Hebrides 2013 Day 4. Ceapabhal.

Date: Tuesday 3rd June 2013
Distance: 11.6km
Ascent: 550m

A late start (breakfast at 0730) had us out to face the day at 0830 – a drive round from Direcleit to the south of Harris. Our top target for a good day on Harris had been Ceapabhal – a 365m hill out on a promontory with what we hoped would be expansive views.

Stopped on our way on the minor road above Miabhaig to take in the views across to Skye.


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Parked on the beach side at Taobh Tuath at NF 986 903 and followed the track across the machair towards Ceapabhal – the clouds of the early morning were clearing from the south.

A lot of birds around – lapwings, redshanks and geese.



We broke one of our major rules here in assuming that the geese were alarming at us. After a couple of minutes we spotted a tagged golden eagle carrying a gosling while being mobbed by assorted seagulls and waders. The mobbing caused the gosling to be dropped, but from a few hundred feet that would not have helped the young bird.

We took a wander across the lovely Traigh na Cleabhaig with views across to Skye and south to Uist.

The track runs to a ruined chapel on a headland. Nice view to the Cuillin:

From the chapel we struck steeply upslope to climb Ceapabhal – aware that high cloud from the south was approaching and threatening our sunshine.

A juvenile golden eagle was patrolling the ridge line back and forth despite our approach.

A very new and wobbly lamb (or the afterbirth) may have been attracting it.

Golden Plover on ridge:

Up to the ridge line the views were exceptional – from St Kilda through Uist, out to Skye and north to the Harris hills – quite a vista.

East over An t-Ob:

Caolas Tharansaigh:


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We watched two untagged golden eagles spiralling around Toe Head most of the walk. Just to be irritating one popped up behind the cairn just after I’d set up the camera for a self-timer shot leaving me 20m from the camera which was on all the wrong settings. Still great to watch.

St Kilda:

We headed NW over the slightly lower top, stopping to collect some eagle feathers from a preening perch we’d seen them at.

A bit cloudier:

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A few books describe heading along the N shore of Toe Head to the return, we headed further NW down the ridge before turning steeply SW and then S to the SW side of the head for the return.

Toe Head:

For the first time in the year shade was a sought after commodity as the sun roasted down upon us – glorious conditions for a bimble.

Strolled back along the shore – we saw dolphins aplenty and the tail and dorsal fin of one basking shark along the way. Hard to make progress with so much to watch.

Fulmar and thrift:

Crossing Traigh na Cleabhaig we were assaulted by some Arctic Terns – quite the most feisty and aggressive birdies.

Moss Carder Bumblebee:

Crossing the machair meant the peewits took up harassing us:

The view NW to the Harris hills remained special:

Back to the car having spent about 6 hours on a wander – possibly one of our most enjoyable walks ever. Certainly massive return on little effort.

Headed for An t-Ob and the ferry to Uist:

After picking up some prawns and salad at the Co-op it was of to Traigh Stir near Hosta – a lovely wee beach with a great pitch for a near car “wild” camp.

What a day.

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