Hebridean Way Walking Route Section K: Scaladale to Balallan

Add Hebridean Way Walking Route Section K: Scaladale to Balallan to your Itinerary

Clisham
  • Clisham
  • Loch Seaforth
  • Aline Woods
  • Pairc Raiders monument

About

**Please note the diversion on this section.​​​​​**

Height Climbed: 415m / 1,363ft

Height Descended: 395m / 1,295ft

Terrain: 5.5 miles on good paths and tracks; 5 miles on wet paths or pathless moorland with waymarkers; 2.5 miles on roads.

Shortly after setting off from Scaladale you will come to a bridge that carries the main road across a small burn. This innocuous border marks the point where you move into Lewis, the 10th and final island of your epic journey along the length of the Outer Hebrides.

(Incidentally, if you’re wondering why Harris and Lewis are two separate islands when they are physically joined by 8 miles of land, the answer lies in the mountainous landscape you see all around you. Loch Seaforth and the North Harris hills formed a natural barrier between the two islands, separating them almost as effectively as if they were surrounded by the sea.)

After a few miles it is time to leave the main road and follow a good track through that rarest of things, a Hebridean forest. The Aline woodlands were an experimental forestry plantation established by the Forestry Commission in the 1970s. Nowadays they are managed by the local community for the benefit of walkers and cyclists.

At Aridh a Bhruaich the route heads out onto the moor for a detour along the west side of Loch Stranndabhat, one of Lewis’s most attractive freshwater lochs. The path is wet in places but easy to follow. On reaching Balallan you can either head into the village, where there are B&Bs and a small post office / shop, or follow an optional loop around Loch Cuthaig. The walking here is extremely wet, but the route does offer stunning views over the uninhabited peatlands to the north. PLEASE NOTE THE OPTIONAL LOOP AROUND LOCH CUTHAIG IS CLOSED AT THE MOMENT

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. Leave Scaladale and head north along the main A859 road.
  2. A small road bridge marks the land border between Harris and Lewis. On the right there are superb views down the length of Loch Seaforth which also forms part of the border between the two islands. Everything on the west side of the loch is in Lewis, whilst all the land to the south and east of this point is in Harris.
  3. After 1 mile (2km) you will reach a forest plantation. Turn left here onto the old road and follow this along the shore of Loch Ghille Chìopain.
  4. After 400m the old road ends. Continue on a good new path and follow this as it heads steadily uphill through the forest.
  5. The summit of Griamacleit is a mere 155m above sea level. For such a small height the views it provides are tremendous, stretching from the Loch Seaforth and the Pairc and Harris hills in the south to the flatter moorland of Lewis in the north.
  6. The excellent path sweeps down the hill in graceful bends, crossing the Abhainn Ruadh on a good new bridge.
  7. Just before the path reaches the main road, turn left onto a large boardwalk. Follow this through more forest, taking care if wet - the surface can be slippery.
  8. The boardwalk ends at the edge of the forest. Go through a gate onto a small path which quickly leads to the old road. Follow this as it heads north east, parallel to the main road.
  9. After 200m you will pass a sign for Airidh a Bhruaich (the village's English name, Arivruach, tells you how the Gaelic is pronounced). Immediately after this turn left onto a rough track and follow this as it climbs slowly uphill and away from the road.
  10. After 200m leave the track and head right onto a small path. The start of the path is not obvious - look out for a wooden waymarker post in the distance.
  11. Short stretches of surfaced stone path occur throughout this section and provide pleasant walking.
  12. The route heads along the remote west shore of Loch Stranddabhat.
  13. A new bridge crosses a large stream at the head of the loch. The path now continues along its north shore.
  14. Eventually a gate is reached - go through this onto a small path and follow this away from the loch and above the Abhainn Mhor (the Big River) which flows towards Balallan.
  15. Follow the path over a small bridge then continue along a rough track to a junction with another track. Turn right here and walk down the hill to the main road at Balallan. One of the longest villages in Scotland, Balallan has several B&Bs, a nearby hotel and a fine little museum and café in the old school.

Along This Route

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

Along This Route

  1. Islands: 2 (Harris, Lewis)
    Causeways: 0
    Ferries: 0
    Distance: 13 miles
    Route Time:5…

Route Time -

4h - 5h

Distance -

13 miles

Grade -

Moderate

Terrain -

Other

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

Route Type -

Walk

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