsay - Sea Eagle; North Uist - Scolpaig arches; Berneray - West beach
This guide offers 40 walking routes on the Uists and Barra - a unique 100km cluster of islands in Scotland's Outer Hebrides. The walks are varied and graded, from short, flat beach walks beside crystal clear waters to long excursions across wild mountainous terrain, the routes visit all the major islands from Berneray to Vatersay but also those smaller and offshore such as Eriskay and Mingulay.
Routes are described in four sections, by area, and illustrated with vivid colour photographs and OS 1:50,000 mapping. Walking across these landscapes, especially the hill country, gives a sense of remoteness and peaceful solitude that cannot be found in the mainland's National Parks or on the Munros busy with peak baggers.
Despite a relatively narrow area, Uist and Barra's diverse islands offer a contrasting walking terrain and many ancient historic sites such as chambered cairns and standing stones as well as lots of local wildlife. Upland areas are home to red deer and golden and white-tailed eagles, while along the coast grey seals are common and thousands of birds set up their breeding grounds in the machair. Daily flights between Glasgow and Benbecula as well as the ferry network mean that all of the islands are readily accessible.
Table of Contents
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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