The Coffin Route On South Harris

This walk was number 3 in our trusty Cicerone guide and traces the route that coffins used to be carried on in days gone by. Apparently, the soils on the east coast weren’t deep enough for burials, so bodies were carried over to the deep soils of the west coast. This obviously explains why most of our ‘wild van camping’ spots on the west coast bays,ย also happened to be next to isolated cemeteries. They were very peaceful, mind…


We started the 7 mile ‘there and back’ route from Seilebost on the west coast – doing the trail ‘backwards’ in fact!


It starts off on a stretch of old tarmac, but soon turns into a rough track.



Despite there having being some rain and snow a couple of days ago, once again we had a cool, sunny day – perfect for walking.


The rough track continues up to Bealach Eorabhat, passing Loch a’Bhealaich on the way.


At the top of the pass, we unexpectedly came across a couple of benches – carefully positioned so you could sit and look out to the west coast. Presumably these weren’t really ancient and hadn’t been used by the coffin bearers!


The continuing route down the eastern side of the bealach changed in character, becoming more rocky, boggy in places and now no longer a track, but more like a sheep path. And unlike the western side – where you could turn back and see the coast all the way up – on this eastern side there was no coastal view until we were nearly at the settlement of Roghadal, at route’s end.



It was now time for a snack.


We lingered for a while and toyed with the idea of making it into a circular walk – like it is in the Cicerone guide – by returning by an old road, but eventually decided that we would avoid the tarmac and so simply turned around and walked back over the bealach.



After all, you get a slightly different perspective on things travelling in the opposite direction, and the sun was also now on our backs instead of in our eyes.




20 thoughts on “The Coffin Route On South Harris

  1. One of these days I will get up to Scotland and the Isles. A nice mixture of remoteness and poignant human history


  2. Exquisite photos of a wonderful landscape. I’ve added this walk to my Bucket List as well. Lovely posting, as always, Chrissie. Big virtual hug and kisses on Dixie and Tilly’s chops. :^)


  3. Looks idyllic in a wild sort of a way. A colleague is heading that way next week and I’m jealous of both of you.


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