An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

57.896959, -7.012420
Distance: 21.7 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 10 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: West of Harris, Outer Hebrides
  • Size: 1475 hectares
  • Terrain: Undulating and mixed, including bog, rock and grass mostly following animal tracks or finding free-range routes.
  • Access: Kayak; private boat
  • Height gain: 507 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 455
  • Starting point: Landing beach near Paible. Lat/Long 57.884424, -7.007373. GR NG 03320 99327
  • Accommodation/food:

    There are no facilities or water on the island. The closest restaurant is the fabulous Machair Kitchen at Talla na Mara Community Enterprise Centre south of Horgabost on the A859.

  • Island Summary:

    Taransay lies 3 kilometres from Harris across the Sound of Taransay in the Outer Hebrides. Uninhabited since the 1970’s there are plenty of ruins and place names that enable the islandeer to piece together what life was once like here dating back to Celtic pagan, Christian and Viking times. Geographically, the island is divided almost in two. The landing beach and the pre-clearance townships of Paibeil, Uidh and Raa lie on the southeastern part of the island, the topography of which is dominated by the bulk of Beinn Raah. The smaller, wilder west side, known as Aird Mhanais, is shaped by the smaller peaks of Bualabhal and Hearrabhal and is home to the spectacular rock arch at Roagh. The two parts of the island are joined by the beautifully secluded sandy isthmus at the head of Loch na h-Uidhe.

  • Look out for:
    • Exploring the stunning sea arch at Roagh
    • Wild camping above any one of the four deserted white beaches
    • Searching for the sticky sundews along the north east coast
    • Swimming in complete solitude on pristine talc-white beaches
  • Route description:

    This completely free-range walk follows the deer tracks that circumnavigate the island’s outer edge. It includes stunning beach crossings, a magnificent rock arch, mysterious ruins and legends and far-reaching views with the layered-blue peaks of Harris as the backdrop. The island is a patchwork of hard rock that rises through the grass and machair, with heather moorland on the higher slopes and boggier ground in the north. As a result this rugged route is undulating and crosses a mix of terrains and is utterly enchanting.

  • Getting there:

    Kayak or private boat from Seilibost Beach (Lat/Long 57 52.176, -6 57.302) on Harris following a bearing of 298 degrees.

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