Harris Prepares for Second Mountain Festival

The second Harris Mountain Festival takes place 15-22 September.

Guided walk last year, 188 kb
Guided walk last year
© Harris Mountain Festival
The Clisham Ridge, 126 kb
The Clisham Ridge
© Harris Mountain Festival

Last year's inaugural event coincided with bad weather, but this time organisers hope to greatly increase the number of visitors.

This is an opportunity to explore the unique landscapes of Harris, say organisers, an area characterised by rugged hills, white sandy beaches and turquoise seas (when the sun's shining at least). The interior of North and South Harris is one of the largest road-free chunks of wild land in Scotland, offering great possibilities for walking, climbing and generally exploring. Attractions include an extensive path network, the highest peaks in the Western Isles and some of the most spectacular beaches in the world.

Key events at the festival include a talk by legendary climber Doug Scott and a presentation by photographer Laurie Campbell, who has been working a lot in the area over the last year and will be sharing his stunning images and running a photography workshop.

The programme of guided walks offers something for visitors of all abilities. There'll also be mountain biking, sea kayaking, the Rhenigidale Hill Race and a Ceilidh. Or you could take on the Harris Five Peaks Challenge, climbing five of the island's most prominent hills to earn a free dram - though it'd be worth doing for its own sake too.

'Having the Festival at the end of the season allows participants to see the area at a quieter time of year, and gives locals a chance to get out and appreciate what is on their doorstep too' says festival organiser Chrissie Gillies.

'At 799m the highest peak here, the Clisham, is not on the list of Munros. Unfortunately this means many people overlook the fantastic walking there is here on Harris. And if you're a climber, Harris has the largest overhang in the UK at Sron Ulladale too. You might've seen Dave MacLeod and Tim Emmett climbing this on the BBC a couple of years ago.'

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