Lewis Moor route
Start location: Bridge to Nowhere, Port Geiraha, Lewis (NB 531 502)
End location: Unclassified road end, Sgiogarstaigh, Lewis (NB 542 612)
Geographical area: Western Isles
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 12km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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A modern Heritage Trail runs from Sgiogarstaigh to Tolastadh; touring the various historic sites, it weaves in and out of the older way that we have mapped here which linked the settlements. There is not much of a path for much of either route, but the trail has line of site posts installed and so is likely to be a lot easier to follow. However, our surveyor indicated that she just made her way as best she could, but as to which route she was on, much of the time, she couldn't be certain!
OS Landranger 8 (Stornoway & North Lewis)
The Lewis Moor is vast - 230 square miles in area. Designated as Common Grazing, it is a vital part of the crofting townships that on a map it looks so remote from. The sheep are grazed on the moor in summer and its peat banks provide fuel. Clear on the OS map are the 'township roads'; each township has at least one of these well built tracks leading onto the moor, usually made from rocks, pebbles and stones from the beach - "We used to walk up the township road until it gave out, and then continue on across the moor". The Lewis Moor is dotted with shielings, but most are derelict.
The first edition OS 6" map (1853), shows an intermittent track across the Lewis Moor from Skigersta to Tolsta, but this seems to have been swallowed by the moor. There are however old posts which it is thought may indicate the line of this route.
In 1918, Lord Leverhulme bought Lewis. One of his plans was to build a road across the Lewis Moor linking Tolsta and Ness. Although work commenced, the effort was ultimately abandoned - one celebrated part is the so-called Bridge to Nowhere which lies over the Abhainn Ghearadha, north of Tolsta.
With thanks to Peter Clarke's The Timeless Way (2006) - which gives much more detail on both history and route finding.
The route from Sgiogarstaigh to Tolastadh features in the Lewis episode of BBC Alba's series Tir Is Teanga, which is occasionally repeated on the iplayer. If it's not available, you'll need to just get a taster from this clip instead.