Tis a long and winding road! But a fabulous prize at the end!
Huisinis is a tiny village at the end of a stunningly beautiful 31 mile journey from Oran na Mara, which takes about an hour.
Going north from Oran na Mara, the journey starts by passing the beaches of west Harris before climbing over the ridge and dropping down to pass Tarbert, where you continue on the road towards Stornoway. Passing Aird Asaig (fuel and shop) you will soon reach the turn to Huisinis. This is the start of the winding, single track road that will test your driving skills somewhat, but will also reveal views to remember. Points to note along the way are the old whaling tower at Bun Abhainn Eadarra, the sea views of West Loch Tarbert, and the castle at Amhuinnsuidhe – where the road literally passes the front door.
Look out for the Highland Cattle along the route – you sometimes get stuck in a slow-moving cow-traffic jam for a while!
Towards the end of the road the white beach and coves are revealed, and on arrival at Huisinis there is a new visitor building with a viewing area and toilets – there are inside and outside tables to use for a picnic.
The main Huisinis beach offers soft sand, azure sea and views to the south of Harris, Chaipaval, and the hills and islands of the Uists.
Continuing on the path straight ahead you will pass old croft cottages and onto the headland, where multiple white sand coves lay waiting. We have watched otters playing from this area, and seals will often make an appearance. Continuing round the headland, and climbing to the cairn on the top, will reveal sweeping views out to sea to the west, and on a clear day it is possible to see the St Kilda islands on the horizon.
Alternatively, for more of a walk, there is a track to the right above Huisinis beach which leads to a pier overlooking the island of Scarp. Look to the right and you will see a footpath running uphill (through a gate in a wall). This is well worth taking, and after climbing up and crossing a little bridge you can go on up to a lake, to the left of which is the amazing Traigh Mheilein beach, which has to be one of the absolute gems of the Hebrides.
A link to the walk is here: https://www.virtualheb.co.uk/walk-north-side-huisinis-to-traigh-mheilein–isle-of-harris-western-isles/
At the higher elevations of the walk, do look out for St Kilda to the West – these islands are very distinctive in shape, as they are humps and stacks, lying 40 miles out to sea. St Kilda has a poignant history, having been occupied for thousands of years before being evacuated in 1930. Disease introduced by Victorian travel boats caused huge infant mortality, and the way of life, including eating young gannets and their eggs harvested by perilous rope climbing on the highest sea cliffs in Britain, became increasingly distant from the developing world beyond.
Evacuees included men who were given jobs in forestry – despite having never seen a tree before in their lives!
The journey back to Oran na Mara offers different perspectives to the views on the way out, so it is well worth lingering as you enjoy the spectacular scenery and reflect on a trip to one of the most remote and beautiful places in Britain.