Gleann Skeudale Round. 1st April 2018.

Date: Sunday 1st April 2018
Distance: 10.7km
Ascent: 880m

Last full day on Harris and we’d had a great return from the visit already. Forecasting (such as it is) suggested best conditions in the morning with the possibility of showers mid-afternoon.

Decided to revisit the Gleann Skeudale round of Giolabhal Glas, Sgaoth Aird and Sgaoth Iorsal. We’d done this 2 years ago on a less than perfect day and fancied a better look at it.
Parked off road at Ceann an Ora. Crossed the road and headed up onto the NW shoulder of Gillival Dubh. A little stream marks a steep but simple enough ascent on to the ridge. Views build quickly to Clisham and Uisgneabhal Mor. The hills were a little cloud-capped.

Clisham and Uisgneabhal Mor above Ceann an Ora:

Wanting to ascend this way due to the gradient did mean we were in the shadow for the first 30 minutes. Beinn Dubh looked nice in the sun across West Loch Tarbert.

Beinn Dubh and Taransay:

As the crest of the E-W ridge is reached views open up a bit across loch Ceann Dibig to Skye (and Rum).

Loch Ceann Dibig:

Reaching the sun is always good – beautiful views of hills and sea.

West Loch Tarbert and Beinn Dubh:

Out to the west we could see the St Kilda group (Hirta behind a shower).

Soay and Boreray:

Looking up Gleann Skeudale the back of Sgaoth Aird and Sgaoth Iorsal look bland compared to the fearsome cliffs seen from the Harris-Lewis road.

Sgaoth Aird and Sgaoth Iorsal:

It was an atmospheric day – quite a lot of interesting sun and cloud to see. Our hills from the day before came and went from view.

Uisgneabhal Mor and Teileasbhal:

About an hour to the summit of Giolabhal Glas – the high point of the south side of the round. Views from here open up to include the north of Skye and some of the mainland.

Todun had just cleared from a shower and was mist-wreathed.

Misty Todun from Giolabhal Glas:


A big shower was moving south across the bigger hills to our west giving a rather contrasted view.

Contrast from Giolabhal Glas:

As the shower approached we took the opportunity to enjoy the view of Loch an Taibeart in the sunshine.

Loch an Tairbeart:

…then the shower arrived, rather earlier than “mid afternoon”.

Snow shower arrives:

However, the shower passed through after 10 minutes of snow and quickly cleared. Quite fun conditions, certainly interesting.

Snow shower passes:

Carried on from Giolabhal Glas to Beinn na Teanga. No real issues of navigation even in the showers – there’s a big handrail to the left.

Ahead to Beinn na Teanga:

From Beinn na Teanga there’s a niceview back to Gillival Dubh and Ceannan Ora.

Gleann Skeudale from Beinn na Teanga:

As was to be the pattern another snow shower was approaching.

Another shower:

Shower arriving:

About 15 minutes of snow and then it cleared away, this time leaving a whiter hill behind.

Shower passed:

Like Todun before the shower also left some rather atmospheric tendrils of mist behind over on Giolabhal Glas.

Tendrils of cloud on Giolabhal Glas:

Wandered up the grassy back of Sgaoth Aird, a little sheltered from the stiff northerly the sun felt warm. Being in the wind was like a cold shower.

Ascending Sgaoth Aird:

Once at the top there’s a good view of Sron an Toistear – I came up that way first time round on a good day from Gleann Lacasdail…..a little too steep really.

Sron an Toistear:

Sat at the cairn and had lunch out of the wind. Wandered over to the drop to take a picture of Clisham. The Harris-Lewis road runs between Sgaoth Aird and Clisham.

Clisham from Sgaoth Aird:

The showers continued to pulse through.

Clisham with shower:

Continued on to Sgaoth Iorsal this time. This is the prominent spiky peak seen from the south.

West from Sgaoth Iorsal:

Beinn Dubh and East Loch Tarbert:

From Sgaoth Iorsal we dropped south into Gleann Skeudale starting up one, still white, hare.

Gleann Skeudale:

Down in the glen, for the first time on the Easter break, we took off a few layers and felt warm. It’s an easy enough walk back to the road.

Back at Drinishader we relaxed, had a few beers and packed up. Keeping a weather eye on the jetty proved worthwhile as we got a great view of a mother otter and two kits in and out of the water.

Otter and two kits:

Otter kit:

Harris – difficult to beat.

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