Clisham Horsehoe with a terrible change in weather

Route: Clisham (An Cliseam) horseshoe

Corbetts: Clisham

Date walked: 14/08/2014

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 14.7km

Ascent: 1079m

This started off as a great day out, setting out from the car at about 10.15am. The claims on this guide of a place for plenty of cars is a bit misleading, I think you would struggle to park more than three cars there! There is a lot of boggy terrain up to the first peak, with some minor stream crossings. You don't need to cross the main one, just stick to the right all the way up! We got up to the first peak and had fantastic views over South Harris and the Shiant Islands in the distance.

However 2.30pm came and the clouds came in. Then the wind and rain came as well. It hit us as we were nearing the top of the second peak and had the main ridge to climb. Visibility was less than 20m and the wind was very strong. The rain was skin piercing. We were roughly half way around the walk and the only choice of escape was to walk back the way we came, or to complete the walk over Clisham and find a quick route down to the A road. We decided to forge on, with the bad step ahead of us.

We managed to get to the top of Clisham in dire shape. The trig point is surrounded and our legs were tired, and we were drenched so made it a brief visit. We were just happy to be on our way down, hopefully to less wind and rain.

We slowly descended, with several minor slips on grass which just gave way to the mud below. Nothing was ever dangerous as we were going so slowly to avoid injury. There is a slight path in places which I assume is the route for walkers targetting Clisham as a solo climb, but it is easy to lose through the boulder fields and eventually disappears.

As the A road came into view and we got below the cloud level at about 600m our moral increased dramatically. If you follow the GPX from this website, there is still a long way to go over terrain which has no discernible path. You just head in a vague direction and find the quickest way to it. This takes a long time. We decided to continue on the specified path as the weather had improved dramatically and didn't fancy walking alongside the dangerous A road with a dog. After several hours of walking we finally saw the Harris walkway come into sight, this was the best part of the day to me as we knew we were close. This was the first proper path since the descent of Clisham. Our speed increased dramatically after this and we were very happy to see our car parked on the side of the road. We passed the well commemorating the completion of the Harris Walkway but most of the description has 'not-surprisingly' been weathered away. It was coming to about 9pm as we arrived and we only had about 30 minutes of sunlight left so were both hugely relieved.

It just goes to show that the weather at the top of mountains can change incredibly quick and is incredibly dangerous when it does. Thankfully we were prepared for this and made our way down without any injuries and without having to call out mountain rescue! This was the most remote walk we've done as we didn't see a single person on the entire route for the whole 11 hours.

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: 1

Innaccessible Pinnacle

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: Inaccessible Pinnacle
Date walked: 13/08/2013
Distance: 7.6km
Ascent: 947m
Views: 451


Attachment(s) Munros: Bla Bheinn
Date walked: 12/08/2013
Distance: 8.8km
Ascent: 960m
Views: 1234


Activity: Mountain Walker

Munros: 12
Corbetts: 2
Donalds: 1
Hewitts: 17

Filter reports



Trips: 1
Distance: 14.7 km
Ascent: 1079m
Corbetts: 1


Trips: 2
Distance: 16.4 km
Ascent: 1907m
Munros: 2

Joined: Jul 20, 2014
Last visited: Sep 03, 2020
Total posts: 3 | Search posts