Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rubh 'Aird-Laoigh - A Hidden Corner of Vatersay

A hidden corner of Vatersay that I've visited twice over the years is Rubh 'Aird-Laoigh. I'm not sure of the translation, but it may mean something like the headland of the tall calf. It is a spectacular place, a rocky headland just beyond a white-sand beach, where tremendous breakers roll in from the open Atlantic.

Route to Rubh 'Aird-Laoigh
The headland is hidden only in the sense that you can not get there by car, but is easy to reach on foot. Take the bus to Vatersay from Castlebay and get off at the bus shelter a half-mile after the causeway. From there follow the side road west a half-mile to a white-sand beach called Traigh Bharlish. 

Traigh Bharlish
Where the track ends above the beach you turn left to go through a gate to reach the open hillside. Keep going a short way west to reach Rubh 'Aird-Laoigh.

Rubh 'Aird-Laoigh
On my last visit to the headland I had to tip-toe past a herd of cattle. Slow-going was required because a big old bull, with a ring in his nose, was watching my every step. Several calves were grazing nearby and, appropriately, considering the name of the place, they were quite tall.

Under observation on Rubh 'Aird-Laoigh
The headland is a beautiful place. And if you are in the mood for more coastal hiking you can carry on westwards to the fortress islet of Birusalum before climbing 600 feet to the top of Heishibhal Mor, the highest point on Vatersay. From there a scenic traverse can be made to the top of Heishibhal Beag before dropping down to the road near the Vatersay Community Hall where you can catch the bus back to Castlebay. If you make this walk it will be one where, chances are, you'll not see another soul, even on a beautiful summer day.

Rubh 'Aird Laoigh

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