Dependant as I am on public transport, the district of Uig in western Lewis is a bit difficult to get to. The first bus of the day goes at midday, and is the postbus. Nothing with that, a great experience as you watch the postman dropping mail in any sort of 'mailbox', varying from lunchboxes to tailormade cabinets. However, if you want to get any amount of walking done, you're restricted to 4 or 5 hours. Uig is a remote, large and hilly area. The hills here are the tallest in Lewis, rising to close on 1,900 feet. Either you stay overnight in one of the local hostelries or a tent - or you chance missing the last bus (leaving at 6pm).
After tapping one of the people at the local historical society for local knowledge of the terrain underfoot, I set off on said postbus yesterday and alighted at Ungeshader, a mile south of Lochcroistean. A track winds its way across the southern end of Loch Croistean, then quickly peters out and you have to make your own way across the usual Lewis terrain.
After an hour of this, including tramping up a small gorge, you reach a shieling, Gearraidh Thodail. It struck me that the area in the immediate vicinity of the ruins looked very green and fertile. In the past, people would go to these shielings in summer with their cow(s) to fatten them up for winter.
Beyond this shieling, the terrain angles up and the hill / mountain of Suainebhal becomes more conspicuous to your right. A slow ascent brings you to a height of about 470 feet above sealevel, with a breathtaking vista over Loch Suainebhat below and across the lower lands south of Carnish right out to the Atlantic and the Flannans. Tantalising glimpses of distant hills to the south are had as you approach the crest.
A gentle descent brought me to the western flank of Suainebhal. This plunges down to the waters of the loch below at a 45 degree angle, and a set of sheep's trails lead you through a maze of boulders and heather. Always aware of the drop below, I made very slow but steady progress, finally coming out under the precipices of Suainebhal proper further north.
After this, it is a case of walking round the loch's shores, under the frowning face of Suainebhal to the outflow of the loch. Yesterday, it was quite easy to wade across the stream, as there has been little rain in Lewis over the past week or two.
A tarmac road leads back to the main road through West Uig, the C79 / B8011.