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Day One – the Isle of Skye
Your first short ferry trip leaves from Mallaig, reached by a scenic route from Fort William, and crosses to Skye. Your hotel is in the scenic north-east of this magical island.
Your Hotel on Skye
Recently upgraded throughout by the friendly family owners, your accommodation on the northeast corner of Skye is a stylish and cosy little place, a mile from the ferry port at Uig. With four king-size, en-suite rooms there’s no danger of feeling crowded here, and there’s great appeal in staying just that little away from Portree, and close to the dramatic scenery of the Trotternish peninsula.
Each of the rooms is individually styled, furnished with an eclectic selection of fixtures and fittings hand-chosen by the owners. Up-to-the-minute bathrooms carry complimentary indulgent products provided to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Dining here is a treat, making the most of the best seafood landed at the nearby port, as well as the finest meat, game and produce available on the island.
What to see and do
The Isle of Skye is utterly captivating, offering myriad spectacular contrasts, from towering mountains to gentle lochs and dramatic coast.
The Cuillin Range dominates the landscape, its jagged peaks visible from much of the island to tempt serious walkers and climbers. However, there is plenty of gentler walking to be found elsewhere, from the eerie “Old Man of Storr” and the dramatic cliffs of the Quirang on the northerly Trotternish Peninsula, to the sheltered Bracadale area on the west coast, with its stunning views of the Western Isles.
The town of Portree, with its attractive painted harbour, is well worth a stroll.
The Sleat Peninsula in the south is an area of hills, moorland, woodland and seashore, offering endless opportunities for walking and drinking in the magnificent sea views. It’s worth stopping off at the Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle, with its fine arboretum and lovely garden, if you are passing this part of the island.
Do refer to Robert’s Recommendations to make the most of your time on Skye.
Day Three – The Uists
Today you have time to explore more of Skye, before catching the early evening ferry from Uig in the north of Skye across to North Uist, then drive south over a number of causeways through Benbecula and on to South Uist.
Your hotel on South Uist
Standing in a beautiful location at the south-western tip of South Uist and built on the water’s edge, This is a perfect base for peaceful walks along the coastline or gazing at fabulous island views and sunsets.
The original building, dating back to circa 1750, retains many of its original features, with thick walls and low ceilings, giving the restaurant a particularly cosy and homely feel. It was once the “change-house” where people waited for the ferry across to Eoligarry on Barra. The island of Eriskay is also easily reached by another causeway.
With the ferry long gone, it now has an end of the world feel. However this is rapidly dispelled by the usual joviality among locals in the bar especially on evenings with live music.
What to see and do
The islands of Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, Grimsay, North Uist and Berneray are all inter-connected by causeways, making it easy to explore. Do take heed of the signs and watch out for otters crossing!
There are abundant local walks whether on wide-open empty beaches, along the machair or in the heather-clad hills. Just take a range of clothing and a few supplies, as facilities can be few and far between in this remote corner of Scotland, and the weather changes rapidly. Woodland is sparse here. In fact there are very few trees at all. Look out instead for the furrows and little heaps of peat, still cut by hand for winter warmth.
Eriskay is famous as the scene of the shipwreck of the SS Politician, the story of which inspired the film Whisky Galore!. If you take a drive around the island, you are likely to spot small ponies in the fields – these are a distinct breed, saved in recent years from the brink of extinction.
You’ll see ruined and restored cottages and blackhouses across the islands; evidence of a larger population before the Highland Clearances and emigration in the nineteenth century. Take a drive around the Northern loop on North Uist, and you will come across the Georgian folly of Scolpaig Tower, plus one of the smartest and most photogenic of blackhouses, huddling under its thatched roof, against a backdrop of shimmering sand.
Birdwatchers will not want to miss the RSPB Balranald Nature Reserve on the west coast of North Uist. It is home to thousands of coastal waders and divers, an ideal place to hear the distinctive call of the elusive corncrake, as well as being a lovely place for a stroll. Meanwhile, Lochmaddy itself, boasts several unusual attractions including a camera obscura and the impressive Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre and museum.
Day Five – the Isle of Harris
Your next ferry leaves from North Uist, with time for more exploration as you tour. This crossing takes just an hour and picks its way through the small islands between Berneray and Leverburgh on Harris.
Your bed and breakfast on Harris
You will make a short stay on this island, staying in one of our hand-picked selection of personally-run guesthouses.
What to say and do
You will be spoilt for choice along the west coast of the Isle of Harris as one expansive white sandy beach after another unfurls before your eyes. Sometimes it’s hard to know where one ends and the next starts.
On a sunny day, the contrasting pure turquoise waters give rise to many a comparison with the Caribbean with not a sunbed in sight. And you won’t need to wander far to find solitude and tranquillity.
On the east coast, travel the “Golden Road”, a ribbon of tarmac meandering across a barren and rocky lunar landscape. You’ll still come across crofters’ cottages where you can watch Harris Tweed being woven and perhaps treat yourself to a special souvenir.
Day Six – the Isle of Lewis
Your final Hebridean base is in Lewis, the northern section of the same landmass as Harris.
Your hotel on Lewis
This five star guesthouse is just a few miles north of Stornoway, adjacent to a sweeping sandy beach. There is even direct access from the house to the shore, which has open views over the sea – on a clear day, the Scottish highlands can be seen across the Minch from the spacious lounge and dining area. This friendly, personally run guesthouse also serves imaginative and stylish food using locally sourced ingredients. There are just four bedrooms, all of which are very spacious with en-suite facilities. All rooms are furnished in contemporary solid oak and equipped with flat screen television, hi-fi, DVD player and even a dock for your iPod. Comfy leather chairs provide space to relax and enjoy the outlook, and all rooms have individual patio doors leading to a private decking area.
What to see and do
Lewis is positively bursting with archaeological treasures, notably the eerie Standing Stones of Callanish, the Pictish Carloway Broch and several blackhouse villages. Combined with its incomparable scenery, the Isle of Lewis offers plenty of activites for those interested in history, wildlife, walking and much more.
Day Eight – Return Home
With the shorter ferry crossing, your return route takes you from Harris to Skye (one hour 40 minutes) from where you can return to the mainland by bridge. Alternatively, you can cross the “Minch” to the mainland at Ullapool. (small supplement)
Hop between the islands of Skye, Uist, Harris and Lewis, using the shorter ferry crossings from Skye.
£885 per person for April & October, £945 per person for May to September.
Price is based on two adults sharing a double or twin room for seven nights on a bed & breakfast basis. The price includes ferry crossings for a car and passengers to Skye and from Skye to North Uist, then on to Harris and back to Skye. The return journey from Skye would be via the Skye bridge.
If you prefer to return to the mainland from Stornoway to Ullapool, add £15 per person.
We can also adapt this trip to extend your stay on any of the featured islands, just let us know what you prefer when you are enquiring.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
“Somewhere along the Scottish coast An emerald island lies So I will steer my sailing boat Unto the Isle of Skye” [Andrew Peterson] I take a glanc...
Blessed with great weather... wonderful experience...the accommodation you booked for us was excellent. We truly loved it all.Colin & Elizabeth, Coldstream, Scotland
The information we received and your tour packet were perfect. Thanks to your crew for making our visit to your wonderful country so enjoyable.Doug & Joann, San Diego, USA
This holiday can be arranged from April to October.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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