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Walking the world, without leaving home!

Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Gillzajoker » 08 Jun 2020 10:22

Amazing photos Dave, and a fabulous beach - but the weather certainly looked grim. :D
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Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Dave » 09 Jun 2020 13:15

Day 9 of my treadmill trek from bottom to top of the Outer Hebrides saw me crossing from Berneray, an island north of North Uist, to Leverburgh at the southern end of the Isle of Harris.

We stayed for a week on Harris only last summer and we'd also done a couple of walks there two years before when we were based on Lewis, so it's the part of the Outer Hebrides that we know best.

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The cottage we stayed in last year is just over a mile south-east of Leverburgh, so I just had to head that way. The cottage is called Blacksheep House and it's absolutely fabulous - a renovated and extended Blackhouse situated right on the edge of a tidal loch. The roof is grass, so the cottage is quite well camouflaged! (It's in the left of the photo.)

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The view from the lounge in the evening as the tide is starting to come in:

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We did two walks directly from the cottage. On the first, we visited St Clement's Church at Roghadal - a restored castle-like building containing several MacLeod tombs. Then we headed up the road where the VW van is going...

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...until we found a suitable place to start the climb up Beinn Na h'Aire, a biggish hill. Here, we're part way up and there are midges around. We came prepared! :)

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Nearing the summit, it was windy and cloudy and starting to rain. We sat out the rain then descended to Loch Thorsagearraidh which we skirted on our way back.

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Our second walk straight from the cottage was to Renish Point, a peninsula at the extreme southern tip of Harris. It's not far from the cottage so we made a walk of it by going to Leverburgh first, and then Rodel. The peninsula was very exposed, it was very windy and it rained quite heavily. And the ground was very boggy too. Great fun! :)

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Next stop... the Coffin Road!
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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Gillzajoker » 10 Jun 2020 08:25

Fabulous views, Dave - but they'd have been out of this world if the sun had been shining! :D
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Postby Dave » 11 Jun 2020 13:03

Day 10 of my treadmill trek through the Outer Hebrides took me from the east coast of Harris to the west coast.

At roughly the 1 mile mark on the map, I passed the spot where my wife and I have parked to start two walks - or rather to do the same walk in opposite directions. In 2017, we followed a track called the Coffin Road from the east coast to the west coast and returned along another track to the north. Last summer, we did almost exactly the same route but anticlockwise. On the map, the Coffin Road takes a more-or-less direct line between the 1 and 7 mile markers.

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The track is so-named because the terrain on the east side of the island is extremely rocky and not suitable for graves, so coffins were carried across to the west side where the ground is less rocky.

Last summer, we did another walk near today's route, which was mostly on the incredible sandy beaches between Seilebost and Luskentyre. But first though...

...The Coffin Road: In 2017, the weather was sunny and clear. Last year, it wasn't, so I'll use that walk for the more atmospheric (and probably more typical) photos:

The rain, a great many lochs and lochans, soggy ground and no wind meant midges - millions of them! But the walk was still fantastic and took us through the lunar landscape that is so typical of Harris.

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My wife in her anti-midge net:

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One of hundreds of streams we passed:

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Me on a soggy, rocky Harris!

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That walk came very close to the walk we did between Seilebost and Luskentyre last summer:

Although the forecast was for rain, it was warm and sunny all day. Perfect for a stroll along miles of beaches! :)

We didn't bother with a planned route because where we could go depended greatly on the tide. The tide was quite high which meant that less of the vast expanse of sand was visible than it might have been, but the beaches were still unbelievably amazing!

Here we're about to set off along the first beach:

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Expecting rain, my wife wore her new waterproof socks - and tested them with a paddle:

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We headed inland a little way and up a small hill to visit a standing stone:

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The campsite at Seilebost:

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Despite the highish tide, we were able to get a long way out into the bay:

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We mostly followed the road back to the car and the views were unbelievable. If there's a more incredible place in the British Isles than Seilebost, we've not seen it yet!

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Last summer, we also did a walk on the hills near Luskentyre that can be seen in the distance, but I'll save that for my next update. :)
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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Re: Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby rdw123 » 12 Jun 2020 07:32

Lovely photos Dave. I agree with you the beaches and scenery up on Harris are fantastic. I wouldn’t want to be going for a dip though, even our old dog who went swimming in all conditions wouldn’t go in for long up there! Enjoying your virtual walks.
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Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Gillzajoker » 12 Jun 2020 09:21

Wonderful photos, Dave and the sea and beaches ones were terrific. The rocky moorland type
pictures reminded me of an area not far from where we used to live in West Wales. It was aptly
called The Valley of Desolation. :D
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Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Dave » 12 Jun 2020 15:35

Thanks again for your replies, they're greatly appreciated! :D

I went for an outdoor walk this morning to Canterbury to collect my car from the garage. It was 7 miles, so I thought I'd do a shortish treadmill trek this afternoon because I'm really enjoying revisiting the Outer Hebrides, and Harris in particular. :)

Yesterday, instead of heading north along the main road to Tarbert, I went to Seilebost in the west and beyond because we did a couple of walks around there. We also did a walk across the hills on the north side of Luskentyre Beach, so today I did a virtual walk from there back to where I turned off yesterday.

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The beaches in the Outer Hebrides have to be the best in the world and they're usually deserted. One day, we took a chance on the weather by walking a moderate ridge overlooking Losgaintir Sands where the views are said to be unbelievable. The plan was to take in the views and return along the sands, making a 9 mile loop.

Heading up to the start of the ridge... so far, so good:

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And then we walked along the ridge to the highest point, Beinn Dhubh, by way of Beinn Losgaintir, and saw nothing but cloud and the ground around us the entire way. Three miles of wind, rain and cloud - oh well, never mind! We sheltered for a short while before descending to get some actual views lower down:

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It's always quite amazing when it happens... one minute you can't see anything and then there it is. Sadly, the photo doesn't do the scene justice:

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We found our way around the headland (visible in the previous photo) to the beach and walked along the vast white sands for a couple of miles before returning along a road to the car - fantastic!

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Next time I'll start from where I finished today and head north to Tarbert. We visited Scalpay in 2017, so I'll pop down for a visit...
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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Gillzajoker » 13 Jun 2020 13:24

Those photos, and others of their ilk, tend to make me feel really relaxed looking at them! :D
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Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Dave » 13 Jun 2020 16:16

Day 11 of my treadmill trek from toe to tip of the Outer Hebrides took me to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris. I'd planned to get to Scalpay today, but a real-life walk this morning meant that 5 miles would be plenty this afternoon!

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We've driven through Tarbert lots of times and stopped occasionally for coffees and to do a bit of shopping. My wife loves Tarbert because, unsurprisingly, it's a very good place to find Harris Tweed and, in particular, Harris Tweed handbags. Here are a couple of photos from last summer... :)

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I've just noticed Urgha on the map to the east of Tarbert. We began a fantastic walk from there last year, so I'll include a summary here (borrowing from a previous report)...

This was very much a walk of three thirds with the first section being breathtakingly dramatic and remote, followed by an easy middle section towards Maraig, and a final section that included walking alongside a long loch.

On the way to Rhenigidale there's an extremely steep descent down a zig-zag path. I'd read beforehand that some find it okay while others find it very scary, and my wife really struggled with it. It didn't help that it was raining and the surface underfoot was quite slippery. Here we're just starting down:

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And here we're on the other side of Gleann Trolamaraig looking back, with a small bit of the zig-zag path to the top-left. Coming down is always harder than going up!:

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Just before Rhenigidale we passed through the ruins of a former settlement:

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Midges were far more in evidence this year than previously!

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Next stop - Scalpay and possibly the wettest walk we've ever done. :)
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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Re: Walking the world, without leaving home!

Postby Camela » 13 Jun 2020 21:44

I remember the lovely tweed bag! I picked a small one up in a local charity shop earlier this year, brand new with tags!!
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
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