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Section G: Walking the Hebridean Way - Lochmaddy to Berneray or Leverburgh

Start: Lochmaddy, North Uist, Finish: Berneray or Leverburgh, Harris

Type:Hebridean Way Walking Route

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Length: 18km / 10 miles

Height Climbed: 301m / 987ft

Height Descended: 312m / 1,025ft

Grade: Moderate

Estimated time (without stops): 4 hours

Terrain: 5 miles following waymarker posts over pathless moorland; 5 miles on quiet single track roads.


The Hebridean Way leaves the Uists in style with this wonderful exploration of the island’s north east corner.

After a warm up of some gentle road walking and a short hike around the lower slopes of Blathaisbhal, it is time to head off along the minor road to Lochportain. This is one of the least visited parts of the Uists and is wild, lonely and beautiful country.

Just past a cattle grid the route strikes off over moorland, following the coastline to the lower slopes of Beinn Mhòr, the obvious hill in the distance. The terrain looks daunting but plentiful boardwalks and good waymarking makes the walking much easier than it looks.

Despite its name (the Big Hill in Gaelic), Beinn Mhòr is a mere 190m high and the ascent is much easier than it appears. On the way up take time to admire the fabulous views south over Lochmaddy and the watery landscape of North Uist. As you near the top equally amazing views open up to the north.

The waymarker posts show the way down off the hill and the route meets the road at Loch an Sticir, with its remarkable iron age island fort. A short section of road walking follows, with breathtaking views over turquoise seas, until a short causeway leads to the lovely island of Berneray.

You can stop here for the night or if you prefer, you can take the ferry to Leverburgh (1 hour) and stay in Leverburgh. Both villages have a good selection of accommodation.

The distances and timings above do not include any extra distance you may need to reach your accommodation for the night. For route instructions and a map of this section, see Detailed Route Instructions below. For accommodation, check out the What's Nearby section below.




The final day in Uist is a good one, taking you well off the beaten track and up a small hill for unrivalled views of North Uist and Berneray.

Walk Waypoints

  1. 1

    Leave Lochmaddy and turn onto the A865, signposted for the Sound of Harris ferry.
  2. 2

    At a sharp right bend turn left up a small track to a water works and go through a gate.
  3. 3

    Shortly after the gate the track bends sharp right - carry straight on here.
  4. 4

    There is no path but wooden waymarker posts guide you across the lower slopes of Blathaisbhal.
  5. 5

    Look out for a line of three small stones. These are Na Fir Bhreige or The Three False Men. There are several legends associated with these stones. One tells that are three men from Skye who cheated on their wives and were turned to stone. Another story has it that they mark the spot where three spies were buried alive...
  6. 6

    Continue across wet, boggy ground, crossing a couple of fences along the way. There are good views west and south to the watery and inaccessible interior of North Uist.
  7. 7

    After crossing increasingly wet terrain you will eventually reach a small track that runs along the west shore of a small loch. Whooper swans are often seen here in the spring.
  8. 8

    Follow the track to the main road and turn left.
  9. 9

    After 500m turn right onto a small road signposted for Loch Portain.
  10. 10

    The quiet single track road takes you into one of the remotest corners of the Outer Hebrides.
  11. 11

    Just before a cattle grid the Hebridean Way leaves the road and heads off left, following the shore of Bàgh Teileam.
  12. 12

    The going looks dauntingly wet, but marker posts show the way and plentiful timber boardwalks take you over the boggiest parts.
  13. 13

    Keep following the posts along the beautiful rocky coast. This is wonderful habitat for otters, so look out for the distinctive V-shaped wake they leave when swimming in the sea.
  14. 14

    The route curves north-west, following a long sea inlet, and leads to an impressive new bridge.
  15. 15

    After the bridge the route heads almost up to the summit of Beinn Mhor (the Big Hill). It looks like a tough climb but good waymarking makes the ascent easier than you might think.
  16. 16

    As you gain height the views behind you become more and more spectacular,
  17. 17

    The route keeps climbing almost to the summit of the hill. As you reach the high point more fabulous views open up, this time to the golden sands and turquoise beaches of Hornais and Berneray.
  18. 18Start to descend the hill but keep a good look out for a post with an arrow. Turn sharp right here.
  19. 19

    The route is now indicated by an obvious overgrown stone dyke (wall) which snakes its way down the hillside. The ground is generally drier on the downhill side of the dyke.
  20. 20

    Follow the heathery dyke is it turns sharp right.
  21. 21

    Leave the dyke here and veer right, following the posts to the road.
  22. 22

    On your left is Dun an Sticir, one of numerous island forts throughout the Outer Hebrides. Like many island duns, Dun an Sticir is connected to the shore by a stone causeway. It is possible to balance across this - but be prepared to get wet. Originally the site of a 2,000 year old Iron Age broch (a circular fortified tower) the island was re-occupied in the 16th Century when a new hall was built inside the remains of the broch.
  23. 23Turn right along the single track road. Whilst walking along the road admire the views to your left - on a sunny day the colours of the shallow seas around Berneray are stunning.
  24. 24

    Turn left and walk over the causeway to Berneray.
  25. 25Turn right at the end of the causeway for the ferry terminal. If time allows, however, carry straight on and take the next right into Berneray. This tiny island is a great place to spend a few hours. The beaches on its west side are famously beautiful. There is also a pleasant café and some stunningly restored thatched cottages at the far end of the bay. One of these is a hostel. There is B&B and hostel accommodation available on the island.
  26. 26If you decide to take the ferry over the Sound of Harris to Leverburgh – a strong contender for Britain’s most spectacular ferry journey – the village of Leverburgh is a fine introduction to the Isle of Harris. There are lots of accommodation options including B&B's and a bunkhouse. There is also a local shop and restaurant.

Map & Directions


What's Nearby

  1. Kinloch Historical Society is located on the main road between Stornoway and Tarbert,…

    36.6 miles away

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