Beinn Dhubh

Route: Beinn Dhubh

Area: Scotland, Isle of Harris

Date of walk: 9th March 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 9.0 miles

Ascent: 2,100 feet

Weather: Sunny at first, cloudier later with a few showers

As mountains go Beinn Dhubh is a rather featureless place, but what makes it very special is its location – probably the best viewpoint on the island. This walk had been at the top of our list since we arrived on Harris but so far the weather had kept us confined to lower level walks. Today we awoke to sun and blue skies so without ado we left our base at Blue Reef Cottages and drove over to the Losgaintir (Luskentyre) road. About half a mile down the road we parked the car near a gate to start the long climb. We crossed Allt Tobhtan Mhic via the stepping stones, which were like blocks of ice in the cold conditions and we had to take care here

The remainder of the ascent was straightforward in terms of gradient, but there were no paths and the ground was juicy to say the least. There were some wonderful retrospective views and these, and the thought of what lay ahead, motivated us to soldier on. Eventually we reached the main ridge line, the gradient eased, and it was a simple climb to Beinn Losgaintir. The views from here were superlative, and we could even see St Kilda in the distance, some 50 miles away. As if this was not enough, a pair of eagles soared overhead, making this a never to be forgotten moment – the long slog up the mountainside was forgotten and forgiven in an instant

The way ahead was obvious, even though pathless, and we followed the line of the ridge first down and then up to our next summit – Beinn Dhubh. The views from here were just as good as our research had promised. I’ll let the photos describe the scene as no words of mine can adequately describe it

After a picnic just below the summit it was time to start the descent. In truth this was rather a chore, despite the views ahead, and turned into a seemingly endless tramp through heather as we picked our way between rocks and boggy sections. As we’d found before, there was no path but we had no difficulties in navigation and it was a relief to finally reach terra firma near a rock headland

We walked across the headland and instead of following our planned route we decided to add some extra mileage by detouring along Traigh Rosamol – it would be unthinkable to miss a walk along this most beautiful of beaches on a day such as this. After rounding the bay we were forced inland by the sea, and climbed up to Losgaintir village to join the narrow road. From here it was a simple matter of following the road back to the start

This had been a red letter day, and a truly memorable walk. It had been quite hard going thanks to the mostly featureless terrain and the lack of paths, but we regarded that as the price of the ticket to enable us to enjoy some of the finest views we’ve ever seen. When we arrived back at our base, I noticed that I’d just fallen short of a milestone – today’s walk meant that I’d clocked up 4,999 miles on this site since starting it in 2013

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