The highest peak in the Outer Hebrides, at a height of 799m, is Clisham (Gaelic: An Cliseam), a cone-shaped outcrop of ancient Lewisian gneiss.

[As a comparison, the highest mountain in the British Isles is Ben Nevis at 1344m.]

It takes around 2–2½ hours to climb Clisham and 1–1½ hours to descend. There is ample parking at the foot of the mountain on the main Tarbert-Stornoway road.

The parking place at the foot of Clisham is a one hour’s drive from Rudha Glas B&B

From the car park, it’s clear to see the track which follows the river upstream. It can be very boggy at the bottom, even after a prolonged dry period, and sturdy, waterproof shoes are recommended.

The track follows the river from the car park
Map source:

Around halfway up the mountain, the terrain changes from grassy, heathery ground to a boulder field. The climb gets steeper here and becomes more of a scramble up scree and rocky slopes.

Time for a break on one of the many boulders near the top

The summit is marked by a triangulation pillar, encircled by a low stone wall, allowing 360° views over Harris and Lewis, Skye and the Scottish mainland, and the Atlantic Ocean.

A triangulation pillar marks the summit
The view north takes in Loch Langabhat and Lewis
To the south is South Harris and Luskentyre beach
The pillar is encircled by a stone wall
Skye and the Scottish mainland are eastwards
West are Mulla bho Dheas peak and the Atlantic Ocean

It was a hot and humid day in July when we took these photos, which is why they are somewhat hazy. This, of course, means we’ll simply have to climb Clisham again on a crisp, clear day to get some better shots, when it’ll even be possible to see the magnificent islands of St Kilda, 40 miles further west in the North Atlantic!

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