Hebridean Way Walking Route Section J: Tarbert to Scaladale

Add Hebridean Way Walking Route Section J: Tarbert to Scaladale to your Itinerary

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About

Height Climbed: 457m / 1,500ft

Height Descended: 430m / 1,412ft

Terrain: 6.5 miles on good paths and tracks; 2.5 miles on roads.

The section north of Tarbert is a short one – a welcome easy day after the long hikes from Leverburgh and Seilebost.

After enjoying the cosmopolitan delights of Tarbert, perhaps fitting in a visit to its beautiful new whisky distillery, a short walk along the road to Scalpay leads to the start of a fine path along the west shore of Lochannan Lacasdail. Before the days of tarmac roads this was once the main route north from Tarbert, threading an easy line through an otherwise impenetrable barrier of rocky hills.

After passing over the bealach (hill pass) at the head of the glen there are fine views of An Cliseam, the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides, as well as the Pairc hills on the east side of Loch Seaforth. These are in Lewis, the long trench of Loch Seaforth acting as the boundary between the two islands.

Head down towards the picturesque village of Màraig then up to the main road, before another excellent little track leads you to Scaladale. The Outdoor Centre here offers invaluable hostel accommodation, as well as all sorts of adrenaline pumping activities for the adventurously inclined!

Apart from the Hostel and a small B&B, there is not a lot of accommodation options. If the accommodation is full, an option may be to stay in Tarbert for an extra night and use the bus service to pick you up/drop off. 

The distances and timings above do not include any extra distance you may need to reach your accommodation for the night. 

Map & Directions

Route Waypoints
  1. Start the day by leaving Tarbert, following the road signposted to Urgha and Scalpaidh, passing the offices of the North Harris Trust. The Trust is a community charity that has owned all of Harris north of Tarbert since 2003. It is one of the largest community landowners in Scotland and does great work promoting economic development, building social housing and enhancing the environment of North Harris. Since its pioneering efforts in 2003 many other island communities have followed in their footsteps – these days the majority of the Outer Hebrides is community owned.
  2. Follow the road east, enjoying the fine views to South Harris and Skye.
  3. Shortly after crossing a cattle grid leave the road following a good path that descends quickly to the shore of Lochannan Lacasdail, the large freshwater loch in front of you.
  4. The excellent path along the west side of the loch was once the main route between Harris and Lewis.
  5. Once past the end of the loch the path climbs gently, past the steep, craggy hill of Sgaoth Aird on your left.
  6. On reaching the summit of the pass Lewis can be seen for the first time to the north.
  7. As the path descends An Cliseam (the Clisham) comes into view on your left. The highest peak in the Outer Hebrides, An Cliseam is also the islands’ only Corbett (a mountain over 2’500ft but less than 3,000 ft). It is easily climbed from the main road and gives spectacular views of Harris, Lewis and North Uist.
  8. Ignore the path leading off to the right and keep straight on, passing over a couple of bridges.
  9. Turn left at the road, admiring the views down to the village of Maraig at the shore of Loch Seaforth. If you were to turn right here you would eventually reach the even smaller village of Reinigeadal which in 1990 became the last village in Britain to be connected to the public road network. Until then, the only way in and out of Reinigeadal was on foot or by boat.
  10. When you reach the main road head right and walk along this for 500m, then turn left onto a section of old road.
  11. After 200m turn left again onto a good grassy path.
  12. Walk easily along this pleasant path under the steep slopes of Gormul Màraig on your left. The mountains on your right, on the far side of Loch Seaforth, are the Pairc hills in Lewis.
  13. After reaching its modest high point the path slowly starts to descend, passing several attractive little lochans along the way. The route down to the road is wet and boggy at times but the path is easy to follow.
  14. Turn left when you reach the main road.
  15. The white building ahead is the Scaladale Centre – an Outdoor Activity centre run by the Lewis & Harris Youth Clubs Association, and one of the very few places in this area where you can stay the night. It can be very busy in summer so make sure to book well ahead if you wish to stay here. There is a couple of B&B's, but if busy there is and an option to stay in Tarbert for an extra night and use the bus service to pick you up/drop you off.

Along This Route

  1. The first distillery in Harris has opened it's doors. The Harris Distillery is a working…

Route Guides

Route Time -

4h - 5h

Distance -

9 miles

Grade -

Easy to Moderate

Terrain -

Other

  • Route Information - Terrain - Paths. Tracks. Roads.

Route Type -

Walk

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