Pete and Fiona (and Dougal), had given us lots of excellent tips on where to go/camp/walk, and so for our first night on Harris we followed their advice and headed off to Huisinis. Situated at the end of an 11 mile long single track road, this tiny settlement is next to the most fabulous beach – perfect for wild van camping.
It really was a most amazing spot and one night was never going to be enough, so we instantly decided that two nights there would be an absolute minimum.
And of course a walk in the immediate area on the day in between, was an essential.
We had gone on our travels armed with a Cicerone walking guide – Walking on Harris and Lewis, by Richard Barrett. Over a cup of tea (!), we studied the book and discovered that walk number 15 would fit the bill perfectly.
Not too early the next morning then, we set out from Huisinis on the start of the route, around a headland.
We were headed initially for an abandoned township known as Crabhadail.
A locked hut is all that now remains amongst the ruins of the old stone buildings.
We had lunch there (I told you we hadn’t set off too early), and soaked up the views and the atmosphere, before moving on round to a beach on the sea loch of Loch Crabhadail.
Isn’t the colour of that water just amazing? And Tilly just can’t resist a ‘swimming hole’…..
The route then turned and continued up Glen Cravadale along the southern shore of Loch a Ghlinne, before finally climbing to a bealach.
Part way along, Tilly found a skeleton of a stag, complete with antlers which Geoff tried to saw off the skull. He finally gave up when I said there was no way any antlers were going back in the van with us………
Climbing ever higher, the views behind us opened out to the sea in the distance.
Once at the bealach, the route almost turned back on itself to continue over four tops on the way back to Huisinis. The first short pull was up to Beidig.
And of course following that, was the inevitable descent before a much sharper pull on to the summit of Huiseabhal Mor.
The next bit of up-and-down took us to the summit of Oireabhal, from where you could really see how this part of the island juts out into the sea.
And the final top of the day was Huiseabhal Beag, from where we picked our way down the south west slopes back to Huisinis.
If you look really carefully at this next photo, you might be able to spot the van in the little car park at the near end of the beach.
What a day and what an introduction to Harris! I think even the dogs could tell that this was the start of a magical holiday. They had run themselves ragged around the 9 miles of the route – even my special eleven year old Dixie, who had been off the lead for much of the day due to the lack of sheep about.
She did rather collapse in a heap, though, when we got back to the van….