Even though it is sealed smooth with tarmac, the extreme bends of Harris’s Golden Road tend to keep traffic to a minimum on this winding single track route through Harris’s rocky East Coast.

It’s widely assumed it got its name because of the construction cost - If it cost that much then it must be made of gold! – but like much island folklore that is disputed.  Local historian, Bill Lawson says the name officially relates to the first sealed road in Harris, built in the years after World War Two, as a safety measure after many accidents as people waded across rivers to get home.  But others say it originates with the earlier road into the Bays, and it is a widely used term for the entire length of road along Harris’s East coast.  Roads like much else cause much discussion in the islands.

What it lacks in traffic it makes up for in scenery and wildlife.  There is a wide range of birdlife to spot, and even seals basking on the rocks of the coast. Supposedly the views are better from the south (something else that splits opinions).

Loch Huamabhat is one of the many picturesque lochs to be seen on this road, surrounded by ancient gneiss, a grey coloured stone with strips of white and dark minerals contorted by the earth’s pressure, which is the bedrock for much of the islands, but is most visiable in this area.   

Progress will not be fast in any case, but there are plenty of  local art galleries, Harris Tweed Weavers, and crafts people to  slow you down further.  And then there is that ever-changing scenery, with views back over the Skye.  Each time you pull into a passing place, it feels like you need just one more. 

Related