Hebridean Way Walking Route Section L: Balallan to Stornoway

Add Hebridean Way Walking Route Section L: Balallan to Stornoway to your Itinerary

Stornoway Harbour from Lews Castle Grounds
  • Stornoway Harbour from Lews Castle Grounds
  • Mick Blunt
  • Laxay - Harris hills
  • Laxay
  • View from Achmore
  • Traffic on Pentland Road
  • Pentland Road Sheiling
  • Hebridean Way monolith in Lews Castle Grounds in Stornoway
  • Product Image


Height Climbed: 531m / 1741ft

Height Descended: 560m / 1838ft

Terrain: 11 miles tarmac road, 6.5 miles rough track or moorland path.

The final section of the Hebridean Way is a challenging 17.5 miles. If this is too far for you there is limited B&B accommodation available in the village of Achmore.

Leaving Balallan along the main Stornoway – Tarbert road, after 3 miles the route branches out into the wilds of the Lewis moorlands. On a good day this is magnificent walking, with many beautiful freshwater lochs along the way and views stretching from the mainland hills in the east to the island of Great Bernera off the west coast of Lewis. The hills of North Harris and Uig crowd the southern and western horizons.

After reaching Achmore a long but attractive stretch along unfrequented single track roads eventually leads you into the outskirts of Stornoway. Soon you enter the Castle Grounds and a lovely riverside walk takes you to Lews Castle and the end of your journey.

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 Balallan and head east along the main road towards Stornoway. Shortly after leaving the Village of Balallan, follow the footpath which drops down on to the left-hand side of the road, passing a picnic area and small foot bridge.Turn left at the waymarker after Loch na Deasport and follow the peat track. After approximately 0.5m, turn right and follow the path back to the A859 road to Stornoway.
  2. Cross the bridge over the Abhainn Lacasdail. This is one of the finest salmon fishing rivers in Scotland.
  3. Continue into the small village of Lacasaigh / Laxay. Shortly after passing the Islands Book Trust office turn left onto an obvious track that takes you away from the main road.
  4. Go through a gate then shortly after the track branches – keep left here.
  5. Keep left again at this track junction.
  6. Leave the track and turn right onto a small but obvious path.
  7. After passing an attractive little woodland the surfaced path ends at a gate. Go through this then head out onto the moor. The path from here is less obvious and looks like the tracks made by a large tractor. Walk between the two ditches where the ground is drier.
  8. From the upper slopes of Beinn Ceadraiseal there are fine views of the Harris & Uig hills.
  9. The Lewis peatlands are one of the wildest places in Britain and are internationally important for their plants and birds. Look out for red & black throated divers, greenshank, dunlin, golden plover…as well as red grouse bursting into the air from underneath your feet.
  10. After passing near the summit of Stèiseal head right for 20m to a small rock outcrop which gives beautiful views of the island-studded Loch Nisreabhal.
  11. Drop down and climb another small rise, Oidreabhal. The village of Achmore is not far away now – the only village on Lewis that is not by the sea.
  12. There are magnificent views to the west over the vast, flat peatlands to the rocky hills of Uig.
  13. As you approach Achmore the path becomes fainter. Cross a small bridge then turn left along the fence that separates the crofts from the open moor.
  14. Turn right onto an obvious track that leads up to the main road.
  15. Turn left and walk along the main road.
  16. Turn right onto a small single track road, signposted Steornabhagh (Stornoway). This used to be the main road between Stornoway and the west side of Lewis.
  17. The many old ruins that you pass on this section are shielings. These were originally simple stone and turf roof shelters for women and children tending livestock on the summer moorland grazings. Some, however, were later improved and used by islanders as little holiday huts.
  18. Turn right onto the Pentland Road. Originally intended to be a railway, this bumpy little road now connects Stornoway and the west coast village of Carloway.
  19. Beyond the loch in the distance an obvious tower breaks the skyline. This is Stornoway War Memorial, a striking and moving tribute to the many islanders lost in the two world wars.
  20. Turn right at Lavas Garage.
  21. Turn Right on to the main Stornoway to Tarbert road and follow the footpath for approximately 200m.
  22. 22. On the opposite site of the road, you will see Marybank Lodge – an entrance into the grounds of Lews Castle. Carefully cross the road and enter the castle grounds.
  23. 23. Follow the road straight ahead. You will pass beautiful woodland on your left, a garden nursery and Sawmill until you pass Lews Castle College on your right.
  24. 24. After passing by the college nursery, take the left-hand fork in the road.
  25. 25. at the next junction after the car park, turn left and follow the footpath on the right-hand side of the road for approximately 200m. From this point you can take a detour to view the impressive Lews Castle.
  26. 26. Turn right on to the road signposted Woodlands Café. After 200m turn Right into the entrance of the Woodlands Café.
  27. CONGRATULATIONS You have reached the end point of the Hebridean way walking route. There are fantastic views of Stornoway harbour from in front of Woodlands café from Cuddy point, there are picnic benches to rest your tired legs, or pretty good coffee and a bite to eat in the Woodlands Café. Well Done.

Along This Route

  1. “We are an oasis of good food, warmth, art and cheeriness”

    We are a gallery and…

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

  3. The Museum and Archive has recently opened at Lews Castle, Stornoway. Exhibitions will…

  1. The largest arts facility in the Outer Hebrides and comprises a gallery, performance…

  2. Built in 1847, by Sir James Matheson, following his purchase of the Isle of Lewis.

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Route Time -

6h - 7h

Distance -

17.5 miles

Grade -


Terrain -


  • Route Information - Terrain - Road. Track. Moorland Path.

Route Type -


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