An Cliseam – the circumnavigation of Gleann Sgaladail. August 2016.

Date: Sunday 28th August 2016
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 1200m

Back on Harris for a week – the forecast looked patchy to say the least. The first day however looked promising so we dusted off our number one walk.

Two years ago we’d gone to Harris with far finer weather, but with Hazel nursing a back injury she’d missed out on some of the walks. This included the Clisham Horseshoe. We’d been waiting for a decent day to revisit ever since.

Parked at NB 186 096 – at the old military road. From there we walked to the Scaladale Centre at NB 187 105. We had a late start as the day was forecast to improve. Morning clouds were dispersing as we started near to noon.

Last time I’d walked up Gleann Sgaladail to then ascend Mullach an Langa. Since then we’d spotted paths ascending from the Scaladale Centre up onto Mo Bhiogadail allowing a true horseshoe round.

Gleann Sgaladail:

The Community Woodland paths ascend through the mixed woods and up to the open hillside (with a gate in the top fence).

Makes for easy access onto the hill and quite a lot easier than Gleann Sgaladail. Develops nice views over Loch Shiophiort, Eilean Shiophort and Pairc.

Loch Shiophiort:

Road to Tarbert:

Loch and Eilean Shiophiort:

Once up onto Mo Bhiogadail there were decent views, albeit into the sun, of An Cliseam and its adjoining ridge.

An Cliseam:

An easy bimble across short heather from there on to Mullach an Langa. Disturbed a few herds of deer on the way.

The ascent up Mullach an Langa is steep on short grass. Views open up to the north.

Loch Langabhat from Mullach an Langa:

A few ravens had been sailing around keeping an eye on us – they seem to like Mullach an Langa.

Mullach an Langa Ravens:

It’s a nice spot. The view south between Mulla bho Thuath and Uisgneabhal Mor is down to Luskentyre and beyond to Northton.

View South to Harris beaches:

Up to the NE we could see that the Uig hills on SW Lewis were getting a nice day.

The Uig hills on Lewis:

Not a bad view of the hills to come either.

THe Clisham Horseshoe:

Mulla bho Thuath and the beaches:

Sat around for the better part of an hour enjoy a bit of warm sun and some fine views while we ate lunch.

Then headed on over easy ground to ascend Mulla bho Thuath.

H approaching Mulla bho Thuath:

Great views from here too – these hills to the west of Clisham have a better angle on the beaches to the south and more open views of the hills to the west. A simple up and down the Corbett definitely fails to get the best out of the group.

South to Taransay and Ceapabhal:

The going remains simple on to the next bump in the ridge, Mulla bho Dheas.

Mulla bho Dheas and An Cliseam:

The Grahams to the west are set in parallel N-S ridges. Uisgneabhal Mor is across Gleann Mhiabhaig.

Uisgneabhal Mor:

Up to Mulla bho Dheas and we took another time out to enjoy the scenery and the conditions.

Loch nan Eang and Pairc:

Mulla bho Thuath and Uisgneabhal Mor:

Ceapabhal from Mulla bho Dheas:

South Harris:

The St Kilda group was easily visible – glad we weren’t booked on a trip for the week to come though, given the forecast.

St Kilda group:

Headed on once more, it’s a little steep coming off Mulla bho Dheas but just a matter of a little care needed. From the low point it’s about a 200m ascent to the summit of An Cliseam.

Loch na Eang from An Cliseam ascent:

Not quite as good a view from here as the other parts of the ridge. A bit of cloud prevented us getting good views to Skye or the mainland which the Corbett summit does best.

Mulla bho Dheas and Thuath from An Cliseam:

North from An Cliseam:

We had been thinking of dropping down the main route a little way before contouring round to Tomnabhal.

A little exploring however found that by heading a few hundred metres north (to about NB 1541 0754) there was a ramp that dropped safely back SE to easier angled ground and a simple descent to Tomnabhal.

Todun and Pairc from descent:

A bit of picking a way through intermittent rock fields, but mainly good ground.

Up onto Tomnabhal which gave us a view to Sgaoith Aird, Todun and briefly a view of Beinn Mhor on S Uist.

Sgaoith Aird from Tomnabhal:

Sgaoith Aird and Todun from Tomnabhal:

Todun and the north of Skye:

Up to the north the errant oil rig that had come ashore at Dail Mhor on Lewis was anchored just N of Stornoway.

Listing oil rig at Stornoway:

Carried on SE, then E down Tomnabhal to head over somewhat bobbly ground towards Cleit Aird and the military road.

Todun from descent:

Took a wee bit to cover the rougher ground but made it to the military road as the sun was getting low to the west (and the midges were rising).

To our NW Stulabhal (our number 2 target for a good day) was peeking up.

Stulabhal and lochan:

A cracking loop – certainly preferred to a simple up and down, the access from the Scaladale Centre was a good move too.

Glad we grabbed this at the first opportunity as the subsequent 2 weeks furnished us with essentially no more quality hill weather on Harris or Skye. Still out and about, but the only decent hill day of the lot.

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