Walk: An Cliseam - peak Harris

Harris | Ardvourlie | Full day walk | ★★★★

[The ridge back to An Cliseam (left) seen from Mulla bho Thuath]

An Cliseam (or just Clisham) is the loftiest hill in the Outer Hebrides: a bulky mass forming a natural barrier between Lewis and most of Harris. It's a popular half-day walk from the roadside layby only two miles distant, but we reckon this direct route is a dull slog, and a lot of effort for a single summit. Look west, though, and you can string together the horseshoe of peaks around Gleann Sgaladail to fashion an island epic. Exhilarating ridge walking and easy scrambling, boulderfields and rough heather, burnside meadows and frustrating bog: there's a bit of everything in this first-rate round. There's surely no better place to survey the whole of the Long Island from a single point, and the contrast between the flat northern and rugged southern panoramas is remarkable. So come prepared for a full day with a variety of terrain types, with paths in short supply while bog certainly isn't. But wet feet are temporary, whereas memories last...

[Fabulous views north into flat Lewis from the summits]

📌 Walk: An Cliseam - peak Harris ★★★★
Start / finish at layby on A859 1 mi south of Ardvourlie, Harris, G.R.: NB 185096 ///slicer.hexes.hoot

▶ 14 km / 9 mi | ▲ 1020 m | ⌚ Full day | Tough
Features: △ An Cliseam (799 m, Corbett); △ Mulla bho Dheas (743 m); △ Mulla bho Thuath (720 m); △ Mullach an Langa (614 m)
Terrain: Harris Walkway is clear but very boggy. Pathless ascent / traverse to An Cliseam except for last few hundred metres. Intermittent path on ridge, then increasingly boggy descent through Gleann Sgaladail - no path except for final mile or so. Steep in places, with a little easy scrambling, mostly on the ascent of Mulla bho Dheas (follow the bypass path to the right of the ridge to avoid the hardest parts).

Route & map

Layby - leave Harris Walkway at G.R.: NB 185082 - skirt south side of Tomnabhal - An Cliseam by southeast ridge - Mulla bho Dheas - Mulla bho Thoath - Mullach an Langa - descend eastern slopes - follow Gleann Sgaladail - start

Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)
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On our visit

Wildlife: Mountain hares, golden plovers, cuckoo heard, sheep and lambs, fish in Abhainn Sgaladail.
Weather: Slightly hazy sunshine, 20°C by finish, moderate breeze.

Chronological photo guide

[Loch Seaforth seen from the start]

[Harris Walkway - boggy, but at least it's a path!]

[Looking back from where the route leaves the Harris Walkway]

[Golden plover on Tomnabhal]

[View ahead to An Cliseam - which is climbed from the left side]

[Mountain hare]

[An Cliseam]

[South Harris from the summit area]

[An Cliseam summit]

[Fabulous views north into flat Lewis from the summits]

[Looking north into Lewis]

[The ridge ahead, with the final summit out of shot to the right]

[Approaching An t-Isean (foreground) & Mulla bho Dheas (left)]

[A bypass paths avoids the steepest part of the ridge up to Mulla bho Dheas]

[South Harris seen from Mulla bho Dheas]

[Uisgneabhal Mòr (far left) & Tèileasbhal (middle) looking dramatic across the glen]

[Looking west]

[The ridge back to An Cliseam (left) seen from Mulla bho Thuath]

[Mullach an Langa (the final summit) seen from Mulla bho Thuath]

[Most of the ridge is visible behind when approaching Mullach an Langa]

[Most of the descent route is seen here, along Gleann Sgaladail]

[Abhainn Sgaladail]

[The long return through Gleann Sgaladail is scenic but boggy]

[Looking back up the glen from the roadside]


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