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Your first Hebridean destination is the Isle of Barra in the south. Your ferry departs from the port of Oban on the west coast. Look out for whales & dolphins as you cross the Sea of the Hebrides. A short drive takes you to your first small hotel.
Originally built as a church and mission house in the mid-nineteenth century, your whitewashed hotel enjoys a fine location overlooking the bay, with easy access to both the ferry port and Barra’s unique beachfront airstrip at Cockle Strand. In its previous incarnation as a guest house, it played host to several cast members of the classic 1948 film Whisky Galore. The hotel has five comfortable en-suite bedrooms furnished in a contemporary style. Meals are served in the bar, or you can opt for the quieter dining room, whose menu features tempting island produce, with an emphasis on locally landed fresh fish and shellfish.
Take a walk along the sparkling white sands of Cockle Strand and spot a plane landing at low tide – an unforgettable sight. Drive or cycle up to Eoligarry and feast your eyes on the springtime profusion of primroses as you gaze across the sound to Fuday, Eriskay and South Uist in the distance. Or head south to Castlebay, the island capital, and visit Kisimul Castle, restored ancestral home of the clan MacNeil. Stop off at the highly informative Heritage Centre, where you can enjoy coffee and refreshments, before perhaps taking a picnic across the causeway to Vatersay, with its glorious twin beaches.
Leave the little island of Barra via the ferry to Eriskay, with your next base a short distance away, giving you plenty of time for exploring.
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.
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.
Today you head to the small island of Berneray, connected by causeway to North Uist then cross by ferry to Harris, with your next lodging in a peaceful location in the south of the island.
This modern 4 star guest house exudes a warm, traditional Hebridean welcome and offers a quiet retreat from which to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding area. Overlooking a peaceful loch, you are just a few minutes drive, or a 20 minute walk from Tarbert. All of the comfortable rooms and the residents lounge enjoy impressive watery views from this aptly named house meaning ‘Music of the Sea’.
With its magnificent scenery and spectacular beaches, Harris offers unrivalled opportunities for hillwalkers, anglers, divers, birdwatchers and wildlife-lovers. Marvel at the sight of golden eagles, cormorants and buzzards swooping down over the uninhabited offshore islands. And don’t miss Rodel’s exquisite 15th century church of St Clement’s, with its wonderful medieval tombs and wood carvings.
No ferry today as Lewis is part of the same land mass as Harris, reached by crossing a barren rocky “moonscape”. Time to explore as you travel, with your next base on the edge of Stornoway, the main town of these islands.
Your accommodation here is a newly refurbished, family owned house with just two very comfortable en-suite bedrooms. Your Stornoway born-and-bred host is here to ensure your complete relaxation and satisfaction, serving authentic, locally sourced breakfasts and giving unique local advice on anything you might need to know about the Outer Hebrides. There are several evening dining choices within easy reach and the town centre is a 30-minute walk away, though there is a 20-minute short-cut through Lews Castle grounds.
Lewis is positively bursting with archaeological treasures, notably the eerie Standing Stones of Callanish, the Pictish Carloway Broch and several blackhouse villages. The bustling town of Stornoway boasts a vibrant social scene, where traditional music and crafts thrive in lively pubs, clubs, markets and shops. Combined with its incomparable scenery, the Isle of Lewis offers plenty of activites for those interested in history, wildlife, walking and much more.
Your next ferry takes you east across the sea to Skye, with your hotel a welcoming inn just outside the port of Uig, perfectly placed to explore the most dramatic parts of this large island.
This is a refurbished family-run inn located on the edge of the village Both lively and stylish, the Inn has a restaurant, bar and rooms and has a fantastic view towards the Waternish peninsula.
This is a perfect, central location for exploring this, the largest Hebridean island, with many contrasts of its own. In the north of the island, you’ll find historic Dunvegan Castle and the stunning Trotternish peninsula, with the now world famous Fairy Glen and stunning views from the Quiraing. In the south the Sleat peninsula, known as the Garden of Skye, take time to visit Armadale Castle and Gardens, or walk to the Point of Sleat, and gaze across to the small isles of Rum and Eigg and dream of future visits! Wherever you are on the island, the Cuillin mountains seem to frame every view and there are a myriad of walking opportunities for all abilities.
To complete your journey you can leave Skye by the bridge or, in more traditional style, by ferry to the mainland at Mallaig.
Island-hop through the contrasting isles of the Outer Hebrides, from Barra, through the Uists to Harris then Lewis, before returning to the mainland through the Isle of Skye.
£1090 per person for departures in March, April & October, £1165 per person for May to September.
All prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room, for ten nights on a bed & breakfast basis, and include ferry crossings for two adults and a car from Oban to Barra, onwards through the Outer Hebrides, from Harris to Skye and back to Mallaig.
This holiday is also available as a fly-drive, from Glasgow with one way car hire included between Barra and Stornoway, with Skye visited between Harris and Lewis.
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...
So well planned. The whole holiday went like clockwork. Thank you McKinlay Kidd for arranging such a wonderful adventure.Edward & Annette, Victoria, Australia
The holiday was everything we would have wished for.Caroline, Stratford-upon-Avon, England
This holiday can be arranged from late March to early October. The itinerary as described can start any day of the week.
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