Monday, May 19, 2014

Gateways to Paradise - 1

There are several places in the isles that I can't wait to return to with a pack on my back and enough food for two or three days. Here are two of them. Both are on Lewis, and beyond them lie mile after mile of open terrain; a terrain full of history, wildlife, and some of the most challenging ground a hiker will ever face.

The first photo is of the gate to Morsgail. The tarmac ends a mile down this private road, and then you'll find yourself in the wide open moors. You can head south to Kinresort, or west towards Aird Mhor and Aird Bheag. If you decide to go to Kinresort, another wonderful option is to keep going south through the hills of Harris.

The gate to Morsgail - the front door to the Back of Beyond
The second photo shows the start of the track to Hamanavay, south of Uig. This rocky road traverses several miles of ups and downs before ascending 1000 feet to the highlands of Roansagal. From there you can drop down to the sea and pay a visit to Hamanavay, Aird Bheag, and Aird Mhor; or you can head east to search for the beehives of Bothan Ruadh. Another option is to hike over to Crola and Kinresort, and then head out to the north via Morsgail and the gate show in the first photo.

The track to Hamanavay - the back door to the Back of Beyond
Both these places are gateways to a hiker's paradise; to places where you can sleep in beehive cells, or pitch your tent near old crofts and lonely shielings. Or you can chose to sleep high atop the hills overlooking Loch Reasort, or nestled in a hidden glen. And the best part is that no matter where you go, the chances are that you'll not see another soul.

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