North Harris – Uisgnaval Mor Round

15 07 2012

On my first walking trip to Harris I decided I liked the look of the Uisgnaval Mor and Teilesval ridge – hills of 2405 and 2300 feet respectively…


My 2 are on the left… (Clisham on the right)

Compared to the Uists, Harris gets a lot more low cloud and bad weather – probably because it’s more mountainous and, with the compass anomalies on many of the hills, it is best to wait for a clear day with a good forecast.

One such day presented itself so I set off from my B&B in Tarbert to the mouth of Glen Meavaig and parked the Sunny by the end of Loch Meavaig on the bend. From there I could see, in the far distance, the full length of the glen and where I would have to walk back from after the hills. It was a long way – about 6 miles of straightish glen track.


From where the car was parked looking down the long return glen – my hills now on the right

As on Uist, on the hills there are generally no paths – at least until you get up onto the narrower bits of ridge where there is less choice of route. But invariably you have to begin by plodding up thick heather…

I headed up onto the loch speckled summit area of Braigh an Fhada and then northeast up onto Creag na Speireig where the ridge narrows up to Uisgnaval Mor. At this point a narrow path appeared through short grass (the heather had now ended) – I always find a path very encouraging!

The path up the ridge went quickly and I was soon on the summit and admiring the great views in all directions. There are great views across to Clisham (the only Corbett on the islands) and Mulla-fo-Dheas, its westerly ridge. Westwards there were great views to Oreval and Ullaval and, beyond them, Tirga Mor – my favourite mountain on Harris.


Tirga Mor from the road

The descent north to the col and the ascent of Teilesval looked terrifically steep – both on the map and in reality – it was only 500 feet or so though and was okay, although a bit stony…


Uisgnaval Mor Descent from Teilesval Ascent

From the col, for some reason, I chose to go down below the right of the ridge to avoid a rock outcrop – if I’d gone left I would have been on very easy ground. I ended up on the quite steep south-east face of Teilesval amongst crags and gullies.


Teilesval’s southeast face

I picked a very steep grassy gully and headed back up onto the ridge. There were no further difficulties and I shortly reached the small craggy top of Teilesval. I found this the most spectacular of the range and it was again a great viewpoint.

From Teilesval I headed north along the summit ridge and then descended northwest down a very gentle slope curving round to the northeast to another short steep descent to a col.


Looking Back Along Route

From this col I could have descended northwest to Loch Stuladale which had a track from its far shore out to Glen Meavaig.


Craig Stulaval & Loch Stuladale

However, I decided I hadn’t yet had enough so headed steeply through heather up onto Stulaval.


Teilesval from Stulaval

I was glad I did! Behind Stulaval there is a superb long-distance glen track and past that the huge Loch Langavat which is around 10 miles long. The north side of the hill is a very steep and quite craggy escarpment but it would be possible to descend to the track and either walk miles to the main road on Lewis or in the opposite direction about 2 miles to the Glen Meavaig track. Although I was headed to the Glen Meavaig track I decided to take the shorter route down the narrow heathery northwest ridge, Creag Chleistir. There were many holes in the heather so it was definitely a case of watching your ankles.

As I reached the Glen track, I saw my first people of the day – a couple walking into the corrie of Loch Stuladale. I was delighted to see fellow walkers and gave them a big smile and said hello – they looked absolutely disgusted to have their peaceful day sullied by such behaviour and sullenly ignored me! 😦

I continued on my way to where the small, grassy track reaches Loch Voshimid and its boathouse. At the boathouse the track turns into a landrover track for the next 6 miles. Although the track is more or less level and pretty straight, it wasn’t at all boring. There was a further loch, Scourst, which lies opposite one of the most spectacular features of the Harris mountains – Sron Scourst – a huge near-vertical crag of around 700 feet!


Sron Scourst, Uisgnaval Mor

On the other side of the glen was the long and beautiful ridge of Oreval and Ullaval…


Caadale Ear (Oreval & Ullaval Ridge)


Oreval

The last 2 miles became a little more tedious so it was just best foot forward back to the car.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

12 responses

17 07 2012
Paul Shorrock

Looks great Carol, though I had a confused couple of minutes trying to find the route until I realised that the spellings on my digital mapping are in Gaelic. Once I remembered that ‘bh’ becomes ‘v’ it was easy to make ‘Uisgneabhal’ into ‘Uisgnaval’ 🙂

We had a rainy/blowy trip last year, and intended to go again this May, but the house move put bpaid to that. Perhaps next year – if so I’ll have this route on the ‘to do’ list.

Like

17 07 2012
mountaincoward

Looks like you’ve missed good weather up here this year! My map was an English one as I’d have bought it around the late 70s or early 80s so I’m more used to the anglicised spellings…

Like

16 07 2012
Across the Minch

?…. your favourite B&B in Tarbert ?????

Like

16 07 2012
mountaincoward

If you’re asking which is my favourite B&B in Tarbert, I’ve only ever stayed a couple of times and at different places each time. It’s now so long since I’ve visited Harris (unfortunately 😦 ) that I wouldn’t even know which ones they were now 😦

Like

17 07 2012
Across the Minch

No – I’m just taking the piss because IMHO we run the best B&B in Harris

Like

17 07 2012
mountaincoward

You quite probably do, although the ones I went to were okay. One wasn’t very near Tarbert to be honest. I’ll have to try to book with you if I manage to come up again (hopefully)…

Like

16 07 2012
chrissiedixie

Hoping to get out to these beautiful looking islands before too long…

Like

16 07 2012
mountaincoward

Wait till you see my mid-week photography post Chrissie 😉
Carol.

Like

16 07 2012
fedupofuserids

Thanks for this Carol, its great to see the terrain a picture paints a thousand words,
but doesn’t look like there’s any major difficulties. I must admit I’m a a miserable bugger who likes the hills to my myself and try to avoid busier summits & routes in the summer but I always say hello to walkers and raise a smile – some say hello some don’t. I just smile in the knowledge I’ve probably upset them 🙂

I’ve pencilled in the same route on the map, early escape off the ridge at about NB120102 into Gleann Uisleitir before returning down Gleann Mhiabhaig. Like yourself I’ll continue onto Creag Stulabhal & Stulabhal if weather & time (if wifey & kids don’t mind me being away for too long!) permit.

Like

16 07 2012
mountaincoward

I’m not sure how long that walk took as it was before I started taking notice of such things but try to include Stulabhal if you can, if only for the look down the back to the long-distance track and the huge loch! Definitely do them in good, clear weather though as the Harris hills can be a bugger in mist due to the lack of paths and magnetic anomalies.

Oh, and I deliberately put this post (and my next one mid-week) out specially for you before you visit – I had a choice of anything from the archives so thought it would be most useful to put out my Hebs one. I’ve one other Hebs to put out now and I’m not sure whether you’ll have set off by next weekend? You will have read it in the past on the site which must not be mentioned though… LOL

Like

17 07 2012
fedupofuserids

Much appreciated Carol. If everything is clagged I’ll probably try for a coastal walk (plenty to choose from :D) as I much prefer getting a view. We don’t sail until next week but will probably travel up on either Saturday or Sunday and will kill a few days first.

Actors have their ‘Hamlet’, Cornish fishermen have their ‘Rabbit’ and MC has her ‘……….’ , well i wont mention it lol :D:D

Like

17 07 2012
mountaincoward

I’ll try to get both posts (photographic and written) out before you set off

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: