Hills: Tirga Mor (Tiorga Mor) and Oreval (Oireabhal)
Date: Friday 7th May 2010
Company: Myself, Malcolm, Chris, Kevin and Gregor
Time: 8Hrs 10Mins
Yesterday we decided to undertake a horseshoe including the Graham's Tirga Mor and Oreval and also head out to see the cliffs of Sron Uladal. I think Dempster's book is right to describe this walk as a 'classic' and the best walk in the outer islands.
I would go further and say it is the best walk I have ever undertaken.
We parked at the start of the small road leading to Chliostair dam where there is room for two or three cars. There is room for more cars further along this private road.
We followed the road for approx 2.5km, alongside a large pipe leading to Chliostair Dam. It was initially overcast but we had high hopes for some improvement in the weather. On reaching the dam we had a brief walk along the top of the dam before taking to the lower slopes of Tirga Mor.
Kevin ascending Tirga Mor near dam:
The ascent of Tirga Mor was fantastic. Plenty of interest en-route with slabs that can be ascended, or easily bypassed, depending on your choice of route (similar to An Ruadh Stac near Torridon). We got nice views looking back to Loch Chliostair during the initial ascent.
As we gained more height, views began to open up towards South Harris including Luskentyre, which was at high-tide when we drove round past it earlier in the morning.
Gregor and Malcolm with South Harris in background:
The ascent of Tirga Mor is quite steep.
Steep ascent of Tirga Mor:
At Loch Maolaig, we saw three deer – the only ones we have seen thus far on Harris.
Chris was also enjoying the walk, taking plenty of opportunity for photographs.
Looking back to Loch Chliostair:
By the time myself and Malcolm reached 600m we were already commenting on the spectacular views from the hill.
Kevin and Malcolm ascending Tirga Mor:
I hope to visit Taransay in a future visit to Harris. I believe Castaway was filmed here.
South Harris and Taransay:
Luskentyre (Losgaintir) beach:
We reached the summit of Tirga Mor just over 2 hours after setting off.
Malcolm, Chris, Gregor and Kevin at summit of Tirga Mor:
From the summit of Tirga Mor, we made for the 580m top of Tirga Mor, which we opted to ascend to hopefully get our first views of the cliffs of Sron Uladal.
View towards 580m top of Tirga Mor:
Looking back to Tirga Mor:
Another look at South Harris:
First sight of Sron Uladal:
From the 580m top, we descended via steep grassy slopes to the end of Loch Aiseabhat.
Overhanging Sron Uladal:
At the end of Loch Aiseabhat, I stopped for fifteen minutes or so to re-group with the others and to put on some sunblock. On re-grouping,
Malcolm, Kevin and Gregor advised that they didn't want to extend the walk out to Sron Uladal. Myself and Chris however were still keen to head out to see Sron Uladal so we agreed to split into two groups.
Looking back along track towards Loch Aiseabhat:
We lost quite a bit of height heading down to see Sron Uladal, but it turned out to be well worth the effort. The cliffs are very high and seriously impressive. Below the crag is a mass of boulders – some larger than cars, some almost as big as small houses. Several of these boulders have howffs below them.
The end-on view of Sron Uladal reminded me a little of Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio.
Instead of re-ascending the track back to the end of Loch Aiseabhat, we decided to attempt to skirt round Sron Uladal and ascend round the back of it. We didn't know how possible such an ascent would be as we hadn't seen this route documented anywhere.
The ascent round the back of Sron Uladal turned out to be fine, albeit continuously steep and up very wet grass and heather.
Ascent of Sron Uladal:
Chris ascending Sron Uladal:
Our route of ascent took us directly to the summit of Sron Uladal.
At summit of Sron Uladal:
Myself at summit of Sron Uladal:
From Sron Uladal the Graham Top Ulabhal looked quite impressive.
Looking back towards Sron Uladal:
As we gained height again, we started to see incredible views over to South Harris and also out to St. Kilda. Ceapabhal looks a lovely wee Marilyn, hoping to ascend it today.
Taransay and Ceapabhal:
It didn't take too long to ascend Ulabhal, and from the top we could see Malcolm, Gregor and Kevin at the summit of Oireabhal. I wondered if I could catch them up if I went into Warp speed?
Oireabhal from Ulabhal:
Oireabhal from Ulabhal:
Myself and Chris both ascended a nice we scrambly top between Oireabhal and Ulabhal.
Chris on top of wee scramble between Oireabhal and Ulabhal:
The ascent of Oireabhal was quite straightforward. Myself and Chris stopped at the summit for numerous photos.
Myself at summit of Oireabhal:
Chris at summit of Oireabhal:
From the summit of Oireabhal, I steamed-off ahead towards Cleisabhal which is a nice hill but doesn't seem to be on any 'list'.
View towards Cleiseabhal:
Ascent of Cleiseabhal:
View across to Uisgneabhal Mor and An Cliseam (Clisham):
Looking back to Oireabhal from Cleiseabhal:
At the summit of Cleisabhal, I could see the others not too far ahead.
View from summit of Cleiseabhal:
Sodhaigh Beag, Sodhaigh Mor and Taransay from Cleiseabhal:
St. Kilda in distance:
I caught up with the others during the descent of Cleisabhal.
After a short walk along the road we reached the starting point. This is a really special walk.