Route: Ceapabhal

Area: Outer Hebrides, Harris

Date of walk: 8th March 2024

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 4.1 miles

Ascent: 1,200 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny, very windy where exposed

Ceapabhal (Chaipaval) is the highest point on an uninhabited peninsula connected to the rest of the island by a strip of machair in between sandy bays. The hill’s isolated position on the westernmost tip of Harris makes it one of the best viewpoints in the Outer Hebrides

It was a beautiful sunny morning as we parked in one of the roadside spaces at the far end of Taobh Tuath (Northton). We set off across the machair full of anticipation, accompanied by the sight and sound of numerous lapwings, oystercatchers and skylarks. A little further on it was a thrill to spot a pair of golden eagles soaring in the sky above the summit of Ceapabhal. We passed by a couple of deserted beaches and in the distance spotted the ruined medieval chapel on Rubh’ an Teampaill, which reminded us that we’d passed this way six years ago

It was tempting to revisit the chapel but we had a hill to climb, so turned right beside a fence next to a gate. We followed a pathless course uphill, aiming for the summit which looked disconcertingly steep seen from below. The gradient was gentle at first but eventually we reached a steeper rocky section where a path emerged. It was quite a pull to the summit but there were no difficulties. Hands weren’t needed and it was a much simpler affair than we’d anticipated

We arrived at the OS trig point on the summit area, where there’s a stone cairn nearby. The views were sensational. I’ll let the photos tell the story. It was exceptionally windy at the top so after admiring our spectacular surroundings we set off on the descent, which was a simple matter of retracing our steps back to the start

It had been a fantastic walk

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