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Beautiful Berneray

Beautiful Berneray

Postby denfinella » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:13 pm

Route description: Berneray Explorer

Date walked: 13/07/2019

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 160m

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Our last day on the Uists was a shorter one, with a late afternoon ferry to catch back to Skye and the mainland beyond. We had one island left to visit - Berneray - and this circuit seemed ideal to explore the main parts.

berneray WH.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

The WH guide suggests to park inside the community hall car park, but there weren't any signs saying this was OK. As we approached, a man came out of the building and asked if we were here for the running race. Certainly not! :wink: He directed us to a spot on the grass in front of the hall, as the car park would be full of runners' cars later.

The start of the circuit heads across level grassy fields towards the west coast.


The going gets a little rough for the last hundred metres or so to the magnificent beach:


The weather varied between sunshine and brief rain showers as we followed the sand north then east around the tip of the island.


Rocks at the end of the beach mark the start of the climb up Beinn Shleibhe:


There's a very faint path, but we didn't stumble across it until we were nearly at the top. In any case, it's all short-cropped grass underfoot, so very easy to walk on:


We wondered if this might have been an old burial tomb halfway up:


Looking south across Berneray:


Views of Harris from the top:


The descent off Beinn Shleibhe had a slightly clearer path and continued to be marked by occasional posts.



Eventually we reached the beach on the east side of Berneray - which we followed south instead of the road. It was a bit smelly due to rotting seaweed!



At the end of the beach is a thatched hostel. There were also seals visible out in the bay, but we got better views from further on.


And here they are!




Loch a' Bhaigh:


A little more road walking took us past the Nurse's Cottage - a tiny heritage centre which was sadly closed. A few people were waiting outside with bottles of water for the runners. Soon we reached the lovely harbour. The sun was coming out properly now, possibly for the first time during our whole week.




The first of the runners caught up with us as we left the harbour, but they soon turned right on the direct road back to the community hall, while we continued straight ahead.


Another post marks where to turn right to ascent the small hill of Beinn a' Chlaidh. Looking back from near the top:


Near the top is the massive Cladh Maolrithe. The photo makes it look small, but it's 8 feet tall, reputedly with another 8 feet below ground!


An easy, pathless descent to the finish:


There was one more twist: upon arriving back at the car, we found the grass we'd parked on was full of dozens of cars belonging to runners. We were now in the third row, with two cars blocking our exit to the road. With a ferry to catch, this was a bit worrying. Fortunately, the driver of the car immediately in front of us also wanted to escape. He was a local, and knew who the owner of the car in front of both of us was.

And so, off to the ferry...

Uists 2019
<< Previous day: Beinn Mhor& Hecla
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Re: Beautiful Berneray

Postby Blokewithastroke » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:12 am

I hope that you don't mind me asking but do you know the type of butterfly featured in picture 1? I am not a expert in 'butterfly-land' but this looks slightly unusual to me.

I am keen to hear your opinion.
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Re: Beautiful Berneray

Postby dogplodder » Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:15 pm

Love this island and your photos bring back great memories. Was the sea really that turquoise? 8)
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Re: Beautiful Berneray

Postby Blokewithastroke » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:54 pm

In case you are interested, consulting the Butterfly Conservation website has led me to believe that the name of the butterfly is the Northern Brown Argus. It is not particularly common in the Outer Hebrides - let alone Berneray - but then what is? :)
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