An awful, dangerous and soul sucking drudge

Route: Heritage Trail: Tolsta to Lional

Date walked: 19/07/2015

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 20km

As my family is from Ness and I had always heard stories from my relatives of the Airaidhean (sheilings) at Cuisheadar, Dibidale and Heilistoter I thought that I would walk the "Heritage route" between Sgiogarstaidh (My dad's village) and Tolsta in order to get a feeling for the interior of the island I was born and bred on. I was egged on by a wee yellow book I bought the previous year entitled "Western Isles Walking Guide".
I was let out of the car at the Sgiogarstaidh road end by my dear wife at 12.30pm on what appeared to be a short break in the weather. Within 30 minutes I arrived at Bonny Cuisheadair which, despite the "Western Isles Walking Guide's" assurance that it was full of ruins, turned out to be quite well cared for with well maintained huts some of them surrounded by mown grass and planters. Some wag had also placed a sign warning the unsuspecting walker of koala bears!
From Cuisheadar however, thing got bleak. The most noticeable thing about the walk is that, after Cuisheadar, the path disappears. Secondly, the "waymarkers" also seem to disappear; being painted green and yellow (the same colour as the moor). What followed was a very arduous bog slog over some of the worst moorland I have ever walked (I've walked a lot). Despite careful inspection of the terrain, I fell waist deep in deep bogs at least twice; the second time loosing one of my walking poles.
There were only two highlights. The first was the view from on top of the rise above Feliscleiter where you could see the houses of Sgiogarstaidh and the Traigh Mhor and the houses of Tolsta. The second was the view over the sea crags to Tolsta from the top of the slope leading down to Dibidale. After climbing out of Dibidale the going got slightly less boggy and became more heathery and slightly drier under foot. One entertainment was imagining the nutters who had tried to ride quad bikes on "The trail" as their tracks were still clearly visible.
I managed to reach "the road to nowhere" and met my nearest and dearest at precisely 4pm at the "Traigh beag" carpark in the middle of a downpour.
Overall, I've had worse walks although they escape me just now. This walk should only be attempted by drunken squaddies as a bet and could not in anyway be described as enjoyable. Furthermore, the person who wrote the "Walking guide to the Western Isles" had clearly not done this walk and should be shot at dawn! I was reasonably fit having had done 12 Munros already this year so, although arduous, I made it comfortably. My biggest fear is that, based on the "Walking Guide", some unsuspecting soul may attempt the walk thinking it to be the easy and pleasant stroll described in the book. As a final laugh the sign at the Tolsta end of the "Trail" states, "Thoir an Aire (take care), waterproof boots may be required"!! No mention is made of the need for a snorkel or a kayak!!!

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 11


Location: Newtonhill, Aberdeenshire
Occupation: Irrelevent
Interests: Hill walking, having a Hauf 'n Hauf.
Pub: Criterion Bar.
Mountain: An Teallach
Place: Luskinyre
Gear: Walking pole and hipflask
Member: Nope, Got fed up of cliques in hill walking clubs. However, I do like having some pals with me on the hill.
Ideal day out: Sunny day free from pain in high hills with a pal followed by dram or two in a local howff.
Ambition: to get fit

Munros: 217
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 3
Hewitts: 2
Sub 2000: 12
Islands: 15

Filter reports



Trips: 1
Distance: 20 km

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Last visited: Aug 12, 2022
Total posts: 34 | Search posts