Urgha - Reinigeadal via Old Way

You need to log in as a member of Walkingworld to access the details for this walk and have an active subscription. Please join, or log in above if you are already a member.

Although it is now approached by a motorable road from the north, until 1989 the hamlet of Reinigeadal could only be reached by boat or by footpath from Tarbert. This route, which follows that footpath used by generations of children and villagers, offers an adventurous, memorable, but not too arduous walk, through a mountain pass and along the hilly coastline.

The initial part of the route follows the quiet road from Tarbert towards Scalpay, in September fringed by banks of bright copper-coloured montbretia. Near the southern end of Loch Lacasdail, a well-defined path begins a steady ascent, crossing and re-crossing the stream, Abhainn an t-sratha, to the col between Trollamul (330m) and Ben Tarsuinn (323m). It is a land of heather and gnarled volcanic rocks, scattered randomly. No doubt the views from here are terrific on a clear day! The guidebook claims that it is possible to see right across the island to the seashell-white sands at Losgaintir. Unfortunately for us, on the day when we walked this route, thick mist rendered visibility down to something like ten metres. The fact that, even under these circumstances, there was no difficulty in keeping to the path, should speak for itself with regard to way-finding. Look out for a narrow path leading temptingly off to the right towards the abandoned village of Molingeanais. It might be worth a diversion if you have time, but for now the route continues straight on.

Beyond the cairn at the top of the pass, the path leads steeply down to sea level at Loch Trolamaraig. Local guidebooks describe this part of the route variously as 'loose and slippery', 'not to be attempted unless you have a head for heights' or 'rather perilous', so it was with some trepidation that we approached it. However, although it is undeniably steep and requires care, it has been very recently renovated (i.e. work was still in progress Sept 2007) and if you are a reasonably confident hill-walker, it will not present difficulties. As you descend there are extensive views of the coast and of the Shiant Islands (on the day when we walked), hovering ethereally above the mist.

The remainder of the route undulates gently just above the rocky coastline, passing on the way through a group of croftland blackhouses. Now deserted and in ruins, they are evocative of an age when life was harder, but less complicated. A short climb brings you up to the 'new' metalled road from which can be seen the scattered patchwork of houses, islands and rocky fields which make up Reinigeadal.

Although one can obviously retrace one's steps over the hills to Tarbert, it is more relaxing and considerably more exciting to time one's visit to coincide with the return of the school bus run. Wait anywhere in the hamlet and wave when you see the bus! Check bus times and book your seat beforehand (so that the bus driver knows he has to look out for you). This little bus will transport you in comfort as you make the devious and spectacular journey homeward via the 'new' road to the A859 and Tarbert.

Scotland - Highlands and Islands - Outer Hebrides - Isle of Lewis


Birds, Butterflies, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Moor, Mountains, Public Transport, Sea, Waterfall, Wildlife