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Mighty Clisham horseshoe

Mighty Clisham horseshoe


Postby denfinella » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:29 pm

Route description: Clisham (An Cliseam) horseshoe

Corbetts included on this walk: Clisham

Date walked: 27/05/2018

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1020m

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<< previous day: Beinn Dhubh, Luskentyre

Sunday on Lewis. Not much to do, and the hills of Harris were calling again. So it was another trip down the now-familiar A859, this time to climb the giant(ish) An Cliseam - the highest hill in the Outer Hebrides. The direct route didn't really appeal, but the horseshoe around Gleann Sgaladail did.


clisham-horseshoe.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We reversed the WH route (I can't remember why, but there was a reason!), meaning starting with a section of the Harris walkway. View from the start:

1.jpg


As expected, the Harris walkway was very squelchy in places (even after a week of dry weather), but otherwise makes for an easy climb up to about 200 metres.

2.jpg


All too soon, it was time to leave the track and head onto pathless hillside. Looking back the way we came:

3.jpg


I hadn't been looking forward to the next part: 3 km of traversing with no path. But it turned out to be enjoyable for a number of reasons: a cooling breeze, no steep climbs, dry ground, wispy cloud protecting us from the strongest of the sunshine, and plenty of wildlife. This golden plover stayed visible for quite a while, with a very loud call every few seconds:

4.jpg


Clisham visible beyond Tomnabhal:

5.jpg


Mountain hare:

6.jpg


It was easy to drawn too far upwards / to the right when traversing the side of Tomnabhal, and we kept having to correct downwards. Finally Clisham was fully in view - crags blocked a direct ascent, with our slightly easier route on the south-east side looking a long way away - basically on the left horizon here:

7.jpg


In the end we cut diagonally upwards a bit, involving some very easy scrambling, before getting back onto the planned route at about 550 metres ASL. Any paths were intermittent until just before the top, but it was busy, with lots of people doing the direct ascent from the layby to the south-east. View over South Harris from near the top:

8.jpg


Summit views - the northern panorama with the flatness of Lewis was particularly impressive:

9.jpg


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So far, so good, but the most interesting part of the day was still to come. The ridge ahead looked excellent:

12.jpg


Most of the ridge is broad enough not to need to concentrate on where you're putting your feet, but narrow enough that you get great views off both sides at the same time. Crags bar the direct ascent of Mulla bho Dheas, but a bypass path keeps to the right (north) slope before climbing onto the ridge just beyond the summit. A little bit of easy scrambling involved but much more straightforward than expected, though possibly trickier if the rock was wet. If doing the horseshoe in the other direction (i.e. the way WHs describes) it might be difficult to find the start of the bypass path.

Bypass path:

13.jpg


South Harris:

14.jpg


Onwards, and Uisgneabhal Mor and Teileasbhal looked very tempting across the glen - perhaps one for next time?

15.jpg


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No dramas on the third summit, Mulla bho Thuath, but great views back along the ridge:

17.jpg


Forward to the final summit, Mullach an Langa:

18.jpg


Whole ridge in view from Mullach an Langa:

19.jpg


Descending was also easier than expected: steep at first, but then an easy tramp through the glen - mostly pathless, but most of the bog was dry, and an easy, gentle downhill gradient.

20.jpg


Stopped for the usual hot day routine of dipping feet in the burn...

21.jpg


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Back to the car a bit earlier than planned, before a hot journey back to Stornoway. Highly recommend this excellent horseshoe walk - surely much finer than the direct route.

>> next day: Lews Castle grounds, Stornoway
Last edited by denfinella on Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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denfinella
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Re: Mighty Clisham horseshoe

Postby iangpark » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:35 pm

Good to see some other views of this route! Going there with the uni in late August and trying to figure out whether we'll have time for a full horseshoe. Think it'll end up being the direct route via your way up if there's no day off! What an adventure your summer is turning out to be denfinella :-P
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iangpark
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Re: Mighty Clisham horseshoe

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:22 pm

Fabulous looking day.

I've looked at the map here for a while, and not for a moment considered the "boring" looking direct route, the horseshoe looks superb.
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Mal Grey
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Re: Mighty Clisham horseshoe

Postby malky_c » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:02 pm

Fantastic - I wasted Clisham on a poor day, and would love to go back and do this route :D . Every time I have been there since, either the weather hasn't been right or there just hasn't been time.
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Re: Mighty Clisham horseshoe

Postby denfinella » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:00 pm

iangpark wrote:Good to see some other views of this route! Going there with the uni in late August and trying to figure out whether we'll have time for a full horseshoe. Think it'll end up being the direct route via your way up if there's no day off! What an adventure your summer is turning out to be denfinella :-P


Thanks Ian! Took us 7 1/2 hours but we're not particularly quick so you might be able to shave a little bit off that time (unless it rains a lot before then, which means the bog might slow you down). Yes, we're having a good summer... and it's only the start of July :D

Mal Grey wrote:Fabulous looking day.

I've looked at the map here for a while, and not for a moment considered the "boring" looking direct route, the horseshoe looks superb.


Totally agree!

malky_c wrote:Fantastic - I wasted Clisham on a poor day, and would love to go back and do this route :D . Every time I have been there since, either the weather hasn't been right or there just hasn't been time.


We're all got hills like that - even fair-weather walkers like me! Ben Wyvis and Goatfell are two I'd like to do again on a better day. Hope you get a chance in the sunshine one day.
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denfinella
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