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The Outer Hebrides sea kayaking around the isles & st kilda

Mike Sullivan, Robert Emmott & Tim Pickering

05

Isle of Lewis

Flannan Isles

S OU HE TER BR ID E

03

Isle of Lewis

21

14

S

s

ute

min

Inverness

gow

OU HE TER BR ID E

Glas

1 hou

50

rs

40

Gairloch

2 hours

Uig Tarbert

s

Harris

min 50

Uig

Kyle of Lochalsh

1h ou r

28

2h

ou

rs

Portree

Castlebay

Lochboisdale

I s l e o f Mallaig Skye

go

w

1h

35

as

34

Gl

South Uist

25 minutes

25 minutes

r

2 hours

w

r

Isle of Skye

go

Benbecula

½h

rs

as

Bar ra

Gl

33

1 hour Lochmaddy

Lochboisdale

Gai

ou

Portree

North Uist

South Uist

2h

27

30

1 hou

26

31

5 ho

r

as

urs

ou

ou

1h r

Castlebay 42

2h

w

O u ter H ebr ides

rs

go

Bar ra

r

ou

Gl

½h

rs

gow

ute

St Benbecula Kilda

45

Glas

32

3 hou

r

41

rs

Lochmaddy

3 hou

ou

1 hour 23 25

2h

17

24

utes

Stornoway

12

13

16

22

29

45 mi n

11

Tarbert

Harris

36

Inverness

09

20

37

44

10

Flannan Isles

North Uist

08

Stornoway

19 18

North Rona

43

07

01

02

15

39

06

04

38

St Kilda

Sula Sgeir

Mallaig Tobermory

Gl

5 ho

as

urs

go

w

1h

Oban

ou

r

The Outer Hebrides

sea kayak journeys to the isles & st kilda

Robert Emmott, Tim Pickering and Mike Sullivan

Pesda Press

www.pesdapress.com

First published in Great Britain 2010 by Pesda Press Galeri 22, Doc Victoria Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 1SQ Wales

Copyright Š 2010 Robert Emmott, Tim Pickering and Mike Sullivan ISBN:  978-1-906095-09-3 The Authors have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Authors of this Work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Publisher.

Maps by Bute Cartographic. Printed in Poland, produced by Polska Book.

Murdy Campbell | Tim Pickering

Foreword

A guide to the Outer Hebrides … I have kayaked around these Islands for over twenty years and still have not seen it all. I was born on Lewis and took up kayaking in 1986, under the guidance of another Stornoway Canoe Club paddler Derek Graham. I progressed quickly and within a year had done my first open crossing to the Flannan Isles with more to follow. The variety of kayaking in the Outer Hebrides is endless. There are so many sea lochs, inlets and hidden places which I am still exploring as there are over two thousand kilometres of coastline to explore.

For the more adventurous you can paddle to the offshore islands, or you can go by charter boat. St Kilda is one of our most visited offshore islands and has the highest sea cliffs in Britain; it has one of the largest colonies of gannets in the world and some of the sea caves go deep into the cliffs. The Flannan Isles, known as the ‘Seven Hunters’ are uninhabited and lie seventeen miles off the west coast of Lewis. The Monach Isles have one of the largest colonies of seals in Europe and are easily accessible by kayak. As you visit any of them you could see one or more of the twenty plus species of whales and dolphins recorded around the Hebrides.

Foreword

The Outer Hebrides have kayaking areas for everyone from the beginner to the advanced paddler; some of the large sea lochs are exceptionally good for downwind runs for those that enjoy surf in a sea kayak, and you can enjoy the exposure of the high sea cliffs or the relative safety of the sandy beaches. On a summer’s day when the sun is shining and the winds are light, parts of the west coast of the Hebrides are like a tropical paradise.

A lot of the crossings between the Islands from Barra Head to the Butt of Lewis are achievable in good weather. The Sound of Harris is exceptional because of the numerous islands within it; you could easily take a week exploring and it is suitable for most paddlers. It is important to remember there can be quick and sudden changes in the weather. We are often visited by gales, more usually in winter, but we had a force ten storm in July recently. Enjoy the guide book and the Outer Hebrides, The Islands at the Edge of The World.

Murdy Campbell

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Contents

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Scottish Outdoor Access Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Important Notice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 How to Use the Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Contents

Eilean Leòdhais (Isle of Lewis) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Beàrnaraigh & Beàrnaraigh Beag . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bhaltos & Pabaigh Mòr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Giosla to Iarsiadar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Càrlabhagh to Siabos t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Butt of Lewis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tols ta to Ness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rubha Tholas taidh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . An Rubha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stornoway Harbour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Loch Èireasort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leumrabhagh & Loch Bhrolluim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Shiants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reinigeadal to Bhalamus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Loch Seaforth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gallan Head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

13 19 25 29 35 39 43 47 51 55 59 63 69 73 79

Isle of Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 16 17 18 19 20 21

Rhenigadail to An Tairbeart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 An Tairbeart to Roghadal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Tarasaigh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Tairbeart to Huisinis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Scarp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Mealas ta to Huisinis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

T he Sound of Harris (Caolas na Hearadh) . . . . . . . . . 109 22 23 24

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NW Sound of Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Otairnis to Loch nam Madadh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 An t-Ob to Roghadal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

The Uists and Benbecula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 25 Loch nam Madadh to Langais Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Griomasaigh round Ronaigh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Loch CĂ rnan to Loch Baghasdail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Eriskay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Vallay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 West South Uist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Benbecula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 The Monach Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

127 131 135 139 143 147 151 155

Barra and Vatersay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 33 34 35

Sound of Barra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 Vatersay East Coast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 Mingulay Expedition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

St Kilda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 St Kilda Crossing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 Hirta Circumnavigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185

The Atlantic Outliers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 38 39

Flannan Isles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 Sula Sgeir/North Rona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199

Minch Crossings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 40 41 42 43 44

Ullapool to Stornoway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skye to Scalpay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tiree to Mingulay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tols ta to Kinlochbervie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clashnessie Bay to Stornoway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Contents

36 37

205 209 215 219 223

Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227 Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coastguard and Emergency Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weather Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Travel and Accommodation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Glossary of Gaelic Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Index of Place Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

227 227 228 228 229 231 233 5

Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Access to the outdoors in Scotland is encouraged; visitors and locals have a right of responsible access. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is responsible for promoting and publicising the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC).

Where you have access rights to is not shown on Ordnance Survey maps, or any other map in Scotland. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code deals with the land and freshwater access which is pertinent to the sea kayaker as you have to gain access to the sea over land or down a river and then again land to camp, walk or rest. You are completely free to kayak on the sea.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is based on three key principles and these apply equally to the public and to land managers.

Respect the interests of other people Acting with courtesy, consideration and awareness is very important. If you are exercising access rights, make sure that you respect the privacy, safety and livelihoods of those living or working in the outdoors, and the needs of other people enjoying the outdoors. If you are a land manager, respect people’s use of the outdoors and their need for a safe and enjoyable visit.

Access & Environment

Care for the environment

6

If you are exercising access rights, look after the places you visit and enjoy, and leave the land as you find it. If you are a land manager, help maintain the natural and cultural features which make the outdoors attractive to visit and enjoy.

Take responsibility for your own actions If you are exercising access rights, remember that the outdoors cannot be made risk-free and act with care at all times for your own safety and that of others. If you are a land manager, act with care at all times for people’s safety.

Sea eagles White-tailed eagles nest in trees and on crags in coastal areas. They and their nests are protected by the Nature Conservation Scotland Act 2004 all year round and there are serious penalties for causing intentional or reckless disturbance. If you suspect you may be near an active nest between March and July, please move along the coast and do not land or attempt to photograph the nest or birds in flight. White-tailed eagles can be very vocal if disturbed and have a loud, echoing ‘kok kok kok’ call. They will also show clear signs of distress such as throwing their legs forward or appearing to falter in mid flight (see photo Route 13 taken under SNH licence). If you see this behaviour, please move out of the area as quickly as possible so they can return safely to their nest which may have eggs or small vulnerable chicks to brood. It would also be helpful if you could report any sightings to the RSPB, noting any wing tag details such as colour and letter/number.

Important Notice

As with many outdoor activities that take place in remote and potentially hostile environments, technical ability, understanding of the environment and good planning are essential. The sea is one of the most committing environments of all, and with this considered it should be treated with the constant respect that it deserves. This guide is designed to provide information that will inspire the sea kayaker to venture into this amazing environment; however it cannot provide the essential ingredients of ability, environmental awareness and good planning. Before venturing out on any of the trips described in this book ensure that your knowledge and ability are appropriate to the seriousness of the trip. If you are unsure, then look for appropriate advice before embarking on the trips described. The book is purely a guide to provide information about the sea kayaking trips. For the additional essential knowledge of safety at sea, personal paddling, environmental considerations and tidal planning the authors recommend gaining the appropriate training from experienced and qualified individuals.

Warning

The guide is no substitute for personal ability, personal risk assessment and good judgement. The decision on whether to go out sea kayaking or not, and any consequences arising from that decision, remain yours and yours alone.

Acknowledgements

Important Notice

Sea kayaking is inherently a potentially dangerous sport, and with this considered, users of this guide should take the appropriate precautions before undertaking any of the trips. The information supplied in this book has been well researched, however the authors can take no responsibility if tidal times differ or information supplied is not sufficient. Conditions can change quickly and dramatically on the sea and there is no substitute for personal experience and judgement when kayaking or during the planning stages of a sea trip.

The authors wish to thank: Our families and friends for encouragement and patience; Murdy Campbell, Donnie ‘Barra’ Macleod and all from Stornoway Canoe Club for great company, laughs and adventures on many of these trips; Murdanie and Cathy Macdonald and Hamish Gow for St Kilda insights; Douglas Wilcox, Chris Murray, Chris Denehy, Lauren Maciver, Mick Berwick, Patrick Winterton, Cailean Macleod, Frank Stark and Richard Lodge for photos and information; and Donald W Macleod, coxswain of the Barra lifeboat, for local information.

Photographs A special thanks is due to those who allowed us to use their photographs. All photographs are acknowledged in the accompanying captions. 7

How to Use the Guide

To use the guide you will need an up-to-date tide timetable of the relevant area, the appropriate Ordnance Survey maps and the knowledge to use them. Unlike many inshore journeys in the UK, an Admiralty Tidal Stream Atlas is an important source of information for planning journeys around the Outer Hebrides. Each of the fourty-four trip chapters is set out into six sections:

Tidal & Route Information – This is designed as a quick reference for all the ‘must know’ information on which to plan the trip. Introduction – This is designed to give the reader a brief overview of what to expect from the trip and whet the appetite. Description – This provides further detail and information on the trip including the coastline, launching/landing points, the wildlife and environment, historical information and places of interest to visit. Tide & Weather – Offering further tidal information and how best to plan the trip which takes the tides, weather and local knowledge into consideration.

How to Use the Guide

Map of Route – This provides a visual outline of the route’s start/finish points, landing places, points of interest and tidal information. Additional Information – This section provides further information (including Admiralty Charts and other useful maps) that will complement the trip, or be of interest if in the local area.

Using the Tidal & Route Information Each route begins with an overview of pertinent details beginning with the following information: grade of difficulty, trip name, route symbols, and trip number. Grade A | Relatively easy landings with escape routes easily available. Offering relative

shelter from extreme conditions and ocean swell. Some tidal movement may be found, but easy to predict with no major tidal races or overfalls.

Grade B | Some awkward landings and sections of coastline with no escape routes should

be expected. Tidal movement, tidal races, overfalls, crossings, ocean swell and surf may be found on these trips. They will also be exposed to the weather and associated conditions. Grade C | These trips will have difficult landings and will have no escape routes for long

8

sections of the trip. Fast tidal movement, tidal races, overfalls, extended crossings, ocean swell and surf will be found on all these trips. They will be very exposed to the weather and conditions, and therefore require detailed planning and paddlers to be competent in rough water conditions. With this considered, the journey may require good conditions for the trip to be viable.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Distance

Total distance for the trip.

OS Sheet

Number of Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger map required.

Tidal Port

The port for which tide timetables will be required to work out the tidal streams.

Start

X map symbol, name and six-figure grid reference of starting point.

Finish

O map symbol, name and six-figure grid reference of finishing point.

HW/LW

The high and/or low water time difference between local ports nearest to the trip and the tidal port.

Tidal Times

Location or area of tidal stream movement, the direction to which the tidal stream flows and the time it starts flowing in relation to the tidal port high water.

Max Rate Sp

The areas in which the tidal streams are fastest and the maximum speed in knots attained on the average spring tide.

Coastguard

Name of the relevant Coastguard Station.

Map Symbols start & alternative start

areas of counter-currents / eddies

finish & alternative finish

areas of rough water / overfalls

waypoint

lighthouse & light

possible escape

lifeboat station

portage

NCI

Coastwatch lookout (NCI)

described route

ferry, passenger & car

alternative route

campsite & bivi site

tidal stream direction

bunkhouse

time relative to Tidal Port HW

town / buildings

Max Rate at Springs

prohibited area

How to Use the Guide

Route Symbols

major counter-current

9

About the Authors

Robert, Tim and Mike in front of Lews Castle,Stornoway harbour.

About the Authors

Robert Emmott Robert’s first introduction to kayaking was at scout camp in North Wales, but it was only after he moved to Lewis that he really got into sea kayaking. Within just a few weeks of arriving on Lewis, he joined Stornoway Canoe Club and soon experienced some incredible paddling adventures. Keen to learn and help others enjoy the paddling in the islands, Robert took up coaching and is a committed member of the canoe club. His passion is storm paddling, for which the Outer Hebrides is often the perfect place.

Tim Pickering Tim has been paddling longer than he would care to remember and, as a coach, he has tried to infect others with the same enthusiasm. Through his business, he has guided extensively in the Outer Hebrides as well as Arctic Sweden, Iceland and St Kilda. You will often find him in his surf boat on one of the many breaks in the islands. Writing this guide, however, has shown him there are still areas in the Outer Hebrides he has yet to explore.

Mike Sullivan When Mike moved to the Hebrides his two burning ambitions were to kayak to St Kilda and catch his first Atlantic salmon; getting to St Kilda proved to be the easier of the two. He was converted to sea kayaking after ten years of river kayaking and open boating, and he is a keen coach and active member of Stornoway Canoe Club.

10

B Eilean Leòdhais (Isle of Lewis) D Introduction Lewis, the most northerly of the islands of the Outer Hebrides, has its most north-westerly point at the Butt of Lewis. Although referred to as separate islands, Lewis and Harris are one island. Lewis is sometimes described as one large peat bog, but there are areas of fertile ground on the east and west coast which have been cultivated since prehistoric times. It is difficult to imagine the island forested with alder, birch, ash, hazel and rowan when looking over blanket bog. Remains found in the excavation of prehistoric middens show that the people living here hunted, fished and farmed.

At the southeast end of Loch Ròg an Ear (East Loch Roag) are the Callanish standing stones. The stones (Clachan Calanais or Tursachan Calanais) are laid out in the shape of a Celtic cross. They are older than Stonehenge and predate the Egyptian pyramids by over a thousand years. Their original use is shrouded in mystery. The main port and administrative centre of the islands is Stornoway, where supermarkets and petrol stations can be found. The ferry has recently introduced Sunday sailings.

In the 6th century, the missionaries who followed St Columba began arriving on Lewis. They were followed in the 8th and 9th centuries by the Norse from Norway and Denmark, marking the beginning of a brutal period in the island’s history. There were massacres and pillaging as the Outer Hebrides was one of the first places which the Vikings arrived at on their journey down the western seaboard. This slowly ended as they settled in the islands. In 1266, the whole of the Outer Hebrides were ceded by Norway to Scotland with the Perth Treaty. Lewis was then run by the MacLeods of Lewis who lost it to the MacKenzies in 1610. Sir James Matheson, who made a large part of his fortune through the opium trade, bought the island in 1844.

The 19th century brought the sorry episode of the clearances. Like the inhabitants of Sutherland, the people of Lewis were cleared from their lands for the creation of larger farms to maximise the profit for the landowners. This was often done with brutality and followed by the ‘rasing’ of the houses (removing or burning the roof ). Some stayed and were pushed out to less fertile lands, but many emigrated.

Lord Leverhume bought the island from the Mathesons in 1918. He had grand plans for the development of the islands, based around the herring fishing. Locals had been promised land to farm if they went off to fight in the Great War. When this promise was reneged upon, the men ‘raided’ the land in 1920. These ex-servicemen halted Leverhume’s development of the island and eventually caused the breaking-up of the ownership. After raiding, the farmland was returned to crofts for cultivation with a croft house being built on each. When Leverhulme died, his plans

Eilean Leòdhais (Isle of Lewis)

History

11

were unfinished and the island was sold off by his accountants and broken into small parts. The areas around Stornoway and part of Broad Bay were put into trust for the people of the island.

Kayaking around Lewis The coast offers a huge variety of paddling with the sheltered sea lochs and the exposed west coast to the Butt of Lewis. There are sections of the coastline where the authors (with thirty years experience of paddling here) can only claim to have paddled once or twice; other sections draw you to them again and again. The other islands are often talked about at the expense of Lewis, but a paddler would be missing a hidden jewel not to explore here.

Eilean Leòdhais (Isle of Lewis)

The east coast offers sheltered paddling but there are also remote areas which are difficult to access, headlands with exciting tides and impressive cliffs. By the nature of its exposure to the Atlantic, the west coast is the more extreme to paddle. It is cut into by Loch Ròg (Loch Roag), however, providing scope for more sheltered paddling in a spectacular setting.

12

Beàrnaraigh Beag | Chris Murray

& Beàrnaraigh Beag 1 2 6 No. 1 | Grade B | 20km | 7 hours | OS Sheet 13

Tidal Port

Ullapool

Start

X Bostadh (NB 144 402)

Finish

O Bostadh (NB 144 402)

HW

Local HW is 1 hour before HW Ullapool.

Tidal times

SE going stream begins 6 hours after HW Ullapool and the NW going stream 10 minutes before HW Ullapool.

Tides at the mouth of the loch begin NE 4 hours 20 minutes before HW Ullapool and SW 2 hours 25 minutes after HW Ullapool.

Max Rate Sp

Up to 1.5 knots between the islands.

Coastguard

Stornoway, tel. 01851 702013, VHF weather every 3 hours from 0110.

1 Beàrnaraigh & Beàrnaraigh Beag

D Beàrnaraigh B

13

Paddling out through the surf, Beàrnaraigh Beag |Tim Pickering

Beàrnaraigh & Beàrnaraigh Beag

1

Introduction You can paddle around these islands in a day but that would not do them justice. They are rich in history and have many bays and islands to poke around and explore. You could add to this by exploring the outliers of Campaigh with its huge arch cleaving through the centre of the island, Bearasaigh with the remains of dwellings and the hideout of the legendary pirate Neil MacLeod or paddling out to the wind- and wave-swept cliffs of Seanna Chnoc (Old Hill).

Description If you launch at the fish farm west of the narrows between the two islands, please remember it is a working slip and be considerate when parking.

Which way you make your trip is up to you: there is a small amount of tide running under the Beàrnaraigh (Bernera) Bridge (NB 164 341) which can be used to your advantage as can the flow out of the loch on the ebb. Before departing east, a short paddle in the opposite direction through the narrows to Bostadh beach will allow you to visit the reconstructed Iron Age house. In 1992 a severe storm altered the beach profile and revealed a village dating from about 400–800 AD. There was a hasty excavation and the remains were then backfilled, although the tops of the walls from two of the houses can sometimes be seen as the beach moves.

Heading back east you pass a headland with the remains of Dùn Stuigh, one of the island’s ancient fortified dwellings. Paddling down the east coast you arrive at Loch Riosaigh; the Beàrnaraigh lobster pond can be seen on the east side of this loch. It is enclosed with a wall built 14

across the entrance to Tob Blar Meadha. The keep was built by Murdo Morrison of Circebost and is seventy-five yards from end to end, made remarkable by its tapering shape. The lobsters were caught and then brought from as far away as Breanish and the Butt of Lewis to be kept in the pond until ready to ship. In the 1930s, Murdo’s son wrote:

“I have myself, on one occasion, taken a lobster in a box across the Minch and by train to Glasgow. It had been fully 30 hours out of water but, when liberated from the box, was able, on being tapped with a stick, to jump some inches off the floor. How long could it go on living or per­ forming its antics was not tested as it was mercilessly - or mercifully - put into a pot.” Continuing southeast, Circebost is located opposite Eilean Bhàcasaigh. It is home to a small fishing fleet that specialises in shellfish. In 1972 a processing plant was built at the pier; it is not the prettiest of piers but working ports hardly ever are.

At the southeast corner of Beàrnaraigh, turn west and enter Loch Barraglom. Sgeir Tìndealan (NB 184 333) on the southern shore is a good place to haul out and have a break. Otters can often be seen working this shoreline. Seana Chnoc Bearasaigh Cealasaigh

Flodaigh

1.5

kn

SP

Beàrnaraigh Beag

1.5kn spring in channel

a rl a b L oc h C h

Càrlabhagh Carlabhagh

h a ig h Broch

8

A85

Iron Age Village

An Caolas

L

Pabaigh Mòr

oc h R

as

Great Bernera

Fuaidh Mòr

Loch Ròg 1

2

Calanais 4

3

B8011

Kilometres Nautical Miles 0

Breascleit

Standing Stones

9 05

0

1.5kn spring in channel

B8

Fuaigh Beag

ar

h

E

aig

an

ol ab

òg

Breacleit

Bhacsaigh

Ca Ph

1 Beàrnaraigh & Beàrnaraigh Beag

Campaigh

2

15

Chapel Beach, Beàrnaraigh Beag | Mike Sullivan

Beàrnaraigh & Beàrnaraigh Beag

1

You will now be able to see the Bernera Bridge, one of the bridges over the Atlantic. It was a major breakthrough in civil engineering as it was the first bridge made from pre-stressed concrete girders. When it was opened on 22 July 1953, over 4000 people walked across it. The Stornoway Gazette reported:

“On that day Bernera ceased to be an island and became part of Lewis. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say Lewis ceased to be an island and became part of Bernera.”

Either side of the bridge you will see strings of mussel farms where mussels are grown before they are harvested and sent off to the south of England and Europe. The tide runs at up to 2 knots under the bridge.

As you head out from under the bridge you are now entering the West Loch (Loch Ròg). Head up the Caolas Fuaigh, in which there is a tidal flow of up to 1 knot. There is a small fish farm slip for a break in Caolas Bhalasaigh; a foot bridge takes you over the entrance to Tòb Bhalasaigh. On the ebb, there is a small tidal rapid which can provide some entertainment. This Tòb has been designated a Marine Special Area of Conservation because it is a silled saline lagoon or fjardic loch.

The next stretch of coast only offers escape at Tobson and, being westerly facing, is exposed. Tobson offers a beautiful beach and rarely has more than a ripple landing on it. The coast from here up to Bàgh Chlann Neill has many caves which can be explored in the right conditions. There is a scatter of skerries at the northwest corner of Great Bernera (Beàrnaraigh) round Siaram Bostadh. Once back at Bostadh beach, it is possible to go back through the gap to the slip or you can continue with a circumnavigation of Little Bernera (Beàrnaraigh Beag). Little

16

Beàrnaraigh Beag | Mike Sullivan

The northerly corner has a 1.5 knot tide running round the headland. Clearing this, you enter the shelter of a turquoise lagoon between Beàrnaraigh Beag and Cealasaigh, the Caolas Cealasaigh. This has a large shell sand beach, Tràigh Mhòr. On a sunny day you can imagine yourself on a deserted island in the South Seas. There is a plethora of islands, coves and caves to explore and, with a swell, there is always interest among the skerries.

As you pass Gàisgeir and Seildeim on the east coast, you arrive at a small beach overlooked by the remains of a small chapel and graveyard. From here it is a short paddle back into the sound and return to the slip.

Variations North and west of Beàrnaraigh Beag are the islands of Flodaigh, Fleisgeir, Bearasaigh, Seanna Chnoc (Old Hill), Campaigh, Cùl Champaigh and Màs Sgeir. All of these islands are worth exploring with much interest. This area has tide running between the islands and is open to the swells of the Atlantic. There are petrels nesting on these outliers.

1 Beàrnaraigh & Beàrnaraigh Beag

Bernera is a very fertile island and was able to support a small community in 1831, enough for the Edinburgh Gaelic School Society to establish a school there. In 1832, however, most of the islanders were resettled or ‘cleared’ and the school closed.

Tide and weather This area is subject to heavy ground swell as it is open to the west.

17

Iron Age house, Bostadh | Tim Pickering

Beàrnaraigh & Beàrnaraigh Beag

1

18

Additional Information This area is covered by Admiralty Chart 3422.

Neil MacLeod In the 1600s, the pirate Neil MacLeod had his stronghold on Bearasaigh and from there harassed the gentlemen traders who plied the waters off the Hebrides. The island was a fortress as impregnable as Castle Kisimul in Barra and MacLeod was able to hole up there for several years. After much trouble, Ruairaidh MacKenzie ruthlessly lashed all of MacLeod’s kin in a boat which was tied to a rock off the island at low tide, then prepared to allow the rising water to drown the occupants. Just before the drowning, MacLeod surrendered. Although he escaped again, he was recaptured and in 1613 hung in Market Square in Edinburgh.

Appendix A – Planning In order to avoid a potentially hazardous situation or emergency arising it is important to plan carefully and take into account the following areas of safety before getting onto the water: 1. Past, current and predicted weather 2. Planned Journey (distance, exposure, time, objective) 3. Group number/experience/ability 4. Equipment carried 5. Tidal information 6. Methods of emergency communication 7. Poor weather/escape routes 8. Self sufficiency 9. Overnight shelter/accommodation 10. Sensitive environmental areas (or breeding seasons)

An outline plan of the journey, including all relevant safety information, should be completed as a matter of course. This should be left with a friend or relative who will contact the emergency services should you not return on time or as planned.

Prior to getting on to the water it would be prudent to contact the coastguard giving them relevant safety information about the group, the journey and estimated departure and arrival times. It may also be useful to give them a shore-based contact. The Outer Hebrides have varied reception areas for handheld VHF, but you may also be able to contact local fishing boats who would be able to relay messages on your behalf. There is also reasonable mobile phone reception in some areas. In deep cut sea lochs or under hills and cliffs you will not get much reception and you may find by hiking up to a higher spot you may get a phone or VHF signal. Stornoway Coastguard telephone 01851 702013 or use Channel 16 (VHF) For emergency services telephone 999 or 112 and ask for the type of assistance required (Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade or Coastguard). There is a Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Stornoway airport.

Route Planner Download The A4 sized blank journey planner printout along with an explanation (as found in Scottish Sea Kayaking and Welsh Sea Kayaking) can be downloaded at pesdapress.com from the resources area. Combining up to date tidal information with the details in this guide on the Route Planner form will help you draw up all the information you need to take to sea.

Coastguard & Emergency Services

Appendix B – Coastguard & Emergency Services

227

Appendix C – Weather Information For Met Office shipping forecasts the whole of the Outer Hebrides is contained within the sea area ‘Hebrides’. However the southern part of the chain just touches on the ‘Malin’ area and it can also be useful to take account of the ‘Fair Isle’ area if you are in the northern part of the Hebrides, especially if you are attempting crossings. The relevant inshore waters forecast appropriate to the area is referred to in the forecast as ‘Ardnamurchan Point to Cape Wrath’ this area forecast is divided into two sections, one to include the Minch (the one more relevant to the Hebrides) and one which excludes the Minch to focus more on the mainland coastal areas.

Television The television forecast for Scotland is broadcast on BBC1 at 1855 and again at 2230.

National Radio BBC Radio 4 (92-95 fm & 198 lw) 0048 (LW, MW, FM) Shipping and Inshore Waters 0520 (LW, MW, FM) Shipping and Inshore Waters 1201 (LW only) Shipping Forecast 1754 (LW, FM) Shipping Forecast, Sat/Sun only BBC Radio Scotland (92-95 fm & 810 mw) 1904 Mon-Fri Outdoor Conditions, including Inshore Waters Forecast 0704 Sat & Sun Outdoor Conditions, including Inshore Waters Forecast 2204/2004 Sat/Sun Outdoor Conditions, including Inshore Waters Forecast

Section Marker

VHF Radio Stornoway coastguard broadcasts Met Office weather information every 3 hours from 0110 UT. The initial call will tell you what channel to select for the forecast. The broadcasts at 0710 and 1910 contain a full maritime safety update as well as a full forecast for the area including any other important safety announcements or gale warnings: the other broadcasts (every 3 hours) will only contain the forecasts. The Coastguard can also be contacted at any time by phone on 01851 702013/14 for a forecast as well as contacting them by VHF. You will also be made welcome if you visit the station in Stornoway if you have time as they are very helpful

Internet There are a multitude of weather sites to choose from now and you may have your own preferences . You can find the ones we use in the links section of www.stornowaycanoes.org.uk. These also include sites where you will find swell forecasts.

Appendix D – Travel and Accommodation General information is available from www.visithebrides.com. The archipelago is served by ferries from Oban, Uig (in Skye) and Ullapool and these as well as the inter-island ferries are all operated by Caledonian MacBrayne (www.calmac.co.uk). Flybe (www.flybe.com) operate routes from Glasgow to Barra, Benbecula and Stornoway and also from Edinburgh and Inverness to Stornoway; Eastern Airways (www.EasternAirways.com) operate from Aberdeen to Stornoway. 228

Appendix E - Glossary of Gaelic Words

Coastal Features Acairseid Aiseag Ard or Aird Bàgh Bodha Bogha Cabhsair Cala Camus Caol or Caolas Carraig Ceann Cladach Cleit Coire Cuan Eilean

Anchorage Ferry Promontory or Height Bay Rock over which waves break Arch Causeway Port Bay/Inlet Narrows or Kyle/Firth/Strait Rock/Cliff Headland/Point Shore/ Stony Beach Rocky Ridge Whirlpool Ocean Island

Land Features Abhainn Aill Allt Aonach Bàrr Bealach Beinn Bidean Bruthach Bun Caisteal Cill or Ceall Clach Clais

River Steep river bank Stream Moor/Plain/a desert place Top/Summit Pass Mountain Pinnacle Steep Place/Brae River Mouth/Source/Root/Base Castle Church or Burial Place Stone Ditch

Geò or Geòdha Innis Long Mol Maol Muir/Mara Oitir Port Poll Rinn or Roinn Rubha, Rubh or Ru Sgeir Sròn Sruth Taobh Tràigh Uamh

Chasm/Rift Island or Meadow/Pasture Ship Shingly Beach Promontory Sea/of the sea Sandbank Harbour Fishing Bank Point or Promontory Point/Headland Skerry/Reef Nose/Point Current Coast Tidal Beach Cave

Cnap Coille Creag Dùn Eas or Easan Fraoch Glac Inbhir Linn Meall Ord Sgùrr Slochd Tigh

Hillock Wood/Forest Crag/Cliff Fortress/Castle Waterfall Heather Hollow River Mouth Pool Rounded Hill/Mound Steep Hill Large Conical Hill Hollow House

Glossary of Gaelic Words

Before the advent of maps and charts the Scottish fishermen navigated the waters by local knowledge. To help them with this they used to descriptively name many of the coastal features, this way they could describe to each other where they went or how to get there. When translating the Gaelic names around the coastline these days you will learn a lot about the area from these very descriptive names. The fishermen only used to fish a relatively small area near to their crofts, and therefore would just name all the features in that area. The next area’s fishermen would then name the features in their area likewise. You will see lots of repetition in the Gaelic names as each area would have its own ‘black rock’ that it named. Here is a list of some of the more common Gaelic names you will find whilst kayaking the Scottish coastline. A lot of the original mapmakers would have been non-gaelic speaking which is why you’ll find variations of spelling. To make matters more complicated, ‘local’ names, particularly for wildlife can vary from area to area! For a great book on local place names read The Village Names of Lewis by Magne Oftedal published by the Island Book Trust http://www.theislandsbooktrust.com/.

229

Common Descriptions for these Features Ard Bàn Beag or Bheag Buidhe Dearg Dubh Domhain Donn Fada Garbh

Wild Life

Glossary of Gaelic Words

An Leumadair Buthaid Caora Coinneanach Cù Eun-mara Faoileag Gille-Brìghde Gobhar Iasg

230

High Pale/White Small Yellow Red Black/Dark Deep Brown Long Rough/Thick

Geal Geàrr Glas Gorm Liath Mòr or Mhòr Naomh Ruadh Uaine

White Short Pale/Grey Green/Blue Grey/Blue Big/Large Saint Red/Brown Green

Dolphin Puffin Sheep Rabbit Dog Seabird Black Headed Gull Oyster Catcher Goat Fish

Iolaire Madadh Muc-mhara Puthag Ròn Sgarbh Sùlaire Trilleachan

Eagle Wolf/Dog Whale (pig of the sea) Porpoise Seal Cormorant Gannet Sandpiper

(Thanks to Anne Martin for comments.)

Appendix F – Recommended Reading A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland circa 1695, Martin Martin, Birlinn 1999; ISBN: 01841580201. A Desert Place in the Sea: The Early Churches of North Lewis, Michael Robson, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis 1997; ISBN: 953137 40 6. An Island Odyssey, Hamish Haswell-Smith, Canongate 1999; ISBN: 1 841950 82 3. Ancient Lewis and Harris: Exploring the Archaeology of the Outer Hebrides, Christopher Burgess, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 2008; ISBN: 978 0 951949 02 3. Ancient Monuments of the Western Isles, The; Denys Pringle(ed), HMSO 1994; ISBN: 0114952019. Archaeology of Skye and the Western Isles, The; Ian Armit, Edinburgh University Press 1996; ISBN: 0748606408. Argonauts of the Western Isles, Sea Kayaking off Scotland’s West Coast, Robin Lloyd-Jones, Diadem Books 1989; ISBN: 906371 03 1. Argyll and the Western Isles, Graham Ritchie and Mary Harman, HMSO 1996; ISBN: 114952876. Benbecula, Ray Burnett, Mingulay Press 1986. Birdwatching in the Outer Hebrides, Peter Cunningham, Tim Dix and Philip Snow, Saker Press 1995. Calanais; The Standing Stones, Patrick Ashmore, Urras nan Tursachan 1995; ISBN: 0861521617. Chapels in the Western Isles, The; Finlay MacLeod, Acair 1997; ISBN: 0861521080. Discovering Lewis and Harris, James Shaw Grant, John Donald 1987; ISBN: 0859761851. Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek, The Barry Cunliffe, Allen Lane 2001; ISBN: 0713995092. Facing the Ocean: The Atlantic and its Peoples 8000 BC to AD 1500, Barry Cunliffe, Oxford University Press 2001; ISBN: 0199240191. Folk-songs and Folklore of South Uist, Margaret Faye Shaw, Birlinn 1999; ISBN: 1841580082.

Harris in History and Legend, Bill Lawson, Birlinn 2006; ISBN: 1841585238. Hebrides, The; WH Murray, Heinemann 1966 . History of St Kilda, The; Kenneth Macauley (first pub 1764), Thin 1974; ISBN: 0901824305. Illustrated Life of Columba, The; John Marsden, Floris Books 1991; ISBN: 0863152112. Island Blackhouse, The; Alexander Fenton, Historic Scotland 1978; ISBN: 0114934843. Islands of Scotland, The; Norman Tennent, Scottish Mountaineering Club District Guide Books 1971; ISBN: 0901516473. Isles of the West, Ian Mitchell, Canongate 1999; ISBN: 086241878X. Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland’s western seaboard, c1100-1336, The; R Andrew McDonald, Tuckwell Press 1997; ISBN: 1898410852

Recommended Reading

Harris and Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Frances Thompson 1968, David & Charles; ISBN: 0715342606

Lewis Chessmen, The; Michael Taylor, British Museum Press 1978; ISBN: 0714113476 Lewis Chessmen, The Neil Stratford, British Museum Press 1997; ISBN: 0714105872 Lewis: The Story of an Island, Christine Macdonald, Acair 1998; ISBN: 861521846. Lewis and Harris, Francis Thompson, Pevensey 1999; ISBN: 189863002X. Lewis, A History of the Island, Donald Macdonald, Steve Savage 2004; ISBN: 1904246087. Lewis in History and Legend: The West Coast, Bill Lawson, Birlinn 2008; ISBN: 1841583685. Lords of the Isles: A History of Clan Donald, The; Raymond Campbell Paterson, Birlinn 2001; ISBN: 184158097X

231

Lords of the Isles: The Clan Donald and the early Kingdom of the Scots, The; Ronald Williams, House of Lochar 1997; ISBN: 0701122684 Making of the Crofting Community, The; James Hunter, John Donald 1976; ISBN: 0859760146 Mingulay, an Island and its People, Ben Buxton, Birlinn 1995; ISBN: 1874744246. North Uist in History and Legend, Bill Lawson, Birlinn 2004, 0859765954. Outer Hebrides Handbook and Guide, The; David Perrott, (ed) Kittiwake 1989; ISBN: 0951100335 Outer Hebrides, a Landscape Fashioned by Geology, The; Kathryn Goodenough and John Merritt, Scottish Natural Heritage 2007; ISBN: 9781853975073 Photographic Guide to the Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic, Carl Christian Kinze, Oxford University Press 2002; ISBN: 0198526253. Polly; The True Story Behind Whisky Galore, Roger Hutchinson, Mainstream 1990; ISBN: 1840180714. Road to the Isles: Travellers in the Hebrides 1770-1914, Derek Cooper, Macmillan 2002; ISBN: 0333901002. Roads to the Isles, Norman Newton, Lochar 1991; ISBN: 0094840342. Scotland Highlands and Islands Handbook: The Travel Guide, Alan Murphy, Footprint 2001; ISBN: 1900949946. Scotland’s Hidden History, Ian Armit, Tempus 1998; ISBN: 0752414003. Scottish Islands, The; Hamish Haswell-Smith, Canongate 1996; ISBN: 0862415799 Sea-road of the Saints: Celtic Holy Men in the Hebrides, John Marsden, Floris Books 1995; ISBN: 0863152104. Skye and the Hebrides: Rock and Ice Climbs, John MacKenzie, Noel Williams, Dave Cuthbertson, Scottish Mountaineering Trust 1996; ISBN: 0907521487.

Recommended Reading

Somerled and the Emergence of Gaelic Scotland, John Marsden, Tuckwell Press 2000; ISBN: 1862321019. South Uist Archaeology and History of a Hebridean Island, Mike Parker Pearson, Niall Sharples and Jim Symonds, Tempus 2004; ISBN: 0752429051. St Kilda, David Quine, Colin Baxter Photography 2000; ISBN: 1841070084. St Kilda: Myth and Reality, Bill Lawson, John Love and John Randall, Islands Book Trust 2007; ISBN: 0954623894. St Kilda National Nature Reserve, SNH Publications 2004; ISBN: 185397403X. St Kilda Portraits, David Quine, DA Quine 1988; ISBN: 0950813532. Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, The; Aubrey Burl, Yale University Press 2000; ISBN: 0300083475 Travels in the Western Hebrides from 1782 to 1790, Rev. JL Buchanan, MacLean Press 1793 Uists and Barra, The; Francis Thompson, Pevensey 1999; ISBN: 1898630038 West Coast of Scotland Pilot, Hydrographer to the Navy 1974; ISBN: 0707700604 West Over Sea, DDC Pochin Mould, Acair 1953 Western Islands Handbook, The; David Perrott, Kittiwake Press 1997; ISBN: 0951100343 Western Isles, The; Alasdair Alpin MacGregor, Robert Hale 1949 Western Isles, Innsegall, The; J Barber and DA Magee, John Donald 1985; ISBN: 0859761428 Yachtsman’s Pilot to the Western Isles, The; Martin Lawrence, Imray Laurie Norie and Wilson 1996; ISBN: 0852883595

232

Index of Place Names C

Calbhaigh 137, 141 Callanish 11 Camas na Clibhe 23, 80 Camas Thomascro 61 Campaigh 17 Camas Mòr 209 Camas Uig 80 Caolas 88 Caolas an Scarp 97, 100, 102, 103, 106, 108 Caolas an Stac 141 Caolas Beag 91 Caolas Bhalasaigh 16 Caolas Bhearnaraigh 175 Caolas Cealasaigh 17 Caolas Fuaigh 16 Caolas Liursaigh 136 Caolas na Crubag 56 Caolas na Eilean 64, 66, 68 Caolas na Hearadh 109, 111, 115, 118 Caolas nan Eilean 62, 63, 64 Caolas Phabaigh 20, 21 Caolas Scalpay 88 Caolas Sgairidh 114 Caolas Sgalpaigh 87 Caolas Shiolaigh 113 Caolas Tharasaigh 95 Caragrich 169, 170 Càrlabhagh 29, 30, 33 Carnach 209, 212 Càrnais 80, 193, 195 Carragraich 88 Castlebay 159, 160, 165, 169, 172, 173 Castlebay. 164, 175 Causamul Rock 157 Cealasaigh 17 Ceallan 134 Ceallan Harbour 131 Ceallasaigh Mòr 119 Ceallin 131 Ceann a Gharaidh 139, 140

Index of Place Names

Barkin Isles 55 Barpa Langais chambered A Bhàd 119 cairn 129 Abhainn Suidhe 98, 99 Barra 159, 165 A’ Bheirigh 31 Barra airport 162 Acairseid Mhòr 141 Barra Head 169, 170, 172, A’ Chearc 48 174 Aiginis 49 Battery Point 53 Aiginis cairn 48 Bearasaigh 14, 17, 18 Aird a Mhachair 147, 149 Beàrnaraigh 13, 14, 16, 116, Aird a Mhulaird castle 73 145 Aird Bhi 90 Beàrnaraigh Beag 13, 16, 17 Àird Bhreinis 80 Beàrneraigh na Hearadh 109 Àird Chaol 27 Beinn Mhòr 125, 137 Àirdh a Mhulaidh 77 Beinn Sciathan 141 Àirdh Mhòr 161 – 163 Benbecula 125, 151, 152, 153, Àird Mhic Caoilt 144 154 Àird Uig 23, 80, 195 Bernera 16 Airidh a Bhruaich 73 Bernera Bridge 16, 27 Àirinis light 53, 54 Berneray 109, 169, 170, 175, Àirinis yard 52 218 An Rubha 46, 47 Bhàcasaigh 22, 117 An Tairbeart 85, 86, 89, 90 Bhalaigh 92, 143 An t-Ob 111, 112, 121, 122 Bhalamus 69, 70 Àrd Caol 74 Bhalamus bay 71 Arnish Light 225 Bhaltos 19, 79, 80 Arnish Point 208 Bhaltos peninsula 20 Atlantic Outliers 191 Bhaltos Pier 19, 20 B Bhatasgeir 45 Bàgh Aird nam Madadh 128 Bhòtarsaigh 116 Bàgh Chlann Neill 16 Bienn Stac 141 Bàgh Mòraig 134 blackhouses 30 Bàgh nam Faoileann 137, 138 Boraraigh 145, 177, 183, 188 Bàgh nan Uamh 133 Boreray 145, 177, 183, 188 Bàgh Phabail 48, 50, 208 Bostadh 13, 14, 16 Bàgh Slìthcleit 98 Bràigh, the 46-50, 226 Bàgh Teileam 119 Bràigh Mòr 88 Bàgh Tholmair 136 Brèibhig 43, 45 Bàgh Uisinis 136 Bridge to Nowhere 40 Baile Ailein 55 Broad Bay 46, 223, 226 Balephuil 215, 216 Bròna Cleit 194 Balevullin 216 Bun Abhainn Eadarra 98 Balivanich 125 bunkhouse 30, 208 Ballivanich 151, 154 Butt of Lewis 35, 38, 41, 202

A

233

Index of Place Names

Ceann Ear 156 Ceann Iar 157 Ceann Mòr 76 Ceileagraigh 109, 114 Ceolas nan Eilean 72 Circebost 15 Cladach Chaiasiadair 40 Cladach Chuidhsiadair 40 Clashnessie Bay 223, 224 Cleats, The 210 Clibhe 80 Cliobh 20 Cnoc na Cille 21 Coilleag a Phrionnsa 142, 162 Copaigh 109, 113 Cope Passage 112 Corran Rà 95 Creageam Island 31 Creag Fhraoch 46 Creag Ghorm 26 Creagorry 153, 154 Crobeag 56 Crosbost 55, 56 Cuddy Point 51, 52, 53, 54, 208, 226 Cùl Champaigh 17

D

Daliburgh 150 Dhail Beag 29, 32 Dhail Mòr 29, 32, 33 Dhiobadial 40 Diricleit 88 Drinisiadar 90 Dubh Sgeir Leiniger 32 Dùn 177, 187, 189, 190 Dùn Àrn 123 Dùn Charaigearraidh 128 Dùn Eistean 37, 38 Dùn Mhic Laitheann 118 Dùn Sgealair 129 Dùn Stuigh 14 Duntulm 209, 210

E

Eaglais na h-Aoidhe 48 Eala Sheadha 21 234

Easaigh 109, 114 Eilean a’Chaìse 49 Eilean a’ Chrotaich 48 Eilean a’ Ghobha 194 Eileanan Iasgaich 137 Eilean an Taighe 64 Eilean Beag 48 Eilean Bhàcasaigh 15 Eilean Cearstaigh 102, 103 Eilean Chaluim Chille 55, 56 Eilean Glas 85, 87, 212 Eilean Grìoda 52 Eilean Leathan 141, 162 Eilean Leòdhais 11 Eilean Lingreabhaigh 91 Eilean Liubhaird 60, 64, 66 Eilean Mhealasta 84, 106 Eilean Mhòr a’ Bhàigh 70 Eilean Molach 80 Eilean Mòr 48, 194, 195 Eilean na Cille 153 Eilean na Cobhair 54 Eilean Orasaidh 56 Eilean Shiòphort 77 Eilean Stocanais 91 Eilean Thòraidh 57 Eilean Thuilm 53, 95 Eilean Tighe 194 Eisgein 62 Ensay 114 Eòropaidh 35, 38 Eriskay 139, 140, 142, 162, 163, 164 Europie beach 36 Eye Peninsula 47

F

Fhionnsabhaigh 91 Fiar Chrèag 60 Filiscleitir 40 firing range 148, 150 Fladaigh 103 Fladda-chùain 210, 211, 213 Flannan Isles 191, 193, 197 Fleisgeir 17 Fleoideabhaigh 91 Flodaigh 17, 133, 134

Flodaigh Mòr 133 Fuaigh Mòr 22, 23 Fuday 142, 163 Fuidhaigh 137

G

Gaeilavore 210 Gàisgeir 17, 103 Gallan Head 23, 79, 80, 198 Garbh Eilean 64, 66 Garbh Eilean Mòr 132 Gearran Island 210 Geòdha Maladail 21, 23 Geo nan Ron 188 Gheocrab 91 Ghob Rubha Uisinis 72 Gighay 162 Giosla 25 Gisla 26 Glas Eilean 195 Gleann Mòr 188 Gleann Uisinis 137 Glen Bay 188 Gloraig Hùisinis 100 Gloraig Tharasaigh 100 Gob à Champa 98 Gob an Tobha 112 Gob na Creige 48 Gob Rubha Phàil 80 Gob Rubha Uisinis 60 Great Bernera 16 Greineam 116 Griminis 144, 145 Griminis Pier 143 Griminis Point 145 Grimsay 131, 152, 153 Griomasaigh 131, 132, 134 Grodhaigh 109, 118, 123 Gunamul 176

H

Harris 11, 83, 84, 109 Haskeir 180 Haunn 141 Hecla 135 Heillihope 91 Hellisay 162 Hirta 177, 181, 183, 184, 185,

I

Iarsiadar 25, 27 Iron Age house 14, 18 Iron Age village 136 Isle Martin 206

K

Kallin Harbour 152 Killegray 114 Kinlochbervie 219, 220 Kisimul castle 159 Kyles Lodge 112

L

Langais Lodge 127 Leòdhais, Eilean 11 Leumrabhagh 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 66, 70, 72 Levenish 177, 189, 190 Leverburgh 83, 112, 121, 122 Leverburgh Channel. 112 Lewis 11, 20 Lewis, Isle of 11 Lews Castle 52 Lì a Deas 128 Lì a Tuath 128 Lingreabagh 89 Lionacleit 152 Little Bernera 16 Little Minch 118, 119, 209, 213 Loch à Ghlinne 103, 106 Loch Aineort 137 Loch a Laip 151 Loch Amhlasaigh 116 Loch an Dùin 94 Loch an Tairbeairt 88 Loch an t-Sàile 91 Loch a Tuath 40, 43, 44, 46,

49 Loch Baghasdail 135, 137, 150 Loch Barraglom 15 Loch Bhrolluim 59, 61, 71 Lochboisdale 125, 150 Loch Broom 205, 206 Loch Bun Abhainn Eadarra 98 Loch Càrnan 135, 136, 138 Loch Chliuthair 91 Loch Claidh 70, 71 Loch Coradail 137 Loch Crabhadail 106 Loch Drobhanais 27 Loch Èireasort 55, 58 Loch Euphort 128 Loch Ghreosabhagh 90 Loch Griomsiadair 57 Loch Langais 128, 129 Loch Luirboist 55, 56 Lochmaddy 116, 125, 128 Loch Mharabhig 57 Loch Mhic Phail 116, 119 Loch More Coirgavat 26 Loch na Beiste 137 Loch nam Madadh 115, 116, 118, 119, 127, 128 Loch na Teampall 21 Loch Rèasort 105, 106 Loch Riosaigh 14 Loch Roag 28 Loch Roag Beag 26 Loch Ròg 16, 22 Loch Ròg Beag 25 Loch Seaforth 69, 70, 73, 74, 76, 78 Loch Sealg 60, 61 Loch Sgadabhagh 90 Loch Sgiopoirt 136 Loch Sheileabhaigh 138 Loch Tairbeart 90 Loch Tamnabhaigh 106 Loch Tealasbhaigh 106 Loch Trolamaraig 86 Loch Uisgebhagh 152 Lord MacDonald’s Table 210

M

Maclean’s Fort 118 Maiden, The 76, 78 Main Channel 112 Mànais 102 Mangurstadh 80 Mangurstadh Beach 79 Màraig 77, 86 Marbhig 57 Màs Sgeir 17, 21 Mealabost 46 Mealasta 79, 80, 105, 106, 108 Meall Geal 40, 41 Miabhaig 90 Mina Stac 188 Minch, The 39, 48, 63, 66, 74, 133, 203, 204, 205, 209, 210, 211, 219, 220, 221, 224 Mingulay 169, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 215, 216, 218 Mingulay Bay 170, 172, 174, 175, 215 Moilingeanais 86 Mol à Tuath 136 Mol Foirs Geòdha 106 Mol Mòr 22 Mol Mòr Reibinis 90 Mol nan Stòp 99 Monach Islands, The 155, 156 ,180 Monach Sound 155 Mullach Bi 188 Mul Thàgaraidh 60, 64

N

Na Baigh 90 Na Gearrannan 30, 31, 34 Na h-Eileanan Bairclin 55, 56, 57 Ness 39 North Bràigh 47 North Ford Bridge 152 North Rona 191, 199, 200 Northton 112 North Uist 109, 125 NW Sound of Harris 111

Index of Place Names

187, 188 Hogha Gearraidh 155, 156, 157 hostel 30, 74, 83, 86, 160, 208 Huisinis 84, 97, 103, 105, 108 Hùisinis Bàgh 99 Huisinis Bay 106 Huisinis Jetty 101

235

O

Oisebhal 187, 189 Oitir Mhòr 142, 152 Oldshore Beag 219, 222 Orosay 169, 170 Otairnis 115, 116, 120, 145 Outer Stromay Channel 112

Index of Place Names

P

236

Pabaigh 109, 114, 173 Pabaigh Beag 21 Pabaigh Mòr 19, 20, 21 Pabbay 169, 173, 174 Pabbay Lagoon 21 Paibeil 94 Peter’s Port 153 Phabail pier 48 Plocrapol 90 Poball Fhinn standing stones 129, 130 Point 47, 48 Point of Stoer 224 Polin Beach 222 Pollachar 147, 148 Poll Na Crann 151, 152 Poll Na Crann beach 157 pond, Beàrnaraigh lobster 14 Port Mholair 49, 50 Port nan Giuran 49, 50 Port Nan Giuran 226 Port Nis 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 Port Pheadair 138, 153 Port Sgiogarstaigh 40 Port Stoth 37, 38, 199, 201 Priest Island 206 Princes Beach 140, 162, 163

Rhubha na h-Uamha 74 Righinn 194 River Creed 52, 208 Roaiream 194 Rodel 83 Roghadal 89, 90, 92, 121, 123, 124 Roineabhal 91 Ronaigh 131, 132, 133 Ronaigh Beag 133 Rubha Àird a’ Mhuile 147, 148 Rubha Àirinis 52 Rubha an Fhigheadair 118, 119 Rubha an Teampaill 83 Rubha an t-Seileir 40 Rubha an t-Siumpain 49 Rubha Bhrolluim 61 Rubha Chliuthair 91 Rubha Ghriminis 145, 146 Rubha Huisinis 100, 102 Rubha Meadhonach 49 Rubha Na Bheirge 29 Rubha Reinis 122 Rubha Sgeirigin 95 Rubha Sheotharaid 23 Rubha Tholastaidh 40, 43, 44, 46 Rubha t-Siumpain 46 Rudha Raerinis 57

S

Sandray 169, 173, 175 Scalpay 84, 85, 87, 88, 209, 212 Scarp 84, 101, 102-104, 108 Scolpaig 179 R Scolpaig Bay 180 Ranias 57 Scorabhaig 87 Reef Beach 19, 20 Seaforth Island 73, 77 Reef Sands 198 Seaforth rapid 74, 77 Reinigeadal 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, Seanna Chnoc 14, 17 83, 85 Seidhir na Caillich 90 Renish Point 123, 124 Seildeim 17 Rhenigadail 85 Sgeir Ghlais 76 Rhuba an Uisge 189 Sgeir In-ao 212 Rhuba na Bheirghe 32

Sgeir Leathann 45 Sgeir Moil Duinn 102 Sgeir Tìndealan 15 Sgeir Toman 194 Sgeotasaigh 88, 90 Sgiogarstaigh 40 Sheisiadar 49 Shiant South Rock 67 Shiants, The 63, 66, 67, 72, 213 Siabost 29, 32 Sialabhig Mòr 45 Siaram Beag 23 Siaram Bostadh 16 Siaram Mòr 19, 23 Sidean an Airgid 76 Siolaigh 109, 113, 155, 157 Skate Point 175 Skye 209, 210, 213 Soay 177, 188, 189 Sòdhaigh 97 Sòdhaigh Beag 98 Sòdhaigh Mòr 98 Solas 128, 146 Soraidh 194 Sound of Barra 125, 161, 163, 164 Sound of Berneray 169, 170, 175 Sound of Causamul 157 Sound of Harris 109, 111, 114, 115, 121, 124, 125 Sound of Mingulay 170, 174 Sound of Monach 157 Sound of Pabbay 20, 169, 170 Sound of Sandray 169, 170 Sound of Scalpay 87 Sound of Scarp 100, 102, 103, 104, 106, 108 Sound of Shiant 62 Sound of Soay 188 Sound of Taransay 95 South Bràigh 47 South Ford 137 South Ford Causeway 153 South Pairc 69 South Uist 125, 135

Spònais 119 Srannda 122 Sron Romul 103 Sruth Mòr 91 Stac an Armin 177 Stack Islands 141 Stac Lee 177, 186 Stanton Channel 112 St Clement’s church 83 Steòrnabhagh 54 St Kilda 177, 178, 179, 180, 183, 188 Stocàidh 156 Stocinis 91 Stornoway 51, 205, 206, 208, 223, 226 Stornoway Harbour 51, 54 St Peter’s Church 21, 22 Struthan Beag 137 Stulaigh 137 Sula Sgeir 191, 199, 200, 202 Summer Isles 206 Sursaigh 116

Tòdun 86 Toe Head 112 Tols ta 39, 219 Tolsta 220, 221 Tolstadh bho Thuath 44 Tolsta Head 40, 44, 49 Torogaigh 116 Tràigh Chuil 45, 49 Tràigh Clibhe 80 Tràigh Ghearadha 39, 40, 41, 219, 220 Tràigh Ghioradail 44, 46 Tràigh Ghriais 45, 49 Tràigh Iar 94 Tràigh Mhangarstadh 80 Tràigh Mhór 159 Tràigh Mhòr 17, 39, 40, 43, 44, 46 Tràigh na Beirigh 20, 23 Tràigh Niosaboist 93, 94 Tràigh Uige 80 Tulm 210

T

Uidhe 95 Uig bay. 82 Uig Sands 198 Uig (Skye) 213 Uiseabhal 87 Uisinis 136 Uist 116 Uis ts, The 125 Ullapool 205, 206, 208

U

V

Vallastrome, the 134 Vallay 143, 144, 145, 146 Vallay Strand 146 Vatersay 159, 165, 170, 175 Vatersay Eas t Coas t 165 Village Bay 181, 183, 185, 187, 189

Index of Place Names

Tabhaigh Bheag 57 Tabhaigh Mhòr 57 Taghaigh 116 Tairbeart (see Tarbert) Taransay 84, 93 Tarasaigh 93, 94, 96 Tarbert 83, 84, 86, 88, 89, 97, 98, 212, 213 Temple beach 22 Thamna Sgeir 202 Thernatraigh 109, 117 Tholastaidh 38 Tiree 215, 216 Tiumpan Head 47, 48, 49, 50, 219, 220, 226 Tòb a’Mhorghain 22 Tòb Bhalasaigh 16 Tòb Cromor 56 Tobha Beag 80 Tòb Leireabhaigh 54 Tobson 16 Tob Stiomrabhaigh 61

West Loch Tairbeart 97 Wes t South Uis t 147 whaling station 98, 100 Witch’s Pool 56

W

Weavers Castle 141, 162 West Loch 16 West Loch Roag 25

237

sea kayaking around the isles & st kilda

Front Cover – The sun sets over Little Bernera | Mike Sullivan

Back Cover – Surf landing, Camas na Clibh, Lewis | Douglas Wilcox

The Outer Hebrides

butt of l ewis

This is a practical guide to help you plan your own voyages, with useful maps and colour photographs throughout. Each trip is described with distances, ISBN 978-1-906095-09-3 times and tidal information, and is accompanied by anecdotes about local history, geology, scenery, seabirds and sea mammals. 9

781906 095093

Turas math (have a good journey)

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eb

ta rbert

r

H

s t K i lda

te

With over 2,000km of coastline to explore, the paddling offers something for everyone: miles of white shell sand beaches; magnificent cliffs rising from the sea; exposed and committing headlands; crossings; sheltered sea lochs and some of the most isolated islands in Europe.

stor noway

Ou

Fàilte (welcome) to the Outer Hebrides. This chain of islands lies about sixty kilometres off the northwest coast of Scotland. Paddle here and you will discover a rich culture and history unique to these islands.

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berneray

Skye


Outer Hebrides Sea Kayaking sample