We’ve recently come back from a last minute dash to the Outer Hebrides; good weather, free time with work, and with a cupboard full of goodies we were driving towards Oban daydreaming about beach bumming for a week.
Here are a few things that in no particular order made our 9 days on the road fantastic!
Beaches: Well, I think for this one, we’ll just let the pictures do the talking…
Ferries – The island-hopper tickets have the added benefit of complete flexibility, as long as the ferry had capacity so that if you decided to change one of the onward journeys it was free to do so. As it turned out, we were spoilt for choice with things to do and places to see, so didn’t need to change any of the tickets. I think the good weather helped with taking it slow.
Roads / ease of travel: We were surprised with the ease of campervanning around these islands. On Barra, Eriskbay, South Uist and North Uist the roads are mostly single track with passing places. The islands aren’t hilly and quite flat, so it wasn’t a problem if you took it slow, though obviously it depends on how big your camper is.
Overnight parking spots: Most of the campsites were still closed but we did find a few council owned tarmacked areas which had bins and an honesty box to pay for your night. That isn’t to say there wasn’t other options available. If you’re more in to finding out of the way places down smaller roads, there are loads of parking areas well off the road, tucked away.
Historical places to go: We absolutely loved Callanish Standing Stones as well as the little museum that’s there. The Viking Chessmen of Lewis were also a highlight as was Gearrannan Blackhouse village.
Other activities: Plenty of small estuaries and lagoons which were perfect for kitesurfing. Watching a plane land at Barra airport was also a highlight as it’s one of only two airports in the world where planes land on the beach. Cool!
We had a great time travelling around these islands, and we each have our favourite memories from it. For me, having that time together, just taking each day as it came without much of a plan was great fun, exactly the type of holiday I love! Looking forward to going back and exploring a bit more and seeing what the other islands have to offer.
Useful links & info:
Caledonian MacBrayne – Ferry operator
Gearrannan Blackhouse village – A fantastic museum highlighting crofting life in the village, right up until the 1970’s. Also has a very good coffee shop.
Hebscape Gallery & Tea Room – A bright and airy place to stop for a drink, while enjoying the views. Delicious coffee and home baking on offer and amazing works by resident artist Darren hanging on the walls.
Island Arts – An art gallery with a tiny tea room, serving snacks and drinks. We popped in for a quick bite of lunch before getting the ferry from Stornoway and can recommend the All Day breakfast bap, and the prawn torpedo (which was huge so shared between 2 of us!) Debbie was lovely, chatting about her art and showing our very inquisitive son her work.
Disposal points: The smaller ferry ports had chemical toilet disposal points and showers too, which were handy as most of the campsites were still closed for the season. They’re available at the following places; Leverburgh Ferry Council (Harris), Ardmaree Ferry Terminal & Eriskay Ferry Terminal (Uist & Barra).
Sundays: Sundays are very much treated differently on the islands than on the mainland nowadays. While everything remains open on the mainland, the islands pretty much shut down for the day.
Have you been to the Outer Hebrides? What’s your favourite island?
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