A Landscape Shaped by Ice
The landscape of North Harris is unique. The hills are rugged and mountainous despite their modest altitude, and are dissected by valleys and lochs that have been scoured by glaciers. The evidence of glaciation is everywhere and the landscape is littered with huge rocks, known as erratics that have been deposited by receding glaciers. Peat has formed in many valleys and on hill sides, but on the more exposed ridges and summits soils are thin or nonexistent and bedrock is exposed at the surface. The bedrock is predominantly made up of Lewisian gneiss which can be up to 3 billion years old and is some of the oldest rock in the UK. The fiord-like sea lochs that form boundaries to the estate on several sides have also been formed by glaciers, and Loch Seaforth is the longest Sea Loch in the country. Sron Ulladal, also known as “The Scoop” to climbers, is one of the largest overhangs in Europe and a climb of almost mythical status, which is rarely even attempted. The treeless nature of the terrain and the absence of manmade structures across much of the land give the area a unique atmosphere with magnificent panoramic views. This spectacular scenery has been recognised by the designation of the entire estate as part of the South Lewis, Harris, and North Uist National Scenic Area (NSA).
The North Harris Landscape offers superb opportunities for many outdoor pursuits including walking, sea kayaking and mountain biking. It has been claimed that the Bogha Glas to Miabhaig track offers some of the best mountain biking in the country. The open vistas on this route are a welcome contrast to many mountain biking hotspots on the mainland where routes are often follow forestry tracks enclosed by trees. The extensive coastline provides a range of kayaking opportunities from sheltered conditions in the sea lochs in the east to more challenging conditions on the exposed west coast. North Harris is also a great base for longer kayaking expeditions to offshore islands such as the Shiants or into remote areas around Loch Reasort on the Harris/Lewis border. However, the weather conditions on Harris are notoriously changeable and coupled with strong tides, sea conditions can rapidly become dangerous for the inexperienced paddler. There is also an extensive network of paths through the estate covering some 50km along the coast, through glens, and over passes. For the more adventurous walker, making your way along the high ridges offers spectacular 360˚ views.