South Berneray Circuit.

Start. Car Park near Cnoc nan Claigeann.

Route. Car Park - West Beach - Rubha Bhaisnis - Angus MacAskill's Memorial - Siabaidh Cemetery - Cracanais - Loch Bhuirgh - Car Park.

Notes. This was short easy walk after our ramble around Berneray yesterday, we visited shell sand beaches, a slice of the darker side of Scottish history and a memorial to a giant. To reach the start of this short rewarding ramble we ignored the parking area at the Community Hall where we parked yesterday, we continued to the left over the cattle grid, a mile further on a parking area on the machair greeted us. Next to the parking area a metal gate allowed access to a stoney track, this soon gives way to grass followed by sand, after a few minutes we stepped onto the southern end of the magnificent West Beach.

We turned south, wandered along the tide line to access the rocky headland of Rubha Bhoisnis, from this finger of rock jutting out into the Atlantic we were gifted with fabulous views north along the West Beach to the mountains of Harris, to the south the coast and hills of North Uist beckoned. We continued following the coast, now walking east we passed quite a number of ruins, small enclosures and the remains of black houses their walls softened by time, but still visible as a reminder of a dark side of Scotland's history, the hundred year period where the crofters were unceremoniously and violently thrown off the land by the very landlords whom should have been protecting them.

Our route continued passed another stunning crescent of white sand then on to a memorial to Angus MacAskill. Known as the Nova Scotia Giant, Angus was born here in 1825 and grew to be 7 foot 9 inches high, he emigrated to Canada in 1831. He must have made a name for himself because there’s a museum dedicated to him at Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. From the memorial we continued uphill, passing to the right of a Siabaidh Cemetery then on to a small tract of high rocky ground overlooking the narrows of Caolas Bhearnaraigh, the Berneray Causeway and tidal Loch Bhuirgh.

After downing a couple of cups of coffee we descended to the shore of Loch Bhuirgh, the shore line in turn guided us to an old wreck, it looked to me to have once been a barge or ferry possibly in use before the causeway was built, feel free to let me know. From the wreck it was a short walk west along the edge of cultivated ground, we took care not to cross the crop fields, after passing a modern looking barn we arrived back at the car park.

view route map.


Looking back to the car park from the stoney track guiding us to the West Beach.

En route through the dunes looking to the tiny island of Spuir.

Stunning views from the south end of the West Beach.

The long finger of Rubha Bhoisnis marks the southern end of the West Beach.

Fabulous views to the north, Pabbay to the left with the mountains of Harris across the horizon.

Patterns in the sand.

Breathtaking views along the West Beach.

Reaching into the Atlantic Ocean Rubha Bhoisnis.

Looking across Caolas Bhearnaraigh to the stunning beauty of North Uist.

Wonderful beaches, turquoise seas and low mountain vistas that's the Outer Hebrides.

Another beach and another stunning view.

Above Eilean an Dunain looking towards Rubha Bhoisnis.

 Angus MacAskill's memorial, the Nova Scotia Giant.

The brutalities of the past throw long shadows, what remains of a small crofting community.

Small enclosed field?

Tidal Loch Bhuirgh.

Abandoned boat in Loch Bhuirgh.

Views across tidal Loch Bhuirgh with the slopes of Brinn a' Chlaidh to the left and the Berneray Causeway the right.

Crop fields at Sheabie.

Viewing Cnoc Bhuirgh (Borve Hill) from the machair on the short level walk back to the parked car.

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