Crabhadail

Route: Crabhadail beach from Huisinish

Area: Scotland, Isle of Harris

Date of walk: 8th March 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.6 miles

Ascent: 1,100 feet

Weather: Mostly cloudy, but bright. A few light showers

A dull start to the day, with the hills covered by cloud, persuaded us to go for another beach walk. With no reluctance, as the beaches on Harris are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, we set off for Huisinish. The road to this tiny settlement is 15 miles long, and only slightly wider than the average car. The journey along the Huisinish road is an adventure in itself, passing through some spectacular scenery. The only traffic we encountered were highland cattle and sheep, which seemed to take pleasure in delaying our progress. At one point, after miles of wilderness, the road passed through the grounds of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle with well manicured lawns and gardens, before continuing into yet more wilderness – a surreal moment

After 45 minutes the road finally ends at Huisinish, set above a beautiful golden beach. We parked in the small car park and headed north east, away from the beach, along a rocky path known locally as the ‘Stairmair’. There were numerous ups and downs, with occasional steep drops down to the sea and boggy patches to circumvent, so our progress was quite slow

After descending from a col we reached Loch na Cleabhaigh and walked along its shoreline to reach an isolated cottage at Crabhadail, which is seemingly inaccessible without a long walk. Just beyond the cottage we arrived at Crabhadail beach, a memorable place and completely deserted. We lingered for a while, soaking in the atmosphere, and then began the journey back.

This should have been a simple matter but we lost concentration at one point, followed a false path and found ourselves climbing up a steep gully. By the time we realised our mistake it seemed easier to continue rather than backtrack. This was a poor decision as the gully became steeper, with big drops back to the sea, and we endured an unpleasant few minutes of huffing and puffing before regaining our original path

The remainder of the return journey was without incident and when we approached Huisinish we diverted from our original path to walk across the machair down to the beach. It had been a beautiful walk, taking much longer than we’d anticipated, but the scenery had been spectacular every step of the way

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