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The Outer Hebrides, lying on the edge of Europe, are a unique destination. Ancient standing stones, waves crashing onto miles of white sandy beaches, white cottages scattered across the windswept moors and tiny islands begging to be explored.
This drive and hike tour takes you on a journey connecting the highlights of the Outer Hebrides with the very best walks on the islands. Each is different and may feature wildlife, solitude, crashing waves, history, ancient cultures or something completely different.
Do something special and visit the Outer Hebrides!
Leaving Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, you head north along the banks of Loch Lomond through the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and deep into the Highlands. If you're travelling in summer (end March to end Oct) then you'll drive to Mallaig, or in winter (end Oct to end March) then drive to Oban (due to seasonal sailing timetables to South Uist).
(Summer) Drive to Mallaig: 150 miles, 4 hours
(Winter) Drive to Oban: 100 miles, 3 hours
Overnight: Mallaig or Oban
Ferries depart at different times each day so you may have time to explore before your ferry to Lochboisedale on South Uist. If you're staying at Mallaig, then you could visit the silver sands of Morar; a stunning stretch of quiet beaches made famous in the films 'Highlander' and 'Local Hero'. If you're staying in Oban, all along the southern you could visit McCaig’s Tower, Dunstaffange Castle or choose from several excellent walks on the islands of Kerrara (7 miles) or Seil (4 miles).
Departing from either Mallaig or Oban, your ferry sails to Loichboisdale on the island of South Uist.
(Summer) Ferry Mallaig-Lochboisedale: 3h30 (daily)
(Winter) Ferry Oban-Lochboisedale: 5h10 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays)
Overnight: Lochboisdale, South Uist
The Isle of South Uist is a low lying island ringed by flower filled machair, pristine white beaches and crystal clear water. Walk the miles of sandy coastline, follow in the footsteps of Whisky Galore on the Isle of Eriskay or do some birdwatching.
Ferry: 1h15 Drive: 18 miles
Walks: choice from 6-12 miles
Overnight: Lochboisdale, South Uist
Head north over the causeway to Benbecula and then to North Uist. You can explore the sculpture trail, wander amongst ancient standing stones or walk around the Isle of Berneray.
Drive: 45 miles +
Overnight: North Uist
The ferry sails through the island-strewn Sound of Harris from North Uist to Harris, arriving at Leverburgh.
You will have 2 days to explore the Isle of Harris. Find deserted beaches that stretch for miles, otherworldly landscapes and a choice of fabulous walks including Luskentyre Sands, the Coffin Road or mountain walks.
Boat trips to the tiny island of St Kilda are also available from Harris (summertime, not included). Now deserted, the history of St Kilda is beyond belief and the bird life out of this world.
Walks: Choice of several
Activity: St Kilda boat trip (not included)/walk, or Harris walks
Overnight: Tarbert, Isle of Harris
Drive north today to the largest of the Outer Hebridean Islands, the Isle of Lewis. This windswept island on the edge of Europe is home to windswept peat bogs, and flower-filled machair meadows scattered with white cottages.
During your 2 days on Lewis we suggest visiting the Callanish standing stones, the sands of Uig, walking to the Butt of Lewis and exploring the blackhouses at Gearrannan.
Drive: 45 miles +, 1hr
Activity: Numerous walks (2—6 hours)
Overnight: Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
A final Calmac Ferry (2h30) takes you across the Minch and to Ullapool. A former herring fishing village nestled at the head of Loch Broom.
From Ullapool you can explore the northwest Highlands which includes gems such as Assynt, Sutherland and Caithness, perhaps going as far as John O'Groats on the north coast of Scotland. Or stay closer to town and enjoy the many excellent walks around Ullapool.
Activity: Walks (1—6 hours)
Your trip ends after breakfast. The return drive to Glasgow (5hrs) via Inverness (1h30) is truly beautiful.
Drive: 235 miles to Glasgow, 5hrs
Overnight: Not included
You will stay in carefully chosen small 3 star hotels and inns and 3 and 4 star guest houses and B&B’s. We regularly use the following properties but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are unavailable. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially in high season.
This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as all our tours are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs we incur. If you require single rooms within your party we will of course try to accommodate your request subject to availability.
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 your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants.
Many of our clients choose to add extra nights on the tour and these can be added at the time of booking.
You will find descriptions, photos and weblinks to a selection of the accommodation below.
(Summer departures) Ashdale B&B enjoys fantastic views across the Sound of Sleat to Skye, Rum and Eigg. Guests enjoy free WiFi and there is ample parking. Rooms are stylish and have tea and coffee making facilities.
(Winter departures). Thornloe offers 7 rooms in a Victorian House situated on a hill, just a 10 mins walk to the town centre. The house overlooks Oban Bay. There is free WiFi, bathrobes and each room has a tea and coffee maker.
Heron Point is just 1.5 miles from the ferry terminal at Lochboisedale.There are four comfortable and homely rooms. Receive a warm welcome from your hosts and their two friendly dogs. Rooms have tea/coffee making facilities and the guest lounge has free WiFi.
Langass Lodge is beside Loch Eport, overlooking Ben Eaval. This former shooting lodge has 12 rooms and is run by Niall and Amanda. There is a fantastic restaurant and cosy bar.
Lovely Ceol Na Mara Guesthouse is found overlooking Loch Kindebig. Guests enjoy free WiFi, and relax in the spacious residents loungewhere there is satellite TV and a small library.
Stay in this modern, light and spacious family house, enjoy a quiet location just a 15 mins walk from Stornoway town centre and less than 5 mins by car from the ferry terminal. Five guestrooms are over 2 floors, and there is free WiFi and tea and coffee making facilities.
The Riverside Guesthouse has a central yet quiet village location. Stay in modern, en suite rooms with free WiFi, flat screen TV and tea and coffee making facilities. There is a guest lounge and drying room for wet weather gear.
You can start your tour at anytime during the year.
Summer Season (end of March to end Oct)
summer season the sailings to Lochboisedale on South Uist are from Mallaig,
and you can arrive any day of the week as ferries operate every day.
Winter Season (end Oct to end of March)
For the winter season the sailings to Lochboisedale on South Uist are from Oban, and arrival days are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as the ferry only runs four times a week.
The best time of year is from early-April to mid-October when the weather is best, most attractions are open and the days are long. Ferries operate less frequently in winter and arrival days may be different.
This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as all our holidays are priced per person based on two sharing, there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs that are not shared. If you require single rooms within your party we will of course try our best to accommodate your request, subject to availability.
We supply a detailed road book including walk descriptions, driving directions, maps, places to see and personal recommendations.
This holiday is graded easy to moderate overall. We offer a choice of walks each day so can choose to do as much or little as you wish.
Car hire is not included as standard in your arrangements. You can either bring your own vehicle, or we can provide you with arrangements at an additional supplement.
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.
The distances 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.
Returning from Ullapool, distances by road are as follows: Glasgow (230 miles), Inverness (57 miles), Edinburgh (235 miles), Aberdeen (158 miles).
Traveline Scotland has a fantastic website for looking up public transportation and timetables.
Car Hire: Car hire is available as an optional extra. Collection and drop-off available in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.
We are often asked the following questions and we hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further help.
This trip is graded easy to moderate and is perfect if you enjoy a good level of fitness. However as all of the walks are optional, you can choose whether or not you'd like to walk each day. The trails we recommend follow footpaths, bridleways, coastal trails, open fields and some minor roads. The walks may involve some relatively steep ascent and descents and days of up to 6 hours of walking.
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Highlands are popular and accommodation can be limited, especially over April/May and July/August. All trips are subject to availability and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. We provide you with a comprehensive kit list so you're fully prepared.
The best time of year is from early-April to late-October when the weather is best, most attractions are open and the days are long.
The weather in winter is wild, the days are short, many attractions close and not all walks may be possible. You will have the place almost to yourselves though.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.