Hebrides, 16th-26th May 2008

Page 1 (Outer Hebrides) - Page 2 (Skye and Raasay)

 

We spent 11 days in the Hebrides cycling, walking, climbing and lazing about. This was our first proper holiday with Freya, who travelled in our cycle trailer

 

We set off on Friday morning from Uig Youth Hostel (on Skye), getting the early ferry to Lochmaddy (North Uist)

 

Heading South across North Uist - the first nappy stop...

 

We cycled across North Uist, Grimsay, and Benbecula, and down South Uist to Howmore, one of the Gatliff Hostels - cheap, basic hostels scattered thinly across the Outer Hebrides. It is not permitted to stay in these with an under-5 year old, but we could camp beside it and use the facilities (hot water, a shower, and a kitchen with a cooker) for £5 each per night

 

The hostel roof contained several nests with hungry chicks, and birds were constantly shuttling back and forth with worms in their beaks. Something similar was going on inside, too

 

Whale bones outside the hostel

 

Several old kirks by the hostel

 

The beach just a short walk to the West, later that evening

 

Freya maintained her strict exercise regime

 

We headed South again on Saturday morning, watched by these nosey horses. The hill behind them is Beinn Mhor, the highest in Uist

 

Bog flowers

 

Caterpillar

 

At the South end of South Uist

 

The causeway between South Uist and Eriskay

 

Looking back at Eriskay

 

Pleased with her progress so far, Freya waited for the ferry to Barra

 

We cycled down the East coast of Barra...

 

...past the grazing herds of pigs...

 

...and clumps of wild orchids

 

We stopped at a layby at the top of a hill above the main town, Castlebay. We had dinner there, then headed up Barra's highest hill, Sheabhal

 

The Calmac ferry from Oban came in as the sun lowered. We headed back down and camped near the hostel in town

 

The first rain of the trip arrived just before 0500 on Sunday morning, and dampened us as we took the tent down. Heading South again, this time for Vatersay, we met this young family going the other way

 

A memorial to the large number of war dead from Barra and Vatersay

 

Approaching Vatersay's East beach

 

The Post Office

 

Vatersay's beautiful South beach, with the Isle of Sandray across the water

 

Vatersay's West beach would be stunning if it wasn't for the crowds

 

Amongst the primroses

 

A feeding stop on the way North up the West coast of Barra

 

Scenic graveyard

 

Sculpture by the ferry back to Eriskay

 

Trapped in the café

 

We headed back to Howmore that afternoon and pitched the tent by the hostel again

 

Sunset by the old kirks

 

Moonrise over Beinn Mhor. We camped at Howmore for two nights, and walked up Beinn Mhor on the Monday. It was a gorgeous day on a gorgeous wee hill, with many great photo opportunities. Needless to say, we had both left our cameras in the tent when repacking...

 

Heading North again on Tuesday, we skirted around the West coast of Benbecula. Some of the irises were open

 

Looking back at Beinn Mhor

 

An old container

 

Freya sampling the menu in a café on North Uist...

 

...before settling on a banana. We continued around the West and North coast of North Uist

 

Scolpaig Tower

 

Seals on Berneray

 

The hills of South Harris from near the Gatliff Hostel on Berneray. We camped here for the night, and took the first ferry across to Harris on Wednesday morning

 

Approaching Sgarasta beach

 

Tidal flats

 

Luckily it was Wednesday and we don't play golf

 

Beaches by Sgarasta

 

Niosaboist

 

Sheileboist

 

After lunch by the beach we pedalled up the large hill to the North, and then on round to Drinisiadar campsite. It had been breezy all holiday up to this point, but now the wind stopped. The midges appeared for the first time and tried to eat us, with moderate success.

I had to keep nipping up the wee hill above the campsite to check my phone, as this was going on at the same time.

As a bonus, we were able to watch porpoises or dolphins (I don't know how to tell which) jumping by the islands offshore to the North as the tide turned late in the evening

 

Happy to be inside, away from the midges!

 

On Thursday morning we packed up again and headed North to Tarbert. We tried to book a B&B as a treat for our last night on Harris, but they were all full and we ended up rough camping instead, at the road junction South of Clisham (the highest hill in the Outer Hebrides). In the afternoon, after pitching the tent, we headed up Clisham. It was cloudy but dry

 

Looking West from Clisham to its subsidiary top, Mulla-Fo-Dheas, which we also traversed

 

Violets we passed on descent.

We rose early on Friday morning, packed up, and took the first ferry from Tarbert back to Uig (on Skye)

 

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