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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, before upgrading to hotel status in 1974, whereupon Northbay could boast its first licensed premises since the closure of the old inn decades earlier.
The hotel has five comfortable en-suite bedrooms furnished in contemporary style, some with DVD. The cheerful public bar whose walls are ‘over 3 foot thick’ is a pleasant place to sit and observe the fishing activity across the bay at Ardveenish pier or to while away an evening listening to the friendly locals share their colourful tales of island life. 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.
Leaving the little island of Barra via the ferry to Eriskay, you will then travel along the spectacular waterside roads of Uist to your next destination in the north.
You will stay in a personally run guesthouse in a peaceful spot at the edge of the village of Lochmaddy, within easy walking distance of the village centre with options for evening dining. Lochmaddy itself boasts several unusual attractions including a camera obscura and the impressive Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre and museum.
The islands of Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, Grimsay, North Uist and Berneray are all inter-connected by causeways, making it easy to explore them all. 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.
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 lovely place for a stroll.
Your last destination on the Outer Hebrides is found near the main island village of Tarbert on Harris.
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’ll feel a million miles from anywhere – although in reality you are just a few minutes drive or a 20 minute walk from Tarbert. The splendid breakfast, prepared from locally sourced produce, will set you up for the day. 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. And don’t miss Rodel’s exquisite 15th century church of St Clement’s, with its wonderful medieval tombs and wood carvings. The prehistoric sites of Lewis, including Callanish standing stones, are perfectly feasible for a day trip.
Today you will leave the Outer Hebrides by way of the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool. Or, if you prefer, you can return home via Skye. In either case we can arrange for a stop-off for you.
The Outer Hebrides, including Barra, North Uist and Harris, from where you can explore Lewis. The holiday includes ferry crossings from Oban-Barra, Barra- Eriskay, North Uist – Harris, and Stornoway-Ullapool (or Harris – Skye). This holiday can also be arranged in reverse.
£645 per person in April & October and £695 per person for May to September.
Prices are based on two people sharing a room for six nights on a bed & breakfast basis. This includes ferry crossings from Oban-Barra, Barra- Eriskay, North Uist – Harris, and Stornoway-Ullapool (or Harris – Skye) for a car and two adult passengers.
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.
Every place Robert recommended was well worth seeing. We have been raving about our holiday, before and after.Karen & Duncan, Argyll, Scotland
Magnificent scenery, splendid beaches, the friendliness of the people…you have the perfect formula.Gerald, Ayr, UK
Each of the islands offered something special and we enjoyed the different geography, scenery and culture of each.Joyce & Peter, Nottingham, UK
This holiday can be arranged from early April to the middle of 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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