Ceapabhal - 368m
Monday 21st July 2014

Weather/Conditions: A gloom settling over the hills, replacing bright sunset with flat light. But all benign.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 5.3km / 370m / 3h
Accompanying: Dad

In defiance of it's diminutive size, Ceapabhal is simply one of the most charismatic hills on Harris. It is instantly recognisable. It stands proud of the main island, a humpback rolling out into the sea connected to the land by an isthmus of a few hundred metres. On Harris, altitude means nothing, and dad and I made it our plan to climb this hill in time for sunset.

I'd climbed Oireabhal and Tiorga Mor in the morning, then we'd gone for dinner in Tarbet. Though brilliantly sunny on the drive down from Tarbet, a high film of cloud rolled over from the west as we started, flattening the light and softening the colours of sunset, bit by bit, until the hills and sea quietly turned to muted shades.

Nonetheless, it was a stunning walk to the top, especially looking back in the direction of Skye with the Cuillin turrets so prominent. Standing on top, and looking out to the ocean gave the strangest sensation: with the light flat and the skies devoid of character of form, I'd look out to see nothing - nothing for the eye to catch on. It was like being a whiteout; a misplaced sense of claustrophobia in a place so huge. The Flannan Isles were present, but no sign of St. Kilda...

But any drama was reserved for descent, where just off the summit, dad slipped on trackless ground and went over on an ankle. The descent back to the car was a slow one but we made it in time, and for very last light at 11pm. Dad wasn't entirely pain free for months afterward, so quite a severe turn all in, and lucky for us it wasn't any worse.

360° Panoramas

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 8.47pm Northton parking
(1.35) 9.22pm Ceapabhal
(3.00) 10.47pm Northton parking

Written: 2016-09-12