New for 2016, our Hebridean Islands Odyssey. An inspiring journey up through the 130 mile long chain of islands off Scotland’s North West coast. Fantastic, unspoilt, white sand beaches and spectacular mountains with 360 degree seascape views as well as a strong Gaelic culture and a wide variety of wildlife make this a truly memorable adventure.
Day 1 (Sunday): Departing Edinburgh at 08.30, we travel over to Oban on the West Coast where we take the afternoon ferry over to Castlebay on the isle of Barra. There will be some scope for easy warm up beach walks before we settle in at our accommodation. If time allows, we will fit in a visit to Oban Distillery as well.
Day 2 (Monday): In the morning we will walk up Heaval, which at 384m is the highest point on Barra. Despite its relatively low altitude, it is not entirely an easy walk as it is quite steep and very boggy in places. The view of the surrounding islands is worth it.
384m/1100ft ascent, 6km/4 miles, 3 hours, some rough ground.
In the afternoon, we will drive over the causeway to Vatersay and do a short walk on the beaches, which are amongst the finest in the islands.
Day 3 (Tuesday): In the morning we will travel northwards, over to the isle of Eriskay by small ferry. In the afternoon we will have time to explore the island made famous by the film “Whisky Galore” and the first landing of Bonnie Prince Charlie on Scottish soil.
200m ascent, 8km/5 miles, 3 hours, boggy in places, beaches.
Afterwards, we will travel to our new accommodation on South Harris by the causeway and ferry.
Day 4 (Wednesday): A short and steep walk up Ceapabhal, one of the best viewpoints in the islands, over the hills of North Harris, southwards over the Uists, Skye to the East and (on a clear day) St. Kilda in the West.
360m ascent, 8km/5 miles, 4 hours. boggy and very steep in places.
Afterwards, we have time for more beach walking!
Day 5 (Thursday): In the morning, we will drive northwards over Benbecula and North Uist before taking the ferry to Harris. In the afternoon, we will climb Clisham the highest point in the Hebrides and the widest view in the islands. The short, steep route is definitely an achievement!
629m, 2100ft 5.5km/3.5 miles, 4 hours, boggy and rocky in places, some path.
We then travel onwards to our final accommodation.
Day 6: (Friday): Our last full day is spent exploring the northern most point in the islands. In the morning, we will do a short walk around the famous Calanais standing stones and afternoon we will finish our week’s walks off with a wee wander over to the Stevenson lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis.
Day 7 (Saturday): We leave the Outer Hebrides via the early morning ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool and then a five hour journey back to Edinburgh. We should be in the city by 4pm but it is unadvisable to have onward travel booked earlier than 7pm.
Accommodation and Meals
Small hotel and B&B
Grading of Walks
The walking throughout this tour we class as "moderate" - suitable for people of reasonable fitness who enjoy walking or the outdoors but who needn't necessarily have any previous hiking experience. Walks each day are between 5-7 hours, with some low level coastal walks with little ascent and more challenging days involving some mountain ascent (see above). You will be on pathed terrain thoughout the week, but this will vary to being quite rugged or sometimes boggy. If you have any doubts about your suitability for the trip please just ask! Please read our grading guide here.