Start. Ruabhal car park.

Route. Ruabhal car park - Loch Ba Una - Grid NF 818529 - Ruabhal - Grid NF 818529 - Loch Ba Una - Ruabhal car park.

Notes. This walk started at the oddest of places, a small car park next to a landfill and recycling centre, never fear it was soon left behind as we walk into the wild emptiness of Benbecula. The approach route a stoney track along the edge of Loch Ba Una ushered us to a green path rising up the slopes of Ruabhal, as we climbed the hill a broad expanse of grassland and water was revealed down below.

We left the car following an obvious track towards Ruabhal, we knew this was the hill we intended to climb as it is the only one on Benbecula. We passed through a metal gate, wandered through an area of peat cuttings before striding out along the shore of Loch Ba Una, at grid reference NF 818 529 a green trod welcomed us, an invite to climb the hill, this we did.

The ascent was over heather moorland, boggy in places but that mattered not a jot, the views were stunning, we crested the summit to be met by a trig point and two cairns marking fabulous view points. The author Alasdair Alpine Macgregor wrote, “from Ruabhal one could count more than 90 freshwater lochs before you stopped counting”. Somewhere under the eastern flanks of this hill Bonnie Prince Charlie spent a night in hiding before dressed as Flara Macdonald’s female servant rowed the 24 miles to Skye.

We hung around nowhere near as long as the bonny prince, although the day was grey the views still stunning, when we'd had enough we slowly re-traced our steps, stopping many times to soak up the scenery and marvel at the grand vistas.

view route map.


Benbecula in Gaelic is Beinn na Faoghla which means Mountain of the Ford, this is a fitting name for the island and it's solitary hill, Ruabhal, which is in fact a stepping stone between North and South Uist.

Echoes of the past, peat cutting has been an important tradition, a natural fuel source for most households throughout the rural communities of the Western Isles, cut in the summer, left to dry on the hillside before being stored for use in the colder months.

Grey skies over Loch Ba Una.

Moorland and lochs, a peat dominated landscape stretching to the machair of the coast.

Sue soaks up the views over the flat loch studded landscape of Benbecula, with the hills of South Uist rising out of shot to the left.

From the summit lochs both fresh and salt water dominate the landscape.

Another alluring view from the summit of Ruabhal.

Magical views to all points of the compass.

A birds eye view to the north.

The trig point and one of two cairns adorn the summit of this splendid hill.

Another cairn and another super vista.

This hill, Ruabhal may only be 420ft above sea level but it certainly works its magic on you.

Loch Ba Una seen on the descent.

Grey cloud still hangs over Loch Ba Una.

The track that guided us in and, is now guiding us out.

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