Things to Do
Kilda Cruises, boat trips to St Kilda from the Isle of Harris
Sea arch, Isle of Harris
Kestrel – Sachin Nihcas
Looking for something less adventurous? Take a trip over to Taransay, Scarp…or if you prefer, take a trip around the cliffs of South Harris. This trip makes a pleasant day out and doesn’t involve the distance or the swells of St Kilda – you are also likely to spot some interesting wildlife.
Hiking in Harris
Eilan Glas Lighthouse, Scalpay
Birdwatching, the hills of Harris
Walks range from all-day routes in the high hills to shorter, lower-level walks visiting world-famous heritage sites.
Take the old track from Tarbert to Rhenigidale… Until 1990 and the arrival of the road, this was used daily to deliver the mail. Park in the lay-by in Urgha, and it’s about 7 miles over the hills, passing through a luscious fern oasis! If you book in advance, the bus will bring you back to Tarbert from Rhenigidale.
EILEAN GLAS LIGHTHOUSE
Take the bridge onto Scalpay and visit Eilean Glas Lighthouse… One of Scotland’s oldest lighthouses, completed in 1789 and now in urgent need of renovation. Drive through the village until you reach the beginning of a well-marked walk. This takes you over the moor to the lighthouse. It’s about a 4 mile round trip – enjoy!
FROM EAST TO WEST
Cross the Island from Seilebost to Stockinish on the East Coast… Watch the scenery change from a sandy west coast through heather, moor and mountain to a rocky east coast. This path follows the traditional “coffin track” which islanders on the east coast took to bury their dead in the sandy western soils. The path is signposted from the road.
There are many great walks which highlight the majestic scenery of North Harris… One of the more accessible options is to take the hydro-electric track (about 1km before Amhuinssuidhe Castle) north off the Huishinish road. Park the car when you reach a locked gate or the terrain becomes too rough and continue on foot. The track climbs into the mountains, skirts a number of lochs, and ends with a spectacular panorama and overhang over Lewis.
For experienced walkers, the Western Isles have no Munros (peaks over 3,000 ft), unlike Skye. The main attraction is its only Corbett (peaks from 2,500-3,000 ft) – An Cliseam.
There are two routes up from the A859, north of Tarbert. In South Harris, if you drive through the village of Northton and park at the far end, there is a great walk that leads out through the Machair to a ruined medieval chapel on the coast. The mighty outline of the mountain of Ceapabhal, which dominates South Harris, looks down on you the whole way.
If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a golden eagle gliding near the top. If you extend the walk up to the mountain’s summit, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views out to St Kilda and the Atlantic beyond.
Although the mountains on Harris might be outside the premiership in terms of height, they shouldn’t be underestimated – take advice and go fully prepared!