Walking The Lewis Heritage Trail

After our stay at Huisinis, we decided to drive right up to the northernmost point at the Butt of Lewis, and then start to wend our way slowly southwards for the rest of the trip.

The countryside up in the north is completely different – very reminiscent of the North Yorkshire Moors, we thought – so made for a totally contrasting walking experience.

Still plenty of magnificent beaches mind, where we could park the van on the machair (a type of sand dune pasture), with wonderful sea views.



We spent a couple of nights there, and on the day in between picked another walk from our Walking on Harris and Lewis guide.  Walk number 27 seemed to fit the bill this time, the Lewis Heritage Trail.

This trail is in fact, a linear walk of some 14 miles from Tolstadh to Port Nis, so we altered it to suit us and turned it into a 9 mile circular route. We parked at the north end, walked about 4.5 miles south, then headed out across the moor and picked up another trail to take us back to the van.


Being rather like the North Yorks Moors, there were no mountains to climb, but far reaching views, plenty of heather and plenty of historic bits thrown in for good measure. We also used the walk to try out Tilly’s new panniers which she got for Christmas. Being the ‘first wearing’ we didn’t put too much weight in, she just carried some meaty lunches for her and Dixie.

Needless to say, they didn’t seem to either bother her, or slow her down at all……..

Although the route started out as a stony track, it wasn’t long before it turned into a more pleasant grassy surface.


Once again, the weather was idyllic.

It wasn’t far before we came upon the signs of peat cutting, which some of the islanders still seem to do to supplement their fuel.



After a couple of miles, we began to see the summer shielings of the old township of Cuidhsiadar.


These shielings line the banks of the stream, the Abhainn Dubh, and most still look habitable and used. In fact there were some people out working on them as we passed.

We continued south, until we could see the ruin of Edgemoor Hall on a distant cliff top.


This is apparently all that is left of a place of worship, built by one John Nicolson. Nicolson had been born in Lewis,  emigrated to America where he married and became one of the Plymouth Brethren, and then returned to the Island with his wife and built the chapel in the 1900s.

Close to this site, are also the ruins of a summer settlement known as Filiscleitir. According to the Cicerone guide book, this is perhaps the highlight of this trail. Here, the women, children and cattle of Lional used to come for the summer grazing.

We chose to have our lunch here, sat amongst the ruins.



Tilly checked the map to make sure we knew the route back.


Tilly always has the habit of picking up litter while we’re out, which she inevitably takes back home again and we have to dispose of. Today was no exception – she’d found a very exciting plastic bottle.

So, after lunch, we turned around and set off back north. When we got back to the shielings though, we headed west along the banks of the stream, passing by some more dwellings.



And after a short stretch of heather bashing, we picked up another track which took us back towards the road where we’d parked the van.


Part way along this track, we came to the trig point at Seann Tom (107m), and decided it was probably time for a second lunch.

Another excellent day!



22 thoughts on “Walking The Lewis Heritage Trail

    1. I bet you secretly quite miss not having a dog any more, Andy!

      Geoff really looks like he doesn’t want to play doesn’t he? He was lucky on that day actually, it’s not always something as ordinary as a plastic bottle she’s carrying and trying to shove at you. It could be a sheep’s skull, or some kind of leg bone, or yesterday it was even half a dead rabbit……….


  1. Exquisite scenery and you took absolutely delightful photographs. I love the short video clip too as it’s always fun to see and hear your canine angels. :^)


  2. Love Tilly’s backpack. Working dogs. Funny.Beautiful trip.Guess what? No people…….perfect. D xx



  3. NIce post Chrissie with great weather again ! I fancy driving the motorhome up to isles, but whether we will get away this year I don’t know, just exchanged on a house and need to sell ours, so that’s the summer sorted out!


    1. Thanks Mark 🙂 I can certainly recomend taking the van up there – not sure what the midges might be like in the summer though! With any luck, I think Easter might well turn out to be an ‘annual’ isles trip for us 🙂


  4. That’s the great thing about the Hebrides – you can just park up and camp in sight of beautiful beaches, amongst the beautiful flowers of the machairs, and no-one complains! 🙂

    When I lived in the Uists, everyone cut their own peat for fuel. We actually have peat-cutting rights on our moor but I’m not sure where now and we’ve never used them. As my parents were always poor, perhaps we should have made more effort to cut our own fuel. We actually had a Sergeant in the Army up in the Hebs called Pete Cuttiing! 😉


    1. The camping spots were just wonderful – we just seemed to find beach after beach. Always quiet and scenic – and many were next to cemeteries too, so extra peaceful!

      We were quite surprised at just how much peat cutting seemed to be going on.

      Pete Cutting – you couldn’t make it up, could you? 😀


  5. It looks like you had a fantastic trip. I’ve long wanted to explore some of the Western Isles – you’ve just provided more grist for my mill.


  6. Wonderful…place, weather, photos & blog! *Almost* as good as being there!
    And so lovely to see that the turf (peat) looks like its mostly cut by hand – a rare skill nowadays! Its nearly all done by machinery around here (I live close to Ireland’s Turf Central). Even the privately owned/leased sections of bog are often cut by machine now, and whilst I’m sure machine’s are much more efficient, I think it just all looks such a mess 😦


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