Hebridean Hop 19: Tangasdale

Wednesday 15th August 2018

Should we go out to the castle today? Hmm, no – the weather was too dreich again. Instead, we headed out of Castlebay for a short walk. Starting at Loch Tangasdale, we first passed MacLeod’s Tower, built in 1430 by the son of Marion of the Heads. She was the widow of the chief of Clan MacNeil and had her two stepsons beheaded so that her own son would inherit.

Further on, in a small glen, are the ruins of an old settlement inhabited by another MacNeil, Roderick the Dove, in the 18th century. His name suggests he was much nicer than Marion!

As the path climbed, we could see down to Halaman Bay at the side of which perches the Isle of Barra Hotel – this is where we stayed during our 1990s trips to Barra.

The climb to Dun Ban, the 2000 year old remains of a fortified broch, was rugged but worth it.  I liked the way the stones had been taken over by nature.

On our return, we dropped down onto the beach at Halaman – probably a mistake! As the rain and the wind built up we got soaked through and the sand whipped into our faces. As we struggled to stay upright on two feet, hopping on one leg to don the waterproof trousers wasn’t an option. It was still beautiful though, and I don’t think you can tell from the pictures how bad the weather was. (As a bonus, I’ve included a picture of me on the same beach on a better day in 1992).

We have rarely been so pleased to reach the car. When we got back to the hotel, we just had time for a quick change of clothes before we caught last orders for lunch.

A relaxing afternoon with a book followed. Amazingly, the sun came out later and it was a lovely bright evening. We watched the ferry dock from our room and managed to bag a window seat at dinner. Not a bad day overall, despite the weather doing its worst – slàinte!

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk.


  1. I think this is one of the ways you and I differ, Anabel. Thinking it looked gloomy outside and then deciding to go for a walk anyway is not something I would ever do! I’m glad you are hardier than me though, because then I never would have learned about Marion of the Heads! It’s such a wonderfully gruesome nickname.


  2. Hi Anabel – I’m slowly catching up … wonderful how after that wet walk you were able to see the ferry dock and then get a window seat for supper – lovely. Gorgeous nature encrusted rocks … nature is so interesting isn’t it … cheers and Happy New Year to you both – Hilary


  3. I like the sound of the bloodthirsty Marion, she should be in a Scottish play. I admire your grit and ability to withstand the awful weather you sometimes encounter. I’m what I believe is now called “a snowflake” a name I’m happy to accept as it sounds quite nice, a fair weather walker, one who hates wind but doesn’t mind a bit of soft rain if well protected, but I love watching storms and rain through the window of a warm and cosy room. Nice to see the unchanged landscape between the years even if the writer has changed, just a little.


    • Just a little! You’re very kind 😉. I’m a fair weather walker too at home – if it’s not good weather I’m very reluctant. But on holiday I feel I just have to deal with it – especially somewhere with little to do that doesn’t involve the great outdoors.


  4. Anabel, I am very impressed that you captured the walk in such terrible weather. New Zealand especially the South Island can also be very changeable at times!! No doubt one of the reasons why so many Scots made their home in Dunedin!


  5. You certainly made the most of the day and what a terrible person that Marion was. What a contrast in the weather by evening lovely to enjoy the view while having dinner