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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 and dolphins as you cross the Sea of the Hebrides. A short drive takes you to your first accommodation.
Your Accommodation on Barra
You’ll receive a warm Hebridean welcome from the proprietor of your accommodation, situated just a few miles outside the main town of Castlebay. Relax here and settle in to a different pace of island life as you embark on your journey through the Western Isles.
What to See and Do on Barra
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.
Your Hotel on South Uist
Nestled amongst the rugged landscape, you’re perfectly placed to explore all that the islands have to offer, and be spoiled for choice.
From bracing walks along stunning white sand beaches besides turquoise waters, maybe spotting some of the local wildlife, to the nearby world-famous Askernish Golf Course. The Hebridean Way with its miles of inspiring trails is also right on your doorstep.
This contemporary, family run guest house offers you the warmest of welcomes from the resident owners. With stylish interiors and an inviting fully licensed restaurant, it’s a delightful oasis amongst the heather.
In the evening you can indulge in a tempting menu, lovingly created by your host, whose experience as a professional chef is evident in every dish.
What to See and Do on the Uists
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.
Your Guest House on Harris
This modern four 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.
What to See and Do on Harris
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. 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 Guest House on Lewis
Your accommodation here is a recently 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 shortcut through Lews Castle grounds.
What to See and Do on Lewis
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 at its northern end, perfectly placed to explore the most dramatic parts of this large island.
Your Hotel on Skye
In a quiet village at the head of Loch Greshornish in the north of the island, your accommodation on Skye is a hugely appealing family-owned inn.
Having undergone much refurbishment, the inn has garnered a well-earned reputation for the warmth of its welcome, as guests arrive in the cosy bar, heated by real log fire, with the ancient stone of the original farmhouse exposed here and there.
The bright, unpretentious restaurant serves a hearty menu of classics formed of fine local produce, while each of the six en-suite bedrooms is decorated in soothing tones, making a perfect spot to relax after a long day’s exploration. Dinner arrangements can be made on arrival.
What to See and Do on Skye
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.
£1345 per person for departures in March, April & October, £1425 per person in 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.
We work hard to make sure the unexpected doesn’t affect your trip. On rare occasions, changes or cancellations may occur, affecting accommodation, transport or excursions. We are committed to informing you of any such circumstances and will use our knowledge and resources to offer suitable alternatives wherever possible.
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This holiday can be arranged from late March to September. The itinerary as described can start any day of the week.
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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