The summit of Harris’s highest mountain is an amazing viewpoint over ocean and hill. It IS a boggy walk (for the first section) before it climbs more steeply up the moorland to the stony summit. It’s only just over 3miles or 5km return with 629m of ascent.We did it in 3 hours or so return one cold, crisp sunny November day, showery and with some spectacular rainbows.
We parked at the large parking area on the A859 Tarbert – Stornoway road , before the Maraig turn off (if heading north.) The conical shape of Clisham was on our left and very obvious.
Perhaps being Autumn that also made the route particularly soggy – really awful in places – with a lot of hopping about to find the driest ground. There’s no signposting as such for the walk , just a case of making for the hill using the best ground, following the little burn up its left hand side.It’s all at a very easy angle at first, almost flat across the open moorland, before the slope of the hill begins properly. There is a rough path of sorts but its more just where the ground has been eroded over the years by lots of footsteps.
The conditions improved as they always do higher up as the slope increased and a path was visible as the ground got rockier.
Nevertheless, somehow we lost the path and managed to head straight for bouldery ground which is never a pleasure to pick a route over! Too much stopping and turning around to see the views opening up and enjoying the rainbows!
The views behind and around us were fabulous though – I kept taking photos, mesmerised by the vista of islands and sea. Todun – the highest hill opposite and behind us as we climbed – looked very impressive. Skye was very faint as there was haze way out to the east but the Shiant’s were in view and much of South Harris.
It was VERY windy as we climbed higher and a couple of showers passed through briefly leaving gorgeous rainbows in their wake. The boggy start was soon forgotten!
Just under 90 mins after setting off, we were on the very roomy summit, surprisingly large I thought and had time to really drink in the views. Over to the north was Mangersta and Uig on Lewis; ahead were the shapely mountains of the Clisham Group – a continuation of the route on, in places, steeper and more challenging ground.
Found a sheltered spot to have our sandwiches and hot soup; getting shelter from that Arctic wind was the thing. The colours in late Autumn/Winter are stunning I think – amber, gold, tawny, burnt orange against the blue of the ocean. No wonder photographers flock to the Highlands at this time.
We only met one person all day – a girl who was ascending as we headed down.Waved to each other and I reckon she had found the proper path because once more, we managed to find ourselves negotiating the little boulderfield – it drew us like a magnet, unfortunately! But no difficulties as such – lots of time to watch the rainbows appear and disappear and also to listen to a roaring Red Deer stag somewhere below, who didn’t know October and the rut was over! What a wild, haunting sound that is, I love hearing it.
3 hours in total by the time we returned to the car – a short day out amidst glorious scenery and the kind of views I love on the island hills.
One thought on “CLIMBING CLISHAM on HARRIS”