Hebridean Way advice
Hoping to do the Hebridean way with my partner next July and we were planning a leisurely 6 day ride from south to north.
Logistical changes mean that we won’t be able to get to Oban until (really) late on a sunday night so wouldn’t get to Barra until monday afternoon.
Am I taking on too much / spoiling it to try and get to Stornaway by Saturday evening so we can get the Sunday ferry?
Planning on credit card touring rather than camping. Partner isn’t much of a cyclist, but is a lot fitter than me. I was thinking of 40 mile days so we’d get to take in some views.
Was going to miss out the butt of lewis regardless.
So, is 5 days enough to have a leisurely ride to Stornaway or should we think about an up and back route and get the return ferry to Oban?Posted 1 year ago
Me And my GF rode up from Barra, starting on a Monday, and reaching the Butt of Lewis on a Thursday. so five days, one day of which was Stornoway to the Butt. 5 days will give a very leisurely route, it’s flat up until Harris, and you usually have a tailwind (we had a 35 mph side wind one day, sucks with panniers…).
we Credit card camped, and found some decent places to stay, Barra, (castlebay), South Uist (Lochboisdale) and North Uist were all hotels, and then Hostels in Tarbet, and Stornoway (we lucked out with the hostels as they were quiet). I can provide links to the hotels if you want? The Lochboisdale one was nice and old school.Posted 1 year ago
Enjoy. Book places to stay – they boooked up quicklyPosted 1 year ago
did this 3 years ago. so good going again next year.Posted 1 year ago
If you don’t take in the West Coast of Lewis you’ll miss some spectacular scenery, not to mention Dun Carloway and Callanish.
And up near the Butt there’s Dun Eistein.Posted 1 year ago
We did it as a loop from Skye, we went back over from Tarbet to Uig instead of finishing in Stornoway but otherwise very similar to Rob’s trip above.Posted 1 year ago
Broadford to Lochboisdale on the first day staying in a scruffy but serviceable bunkhouse on the far side of the loch from the ferry port.
Leisurely second day down to Barra and Vatersay, spent a chunk of the afternoon hanging out at the airport to see the little plane landing on the beach. Stayed in a very twee B&B in Castlebay which had a photo of the owners meeting Prince Charles in pride of place in the hallway.
Third day was a long one with a tailwind up to North Uist and the Tractor Shed camping pods. GF liked those 🙂 and there’s a decent foody pub a couple of miles away (the Westford Inn).
Fourth day spent the afternoon looking around Berneray then over to Harris and up the golden road to Tarbet backpackers hostel. The ferry crossing was particularly entertaining as it’s a mad slalom between all the little islands and rocks in the channel. The golden road was the highlight of the actual cycling for us, the beaches on the west coast of Harris are absolutely stunning as well so you might consider budgeting two nights in Tarbert to explore the whole area properly.
As TJ said its worth booking ahead for the accommodation once you’ve figured out a schedule.
That will be leisurely at 5 days – we did it in 2 but that was straight down the middle.
If you want a very peaceful, basic and remote feeling stay, look at the Gatliff hostel in Berneray. You can’t book but they won’t turn cyclists away – for you to judge!Posted 1 year ago
5 days is pushing it for a “leasurely” pace. I’ve done it that way and have since returned regularly to take in the stuff I missed on the way through. Your itinerary is likely to be dictated by availability of accommodation in any case.
The South-westerly tailwind can be a bit of a myth too. Hit it the other way and you’ll suffer.
Also – missing out the run up to Ness is a mistake.
As above – if you haven’t already booked, do so immediately. It was crazy last year and likely to be even more popular this year.
Fabulous place though. I’m just back from Barra and will be in the Uists again in the summer.Posted 1 year ago
Thanks all. @scotroutes, I suspected five days would be pushing it. I’ll also be in touch about a lift back from Stornoway to Oban.
I can provide links to the hotels if you want? The
Yes please, you can pm them if you’d prefer.Posted 1 year ago
a group of 8 of us are doing a section of it early May. We booked the accommodation a month or so back and places were already full, so as others have said, get booking !Posted 1 year ago
Another one here planning to do the whole ride next year,what would it be like as a camping trip?,do the campsites fill up as well?,has anyone tried wild camping and how did that go?,many thanksPosted 1 year ago
I camped mainly. Its scotland – wild camping is fine so long as you obey the golden rule. Camped 2 nights on the beach on the uists, Camped up near Callanish in our own stone circle Campsite at Stornoway was outside the town IIRC. Camped outside a pub that had no rooms left as wellPosted 1 year ago
Edit – water can be an issue tho for wild camping. You cann’t rely on easily finding good water just lying around
You cann’t rely on easily finding good water just lying around
Agree, but you can rely on finding it coming at you horizontally some days… 🙂Posted 1 year ago
Last April I did Barra to the Butt of Lewis and back to Stornaway in 5 relaxed days on a fully laden tourer, wild camping.Posted 1 year ago
I’m doing it again next year as I missed out on some of the off-route sights so I’m giving it 8 days this time.
It’s an excellent ride on great roads. Enjoy.
Thanks to everyone here (especially robvalentine) I’ve got an outline route planned
Monday – Ferry to Castlebay
Tuesday – Castlebay to Lochboisdale
Wednesday – Lochboisdale to Paible
Thursday – Paible to Drinisiader via the Golden Road
Friday – Drinisiader to Callanish
Saturday – Callanish to Stornaway (with a bit of the west coast as well)
Sunday – Ferry to Ullapool and back to Oban
Longest ride is Friday at 42 miles but thats probably OK and will allow a bit of sightseeing time.Posted 1 year ago
If you have time, take in a little of the Machair Road north of Daliburgh to around the golf course, or on to Mingarry. It’s a nice, hard-packed, sandy track so no problem on touring tyres. Good cafe/tearoom/museum at Kildonan
There’s a decent pub near Paible – the Westford. Good for a meal but make sure you book.
I’ll admit to being a fan of the Horgabost side of Harris rather than the Golden Road.
[url=https://flic.kr/p/9dcSYU]2008-05-26 16-31-50[/url] by Colin Cadden, on Flickr
Callanish-Stornoway – I assume you’ll be travelling via the Pentland Road?Posted 1 year ago
Just be aware that the A859 north of Tarbert is pretty busy (for the islands), it’s basically a big drag of a climb a bit of flat then a big descent down to Scaladale. After that it’s fairly flat.
The Golden Road is, shall we say, bumpy. When we did it a few years ago we started from a B&B at Malacleit on North Uist, a bit of a rush to get to the ferry on Berneray (check if your intended sailing is running – very low tides mean it can’t run), then from Leverburgh to Tarbert before getting the ferry to Skye. The only cafe on The Golden Road was one in the village hall at Greosabhagh but I don’t know if it’s still going or there’s anything else sprung up in the interim. There’s a great cafe in Tarbert just up from the Tourist Information building.
There’s a well preserved chambered cairn at Langais (near Lochmaddy) that’s worth going to – the hotel there did have a cafe that was worth visiting as well.
Are you sure you want to be on Lewis on a Sunday?😉Posted 1 year ago
Are you sure you want to be on Lewis on a Sunday?😉
Only long enough to get the ferry. I reckon I’ll survive between getting out of bed and an 8am departure time 🙂
PS – I bloody love this place. Mine of information.Posted 1 year ago
Callanish-Stornoway – I assume you’ll be travelling via the Pentland Road?
That was the plan – is it OK?Posted 1 year ago
just beyond Callanish to the south west are two more stone circles – we camped in one of them – no one else around. quite magical
Indeed the Golden road is bumpy! Took us hours to ride.Posted 1 year ago
I’d be torn between the Golden Road and going up the West coast of South Harris.
I like it as a loop, and have been know to do a hike-a-bike on the coffin track as part of the loop. It can be quite magical doing that bit in thick mist.
And if your tyres aren’t too skinny, instead of heading out the main road from Tarbert go towards Scalpay and turn on to the track near Urgha heading to Maraig. A bit boggy, but again unforgettable.
And then, there’s….
Sorry, I think you need another week. 🙂Posted 1 year ago
Callanish-Stornoway – I assume you’ll be travelling via the Pentland Road?
That was the plan – is it OK?
Absolutely!!Posted 1 year ago
BTW if anyone is heading to Scalpay, it’s worth taking a look down the harbour if you’re interested in maritime history. There in the harbour is a survivor of the WW1 concrete ships (Cretetree).
And it’s worth a hike to check out the Scalpay Stevenson lighthouse, and then consider the size of waves necessary for the sea to chuck a rock through the light.
Or take a trip out to Hushinish to look at the island of Scarp, the site of the world’s first Rocket Mail. I’ve got one of the stamps somewhere (family used to live there).Posted 1 year ago
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