Roineabhal


RoineabhalWe We were coasting through South Uist when the car lost power. It just died. Flat battery we thought. But, no. Even with jump leads attached to a Range Rover, car refused to play ball.

Ever tried to find a mechanic in the Western Isles on a Sunday morning? Your chances are slim to nil. They were either in church or certainly not available to work. The RAC weren’t much use: trying to contact the same people – their contractors – as were, only we made contact sooner. 

When we tracked down an open garage, the mechanic was more interested in watching the Monaco Grand Prix than fixing a VW. I really couldn’t blame him.

I ignored the mutterings about ‘bloody English tourists’ and with a little cajoling he fixed the damn thing, after stealing a part from another car that was due to be serviced the following day.

Before this intervention, it had looked bleak and I had resigned myself to another night on South Uist, even though we were booked onto an afternoon ferry to Harris. So, it was with great relief that our reluctant mechanic sent us on our way with time to make the ferry. By early evening we were in Leverburgh, and, fell shoes on, I was running uphill, South Harris’s highest point, 460m Roineabhal, in my sights.

It was a hard climb, tougher than the Munro, Bynack More, a fortnight ago. There were no paths and the terrain was either a confusion of jagged outcrops, rocks and boulders or sopping bog. But, I made it – and what a reward: a view back across the Sound of Harris, north to the Harris hills and an endless vista of loch, moor and sea.

 

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