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Stage 5. Liniclate to Carnish


Distance Time Elevation in meters

Gain Loss Min Max
27     250 250    



Courtesy of Alpine Exploratory




Base map courtesy of www.explore-western-isles.com

Travelling north, Carinish, or Cairinis, is the first settlement you reach after crossing the causeway that takes you to the island of North Uist.

The first thing you are likely to see when travelling in this direction is a large white building that used to be the Carinish Inn, but has since been converted to a church. You are unlikely to notice it, but half a mile before you reach the Carinish Inn, the main road, single track at this point, passes right through the centre of the Carinish Stone Circle. It goes without saying that this was in better condition before the road builders arrived.



Built 1889 for the Clachan na Luib Free Church, architect Thomas Binnie of Glasgow. Considerable difficulty was experienced procuring the site from Sir William Powlet Campbell Orde, Bart. After lengthy negotiations he reluctantly gave the present site at an annual rental of £3.9s. The congregation became United Free until 1929 when they became part of the Church of Scotland.

Teampull na Trionald
(Courtesy of www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk)

As the main A865 passes through Cairinis, near the southern end of North Uist, look out for a brown tourist sign directing you to a small car park on the west side of the road. This is the start of a path that leads a little over a quarter of a mile to the remains of Teampull na Trionaid, or the Church of the Holy Trinity. As another tourist sign at the start of the path makes clear, this is also the location of Blar Chairinis or the Battle of Cairinis, fought in 1601. The tourist sign is subtitled Feith na Fala (ditch of blood), but no other information is given.

The Battle of Cairinis is said to have been the last battle fought in Scotland using only traditional weapons. The resident clan at the time were the MacDonalds, and a dispute arose when one of them decided to divorce his wife, a MacLeod from Harris. The result was the arrival of a strong raiding party of MacLeods, and the battle seems to have taken place here because the MacDonalds were seeking sanctuary for themselves and their belongings within the precincts of Teampull na Trionaid. The battle was a victory for the resident MacDonalds, and the subsequent naming of part of the battlefield as the "ditch of blood" is an indication that few if any of the raiding party survived to see Harris again.


Carinish from the West
(Courtesy of www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk)

Cairinis is a scattered settlement spread around a junction between the A859 and a minor road meeting it from the south west. A tourist sign points to a small car park on the left of the main road, from where a path leads for a quarter of a mile over fields to the remains of Teampull na Trionaid, or the Church of the Holy Trinity. This is believed to have been founded by Bethag, daughter of Somerled, in the 1100s.

En route to the Teampull na Trionaid to pass over the site of he Battle of Cairinis, fought here in 1601 between a raiding party of MacLeods from Harris and the resident MacDonalds: following a marital dispute. The battle is said to be the last fought in Scotland using traditional weapons: and the outcome was the slaughter of the raiding MacLeods.

Cairinis's remaining hotel is the Temple View, and having passed it on the right, the main road continues northwards, passing the Carinish Village Hall on the left plus a number of isolated crofthouses: some modern, some much more traditional.

Stone Circle in North Uist. This site has been badly mistreated in modern times, The A865 runs through the site and further damage has been caused in recent times by road widening. In 1928 there were 16 stones; today only 7 survive. They are up to 1.5 m high.