Hebridean Way Walking Route Section E: Liniclate to Grimsay

Add Hebridean Way Walking Route Section E: Liniclate to Grimsay to your Itinerary

Benbecula: walker at Reuval
  • Benbecula: walker at Reuval
  • Benbecula: Rueval view
  • Benbecula: Reuval summit
  • Benbecula: walker on Liniclate beach
  • Benbecula: runners on Liniclate beach
  • Grimsay: causeway

About

ADVISORY AND DIVERSION ON THIS ROUTE

Height Climbed: 188m / 617ft

Height Descended: 180m / 590ft

Terrain: 4 miles on good paths, tracks or beach; 2 miles up and over Ruabhal, on small path then pathless hillside and moorland; 6.5 miles on tarmac roads, mostly quiet single track.

Sandwiched between North and South Uist and separated from both by treacherous tidal sands, but connected by casueways, a day spent exploring the island of Benbecula on foot, is a rewarding experience and the Hebridean Way takes walkers to some wonderful places that most tourists never see.

The day starts with some great Atlantic beach walking, a quintessential Hebridean experience, with the sound of seabirds filling the air and the sharp smell of seaweed ever-present.

Half way up the island the route branches out to the east side of the island. An easy climb up Ruabhal, the “hill of the fords” that gave Benbecula its Gaelic name Beinn na Faoghla, is rewarded with one of the most sensational views in Scotland.

The descent is more challenging than the climb, pathless terrain down through overgrown heather then over wet, boggy ground. The road is soon reached, however, and a fascinating walk along a beautiful causeway leads you to Grimsay. The route skirts the edge of this attractive little island, which is well worth further exploration if you have time to spare.

Note: The map below shows the end point of this section. 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.

 

Map & Directions

Route Waypoints
  1. Turn left at the entrance of the Dark Island Hotel and follow the driveway past the right hand side of the building.
  2. The track continues over a cattle grid towards the obvious large wind turbine.
  3. Just before the turbine an opening in the fence leads to a gap in the dunes. Turn right when you get to the beach.
  4. After about 0.5 mile (1km) the sandy beach ends, so head right onto the grassy dunes and go around the small headland.
  5. Once round the headland drop down onto the beach and thread your way through the mats of kelp seaweed that often cover the shore here. Kelp is still collected to day and used by crofters as fertiliser for growing crops of oats and barley on the machair.
  6. At the next headland the sand disappears and you will need to follow a grassy path for a short way.
  7. Once round the headline drop down again to the shore and follow the lovely sandy beach for 1 mile (2km). If the tide is too high, or if strong winds make a beach walk too exfoliating, make your way instead along the tops of the dunes.
  8. At the north end of the beach head up onto the dunes. Walk along the top of these until the road is reached near a small pier.
  9. Follow the single track north towards Balivanich.
  10. Just before the little settlement of Nunton a path heads left away from the road through the dunes and takes you to the beach at Culla Bay.
  11. Leave the beach at the north end via an obvious track that leads up and right to a small car park. Turn left here along the small road, then after 400m head right down another small lane to the main road.
  12. The Hebridean Way turns right at the main road. However, it is also possible to continue along the route by turning left and heading into Balivanich, the administrative centre of the Uists, which has supermakets, a bank and some nice cafés.
  13. After 300m turn left onto a small road signposted to Sliabh na h-Airde (Muir of Aird).
  14. Carry straight on at a road junction. If you have detoured through Balivanich you can rejoin the Hebridean Way here.
  15. Carry straight on at the crossroads. This is Market Stance - once a centre for agricultural trading on Benbecula. Today it houses a local authority recycling site.
  16. Follow the road over a cattle grid, where it turns into a good track leading towards the small hill of Ruabhal(Rueval).
  17. Soon you reach an attractive freshwater loch, Loch Bà Una. The small willows by its shore are often covered in bumble bees in early summer. At a tiny quarry turn left off the main track and follow a small path that climbs steadily up the hillside.
  18. For such a small hill (a mere 124m high) the views from Ruabhal are outstanding. The eastern shores of Benbecula are revealed as a spectacular, half drowned landscape with more water than land. To the north and south the two causeways linking Benbecula with North and South Uist can be seen. Until these were built in the mid 20th Century these were fords, only passable at low tide, with treacherous quicksand to catch the unwary traveller. The Gaelic name of Benbecula is Beinn na Faoghla, meaning "Hill of the Fords". You are standing on that hill right now...
  19. The way down off the hill follows pathless terrain to the north. Wooden marker posts show the way. If you get lost, just aim for the gap between the two obvious lochs in front of you.
  20. After 1 mile (2km) of increasingly wet walking over the boggy lower slopes of Ruabhal, the route eventually joins the minor road to Kyles Flodda. Turn left here.
  21. Turn right onto the main road.
  22. Follow the road over the North Ford causeway, grateful that travellers no long have to pick a precarious route through the quicksand. If you are crossing at mid-tide the sea will be racing through this little bridge - the only gap in this part of the causeway.
  23. The road makes the briefest of visit to Grimsay before heading on over another causeway to North Uist. Grimsay is an attractive, rocky little island that has a busy working harbour at Kallin on its sheltered east coast. It is well worth visiting Uist Wool - a spinning mill and wool centre. There are a couple of B&B's in Grimsay with some more accommodation a few miles north in Cairinish, North Uist.

Along This Route

  1. Uist Wool runs a spinning Mill & Wool Centre that specialises in creating artisan yarns…

  2. Remains of a wheelhouse dating back to the iron age can be seen in Grimsay.

Route Time -

5h - 6h

Distance -

13.5 miles

Grade -

Easy to Moderate

Terrain -

Other

  • Route Information - Terrain - Road. Tracks. Waymarked moorland.

Route Type -

Walk

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