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Detailed Route Instructions

Section K - Scaladale to Balallan

Grade

Moderate

Type

Walk

Description

Fine, if occasionally wet, walking through the beautiful Lewis moors.

Walk Waypoints

  1. 1 Leave Scaladale and head north along the main A859 road.
  2. 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. 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. 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. 5
    Many of the Lodgepole pines in the forest are dead or dying, the victims of a huge infestation of moth caterpillars several years ago.
  6. 6
    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.
  7. 7
    The excellent path sweeps down the hill in graceful bends, crossing the Abhainn Ruadh on a good new bridge.
  8. 8
    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.
  9. 9
    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.
  10. 10
    Shortly after crossing a stone bridge the old road disappears at a small burn. Cross this then go through a gate onto the main road and turn left.
  11. 11
    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.
  12. 12
    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.
  13. 13
    For the next 3 miles (5km) the route follows a clear path across the moors to Balallan. Considerable sections of the path consist of a thin band of turf between two parallel ditches. This is damp in places and tricky to walk on in high winds, but generally offers a drier alternative than the very wet, boggy ground on either side.
  14. 14
    Short stretches of surfaced stone path occur throughout this section and provide pleasant walking.
  15. 15
    The route heads along the remote west shore of Loch Stranddabhat.
  16. 16
    A new bridge crosses a large stream at the head of the loch. The path now continues along its north shore.
  17. 17
    Look to the right and you will see the hills known locally as Cailleach na Mointeach (Old Woman of the Moors). She is lying on her back with her head on the right - her nose is particularly prominent...
  18. 18
    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.
  19. 19
    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.

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