Rugged Run – Luskentyre Beach (Iain)

What a difference a day makes. If you look at the image from this video you wouldn’t guess that just 24 hours earlier it was cold, wet and there was zero visibility!

The most annoying thing about that was that the weather forecast for the bad day was for glorious sunshine.

The only thing you can rely on about Scottish Weather is to expect the unexpected. Never leave the house without a precautionary jacket.

Luskentyre beach is the most famous beach in Outer Hebrides and it is commonly mentioned as one of the best in the world. Although I wouldn’t even rate it amongst the top 5 beaches in the Hebrides!

Its nice but there are more spectacular ones on the island. Check out Uig or Tolsta to see much better ones.

The video shows just how much difference a day makes. It was filmed over two days. I think you might be able to tell which day was which.

MAPS

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A beautiful beach

Parking

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There is a car park next to the beach but it can fill up with camper vans in summer.

Facilities

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Toilets

Nearest cafe

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Nothing nearby but there is a small shop in Tarbert.

Run Surface

100% beach

Dog Friendly

Yes

Elevation

0m

Rugged Run – Ceapabhal – Isle Of Harris (Iain)

One of the joys of running the hills in harris is that I rarely, if ever, meet anyone else. Harris folk invented social distancing way before it was a covid thing.

I climbed this hill and didn’t see a soul until i was 20m from the summit. Two women appeared from a different direction and we all reached the summit at the same time!

They said that their should have been four of them but their husbands had given in because it was too steep.

It was a steep climb but I was lucky enough to do it on a beutiful day. the views from the top were amazing. Check out the video to see what I mean.

I wouldn;t recommend the route I took. I only realised when I got to the top that there was actually a path. Next time, I’ll use the path instead.

MAPS

https://www.strava.com/routes/2843223413781966962

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Spectacular Views on a nice day but its not a route for inexperienced runners

Parking

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There is a car park at the start of the run

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None

Nearest cafe

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Nothing nearby but there is a small shop in Leverburgh.

Run Surface

100% moor

Dog Friendly

There are sheep in the fields at the bottom of the hill.

Elevation

437m

Rugged Run – North Harris Eagle Observatory – Isle Of Harris (Iain)

I’ve seen a golden eagle a few times whilst walking/running in Harris. They are very impressive sight. Ironically the only place I’ve not seen them is the Eagle Observatory!

I’m not alone in not spotting them. The observation book was full of comments saying “no eagles, just midges!”

It doesn’t matter if you don’t spot any. The walk is still worth doing to see the spectacular views.

I decided to climb up the hill next to the observatory. It was very steep and very treacherous on the way back down. I would recommend it if you are comfortable with steep off path climbs.

MAPS

https://www.strava.com/routes/2843221511319285032

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Spectacular Views on a nice day but its not a route for inexperienced runners

Parking

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There is a car park at the start of the run.

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None

Nearest cafe

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Nothing nearby but there is a small shop in Tarbert.

Run Surface

50% firetrack road, 50% moor

Dog Friendly

Yes as long as your dog likes steep climbs

Elevation

527m

Rugged Run – The Callanish Stones (Iain)

The callanish stones are a collection of standing stones on the west coast of the Isle Of Lewis.

There are a number of guesses as to there purpose

Some people believe it was men “converted into stone by an ancient enchanter”

Some people believe it was site to worship aliens.

And some people believe it was were Boris Jonson sacrificed his soul for eternal damnation or as its commonly known….leadership of the Tory party.

If you you are any of these people then I have some magic beans I’d like to sell you as you’ll obviously believe anything.

In truth, no-on really knows what the purpose of them is. All you need to know is that they look cool.

If you do visit then get there early. They are best enjoyed in solitude rather than with a crowd of folk taking selfies.

The Broch is an ancient type of croft house. Its very impressive but its currently being repaired. Its looks more like a building site than an ancient home. My dad claims there is a secret tunnel in it but I’ve never found it. He also claims small dwarfs switch on the street lights at night. I’d take anything he says with a pinch of salt.

Outdoor Swim Review – Loch Ard (Iain)

Whenever something bad happens in my town I joke with my wife “I bet whoever did it wasn’t a local!”

I say that because that’s all I ever see when I look at the Facebook page for my town. Load of posts about visitors up to no good. As if we haven’t got any bad ‘uns in our own town..!

Kinlochard is a beautiful wee hamlet but it had been overrun by visitors in the last year. I’ve heard the locals aren’t as welcoming as they once were. I don’t have that much sympathy. If I moved somewhere beautiful and easily accessible by others I’d expect people to turn up all the time. I don’t understand why people move somewhere beautiful and then complain that about other people who also want to come to their beautiful place.

But I do think everyone should respect each other which means Loch Ard is a difficult place to review. Its a beautiful spot for a swim but by going there I’m also contributing to ruining the place for the locals who live there.

My conclusion is to only go when its quieter. Either first thing in the morning or during the week. In the hope that won’t bother others too much.

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

It used to be easy to park in Kinlochard but a combination of too many visitors, covid restrictions and the closure of the village hall means there is much less tolerance and space for visitors. It can be very busy at the weekend so get there early or park further away and then walk/bike to the start.

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water is pretty clear for a loch. The west end is pretty sheltered so there aren’t many waves even on a windy day

Swim Quality:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A good place to swim but it can be very busy so don’t expect to have it to yourself.

Other People:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

It can be very busy.

Would I go back: 

It is good for beginners and it is a great starting point for people who want to try outdoor swimming

Rugged Run – Dail Mor Beach (Iain)

In 2016 an oil rig collied with the Isle of Lewis. Which I imagine made for an interesting insurance phone call.

Caller – hello, I’d like to report an accident.

Insurance company – how can we help you?

Caller – I’ve been involved in a collision.

Insurance company – with another vehicle?

Caller – An island. I hit an island. A massive 30 x 60 mile island…Yes, I know I should have known it was there….

The oil rig was being towed from Norway to Malta, when it became detached from the tug boat. The resulting crash looked like this.

Transocean Winner drilling rig, Isle of Lewis to be refloated - Practical  Boat Owner

Thankfully there was no long lasting damage other than to the pride of the man in charge of towing the oil rig.

If you want to check out the site then it’s a short walk from Dail Mor beach to the cliffs.

MAPS

https://www.strava.com/routes/2843215631455307890

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Spectacular Views on a nice day but be careful if its windy.

Parking

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There is a car park at the start of the run.

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None

Nearest cafe

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Nothing nearby but there is a small shop in Barvas.

Run Surface

100% trail

Dog Friendly

Yes as long as your dog is safe near cliff edges

Elevation

40m

Outdoor Swim Review – Lochore Meadow (Iain)

I once worked with a man who lived in Lochore. He was a member of a brass band. He was in charge of making sure members of the band came to rehersals. Many a time I would overhear him shouting into his phone “Why can’t you cone to rehersal? If you don’t come tonight, I will make sure that you never play trumpet in Fife ever again!”

It’s fair to say he took the role very seriously.

Lochore meadow is a managed water sports facility which has sessions for swimming, sailing and paddle sports. You can find full details here https://active.fife.scot/locations/lochore-meadows/activity-listing/watersports

I’d recommend it for family’s or people who are starting out wild swimming as its a safe venue that is easy to access. Just watch out for brass bands. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of them or you will never swim in Fife again!

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Their is plenty of parking

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water is checked and monitored.

Swim Quality:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A good managed option if you don’t wan’t to swim in wilder location.

Other People:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

It can be very busy.

Would I go back: 

It is good for beginners and it is a great starting point for people who want to move from the pool to outdoor swimming.