Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided walking holiday on Skye & the Outer Hebrides
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Highlights

  • A car-free trip with classic linear walks on Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
  • Skye’s brooding Red and Black Cuillin and rocky Trotternish Peninsula.
  • Luskentyre beach on the Isle of Harris—one of Scotland’s most beautiful!
  • Traversing the 20-mile ‘Harris Walkway’ across remote moorland & machair.
  • A warm Highland welcome from hand-picked B&Bs and guesthouses.

The Isles of Skye, Harris and Lewis combine on this rewarding car-free week of classic point-to-point walks. Spend 4 nights discovering the quiet trails of ever-popular Skye, then sail across to stay 3 nights in the Outer Hebrides, ending your journey at Stornoway.

Highland highlights include the ‘Great Highland Railway Journey’ on the remote Kyle Line, the silence of Loch Coruisk, the impressive bulks of the Red and Black Cuillin, rock pinnacles of the Trotternish Ridge, silky soft sand between your toes on far-flung Hebridean beaches, and the solitude of windswept moorland and mountains of Harris and Lewis.

Day 1: By train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, bus to Skye

Board your train in Inverness and settle into your seat as you depart on the 'Great Highland Railway Journey—the Kyle Line'. Drink in the views of dramatic mountains and deep lochs on this scenic 2h30 train ride. Arrive at the coastal railway station of Kyle of Lochalsh then connect by bus across the Skye Bridge to the waterside village of Broadford (20-30 mins).


Settle into your cosy B&B for a 2 night stay and enjoy the sweeping views across Broadford Bay to the islands of Papay and Scalpay.


Overnight: Broadford, Skye


Day 2: Lost Villages Walk to Torrin

Your walk today over the moorland to the deserted villages of Suisnish and Boreraig is a sobering insight into the harsh reality of the Highland clearances of the mid-19th century, where local communities made way for sheep farming. The walking is on good tracks with fantastic views to the small isles of Rum and Eigg. At the end of the walk you will be transferred back to Broadford.


Walk: 12 miles


Overnight: Broadford, Skye


Day 3: Loch Coruisk & Black Cuillin/Elgol to Sligachan Walk

Your day begins with a short taxi transfer to Elgol (45 mins), and then you have a choice of routes. The first option is to take a spectacular boat journey to Loch Coruisk at the heart of the Black Cuillin, then walk across the island to Sligachan. Or you can choose to walk all the way from Elgol to Sligachan via Camasunary Bay. Both are amongst the finest day walks in Scotland.


Quench your thirst at Sligachan before taking a short bus journey to Portree (20 mins).


Walk: 8 or 12 miles


Overnight: Portree, Skye


Day 4: The Storr/coastal walk to Portree or optional guided Skye tour

There are several excellent walks to choose from today, or you might like to join an full day guided tour of Skye (optional extra). 


If you prefer a walk, then take the bus (18 mins) from Portree to the car park at the Old Man of Storr. It’s a 5 mile walk (allow 3-5 hrs in total), to get up close to the towering pinnacles.  Alternatively, take a beautiful coastal walk (8 miles) from Portree towards the Storr on the Trotternish Ridge.


Activity: Walk 5 or 8 miles, or optional guided small group tour of Skye


Overnight: Portree


Day 5: Transfer to Uig, ferry to Tarbert (Harris), North Harris Eagle Observatory

Transfer to Uig and hop aboard the Calmac ferry for the crossing to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris (1h40, departure time dependent on day and season).


Harris is home to around 20 pairs of magnificent golden eagles, and if you’ve time, then take a bus/taxi (20 mins) to the start of the 2-mile walk to the North Harris Eagle Observatory,  Scan the skyline of Glen Mevaig to spot these birds soaring above. In Tarbert you can visit to the island’s only whisky distillery, where you can warm yourself by the peat fire and take a tour (closed Sundays).


Walk: 2 miles


Overnight: Tarbert, Harris


Day 6: Luskentyre Beach & Harris Walkway to Tarbert

South Harris boasts some of the best beaches in the country. Start your walk with a bracing paddle on the pristine white sands of Luskentyre beach - just a short transfer (20 mins) from Tarbert.  Here you can meet the famous Harris Tweed weaver Donald John MacKay, who is always happy to spin a yarn or two— verbally and literally! 


From the coast at Seilebost, wind your way inland on the southern part of the 20-mile ‘Harris Walkway’ established in 2001 to link up a network of old paths. Walk in the footsteps of hundreds of local folk as you follow a historic coffin road, as well as waymarked moorland paths, back to Tarbert (note that there are some boggy sections). As you meet the minor road, you can shorten your walk by taking the bus part of the way.


Walk: Up to 15 miles


Overnight: Tarbert, Harris


Day 7: Harris Walkway to Scaladale, transfer to Stornoway

Set out from Tarbert on the northern section of the Harris Walkway, following the footpath along the waters of Lochannan Lacasdail—this is one of the remotest parts of the Highlands and you can revel in the sound of silence ringing in your ears —far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Reach Scaladale, and transfer to Stornoway on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis. 


Reward yourself this evening with a fine supper of hot, salty fish and chips, doused in steaming vinegar.


Walk: 8.5 miles


Overnight: Stornoway


Day 8: Onward travel

From Stornoway, you have several options for onward travel. Flybe operate to various airports in the UK and Europe.


Alternatively, you can pay to take the Calmac ferry across The Minch to Ullapool (2h30), then connect to enjoy a scenic bus journey (1h20) back to Inverness.


Accommodation tonight is not included, however please contact us should you wish us to make arrangements for you.




Accommodation



7 nights accommodation is included in hand-picked locally-run properties, these are mainly B&B’s or guesthouses and maybe one or two small hotels, of a 3-star standard.


We carefully select small and friendly accommodation that offers great value, food and welcomes. The properties we normally use are detailed below, however are subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered.  


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single supplement is payable. This tour is not available to solo walkers due to the remote nature of some of the walks.


Meals

Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival, alternatively you can stop at local shops and occasional convenient lunch stops on the way (some walks may be very remote however). Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants.




 

 

 



caberfeidh B&B - Broadford (Skye)



Caberfeidh B&B - Broadford (Skye)

This homely B&B, run by a mother and daughter, has a sea view double room and single bedroom. Rooms have tea and coffee making facilities and WiFi. The sea views to the Applecross Hills and Crowlin Islands are outstanding.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Duirinish Guesthouse - Portree



Duirinish Guesthouse - Portree

Ruth and Allan are your friendly hosts at Duirinish B&B, located just a five minute walk from the lively town centre of Portree. Enjoy complimentary in-room tea and coffee-making facilities, and there is WiFi for guests.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Harris Hotel - Tarbert

The Harris Hotel has been family-owned and run for over 100 years. Stay in a standard room, some with views to the bay. There is free WiFi, a guest lounge with books and board games, a welcoming bar and an a la carte restaurant.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Jannel B&B - Stornoway



Jannel B&B - Stornoway

Jannel B&B has 5 guestrooms over 2 floors, all with ensuite bathroom, hairdryers, TV and tea & coffee making facilities. Situated on a quiet leafy residential street, Stornoway town centre is a short 15 mins walk away.


 

 

Availability

This trip is available between April and October.  You can start this trip on Monday-Thursday. This is due to limited bus services on Sundays on Skye.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

Due to the remote nature of some of the walks, this trip is not suitable for solo walkers. Single rooms are available and a single supplement is payable.


Grade & Terrain

As all walks are self-guided, you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip. The walks are graded moderate. Some of the trails will be rough and potentially rather boggy underfoot, and you should be prepared for this. The longest walk is on Day 6 which is  15 miles (this can be shortened by public transport).


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The majority of the walks suggested on this trip are not waymarked and so you need to be able to navigate with a compass and map. We supply you with maps and route notes so you can easily find your way.


Local Transport

Buses and local transportation are used for access to/from walks. On Skye there are limited services on Saturdays, and often no service on Sundays (so a taxi will be needed—we can arrange this for you at a supplement). We give you information regarding the latest timetables but you should always check locally regarding the most current information.


Baggage Transfer

On Day 3 (Broadford to Portree) and Day 7 (Tarbert to Stornoway) your luggage will be transferred between accommodations.  When travelling with public transport, you take your luggage with you. Please limit your baggage to 1 bag of up to 20kg per person.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. 



Getting to Inverness

By Air: The closest airport to the start of this tour is Inverness. An airport shuttle bus operates regularly to the city centre (approx. 30 mins) or a taxi to Inverness train station is approx. 15 mins. Further information will be detailed in your pre-departure information pack.  


By Train: Inverness has good rail links and you can travel by direct train from Glasgow (3h15) or Edinburgh (3h20) to Inverness.


Scottish Citylink also operates a bus service from Glasgow via Fort William to Broadford, or from Inverness via Loch Ness to Broadford.


Getting from Stornoway

By Air: Flybe operates from Stornoway to various airports in the UK and Europe.


By Ferry and Bus: Alternatively, you can take the Calmac ferry across The Minch to Ullapool (2h30), then connect to enjoy a scenic bus journey (1h20) back to Inverness.


The website www.travelinescotland.com is fantastic for researching train and bus timetables throughout Scotland. Your pre-departure information pack will also have handy hints and tips about journeys and transport services.


Included

  • 7 Nights in B&B’s and guesthouses (3-star standard).
  • 7 Breakfasts.
  • Train travel from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh.
  • Transfer Portree to Uig.
  • Ferry Uig to Tarbert.
  • Transfer Tarbert to Luskentyre Beach.
  • Transfer Scaladale to Stornoway.
  • Luggage transfer on Days 3 & 7.
  • Maps & route notes.
  • 24/7 Telephone support from our UK office.

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required).
  • Local bus transportation mentioned in the itinerary (payable locally only).
  • Optional guided tour of Skye (from Portree).
  • Lunches and dinners.
  • Drinks and snacks.
  • Personal equipment.
  • Mountain rescue/emergency assistance.

Extras

  • Additional nights.
  • Optional guided tour of Skye (from Portree).
  • Single room supplement if required.

How fit do I need to be?

The walks are graded moderate. Some of the trails will be rough and potentially rather boggy underfoot, and you should be prepared for this. The longest walk is on Day 6 which is  15 miles (this can be shortened by public transport). You should have a good level of fitnesss and be able to confidentally navigate with a map and compass, to make the most of this tour.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular especially the Isle of Skye over the summer months (June to September). The accommodations mentioned on our website are those that we normally use and are subject to availability at the time of booking, however we will always try and accommodate your plans. In the Outer Hebrides accommodation choice is limited, so the sooner you book up your trip the better.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. Our info packs have a list of all equipement to bring on your walk.

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally May has always been the most popular time of year to travel in Scotland, because the theory goes that the weather is better and the midges have not yet appeared. Although having walked in every summer month we believe any time between late May and October offers a wonderful experience.

What are the midges like?

Midges are small biting insects (much like north American gnats) which are prevalent in the summer months. They are particularly bad on still, overcast days but do not bother you if you are moving, the wind is blowing, sun is shining, it’s raining, or you are inside so as long as you carry repellent for the odd occasion you may need it they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets and several sections of the way are closed to dogs as they are permissive paths through farm land.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to move you to the next overnight stop. Full details are included in your info pack.

 

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureSkye & The Outer Hebrides
 
4.5

(based on 2 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

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  • 1 Stars

     

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Reviewed by 2 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Fantastic Holiday

By Dave London

from London

About Me Willing to give it a go

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Beautiful Scenery
  • Great Accommodations
  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
  • Well Organised

Cons

  • Watch out for the Hebrides Weather

Best Uses

  • Holiday
  • Trying Something New

Comments about macs adventure Skye & The Outer Hebrides:

This was a really well organised walking holiday, giving a genuine taste of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. As long as you're prepared for whatever the weather might throw at you and are reasonably determined to get through, this is an excellent trip. The paths on Skye in particular are poorly marked and you have to be careful not to get lost, but with a bit of care and keeping an eye on the directions it is OK. Scenery is stunning and I would recommend this trip for those wanting to get a feel for this location.

 
4.0

Great hike with some modifications to make it moderate

By ML & DL

from Canada

About Me Looking for different experiences, Regular traveller, Relatively new to hiking

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Fun
  • Good accommodations
  • Great itinerary
  • Practical

Cons

  • Inconsistent / unknown trail grading
  • Some unclear info/communications

Best Uses

  • Holiday
  • Trying Something New

Comments about macs adventure Skye & The Outer Hebrides:

It was great to have Macs oversee all of the organization for the trip, including the accommodations and transporation between locations, as well as provide us with maps and instructions. The accommodations were all good - basic but clean, friendly and well-located.

We would've liked to have received the maps and instructions earlier in order to prepare ahead of time. When we reviewed the information, and after talking with locals and doing research in travel guides, we felt that some of the hikes were too far out of our comfort level despite booking a trip graded as moderate. We were able to make alternate plans on these days.

Overall, we loved the experience and would definitely recommend to anyone looking to discover a stunning part of our world.

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