Saturday, February 23, 2013

Beinn Isobhal

To me, Kinlochresort, on the Lewis/Harris border, is one of the most fascinating places in the islands. This view is from a campsite at the summit of Beinn Isobhal. It was a long haul to get there. I started from Uig by hiking the seven mile Burma Road to Tamanavay. From there I climbed to Loch Grunavat, passing an old mill still in remarkable shape. From Grunavat a string of desiccated telegraph poles was followed to the hill of Both an Aird, where I spent some time in a beehive cell high on the hill.

Then I traversed the northern shores of Lochs Bodavat and Isobhal. I was expecting it to be soggy-boggy, but the summer of 2012 was dry, and the grassy terrain, and low streams were easy to cross. Wanting to find a campsite with a view I climbed to the top of Beinn Isobhal. Up there I could see all of Kinresort as cloud shadows flowed over the hills of Harris. To read some of the fascinating history of Kinresort, and nearby CrolĂ , see Murdo Crola: A learned man and a very talented postman.

Plaque Fragment - Beinn Isobhal Cairn
Atop Beinn Isobhal sat a large cairn. Embedded in it was a fragment of a white marble plaque with just the words “of England’” and “this cairn” remaining. I was not sure if this is the stone commemorating a visit by Lord Campbell, Lord Chief Justice in the 1850s, which Daphne Pochin Mould refers to in West Over Sea (p. 238). Campbell came here to determine the boundary between Lewis and Harris. But what makes me think it was not the stone is the “of England” bit, as I believe Campbell was born in Fife. Does anyone know the full text of the plaque?

Happy Hour on Beinn Isobhal

A beer never tastes better than after you’ve hauled it across a dozen hard miles, the tent has been pitched, and there’s nothing left to do but relax and savour every drop. 


  1. Although born in Scotland, Campbell was the Lord Chief Justice of England 1850-59 which may be a clue ...

    1. Thanks Neil, I think that means this is indeed the memorial cairn that DDC Pouchin-Mould wrote about. It is amazing that even a small fragment of the plaque has survived over a century and a half of Lewis winters.