Eriskay: Summit and Sea

A short walk around the island of Eriskay taking in beaches and the highest point on the island Ben Scrien (186m). Eriskay has a number of claims to fame including the wreck of the SS Politician in 1941 which inspired Compton McKenzie’s Whisky Galore.

Distance: 5 km / 3 miles

Ascent: 250 m / 820 feet

Start / finish: Cemetery, Am Politician or shop

Facilities: Refreshments at the Am Politician.

Other walks in the area:

 

There is room to park on the grass towards the end of the road beyond the cemetery. Alternatively you could start from the Am Politician up the road or from the village centre.

From the cemetery admire the sandy beaches and then walk down the road for about 350m following it as it bears left. After a house, an obvious grassy path is visible on your right. Take this path down to a picnic bench and Coilleag a Phrionnsa (Prince Charlie’s Beach) where Prince Charles Edward Stuart landed in 1745 prior to the Jacobite rebellion.

Walk northwards along the beach to its far end with the Eriskay to Barra ferry terminal in sight. At the end of the beach, next to a picnic table a path takes you up to join the road. Turn left on to the tarmac road and follow it for almost 400m to reach a junction. Go right at the junction on the road for a further 200m to reach a gate on your left.

Go through the gate onto the Scottish Water track. There is a sign on the gate saying “no public access” so if you feel guilty simply “take responsible access” as is your legal right, on the rough hill at the side of the track. The track ends after 300m and a rough hill path continues up the rather boggy hillside. Follow this path as best you can picking your way around the rocks and wet bits to reach a fence with a gate. Once through the gate the ground is much drier but the path becomes harder to follow. If you can’t find the path, just make your own way up the hillside picking your route through the rocky outcrops to reach the summit trig point.

On a good day the views from up here are magnificent in a way that only views from coastal hills can be.

Descend the hill in a roughly westerly direction down steep slopes. Although there is a path near the summit you will probably lose it and need to make your own way down the hill. Aim for a sheep fank where you can cross the fence by going through the fank. Once on the other side of the fence the ground becomes wet and boggy but much less steep. Keep going roughly westwards to reach the tarmac road.

Turn right once you meet the road. Depending upon exactly where you meet the road you may pass the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. 500m along the road from the statue you reach the shop. Go round the back of the shop on its right hand side to reach a small wooden gate. Pass through the gate and follow a grassy path across the field emerging on a road opposite the Am Politician bar. Turn left for a short road walk back to your starting point.

 

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