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
  • Traverse the 37 km long ‘Harris Walkway’ over remote moorland & machair
  • A warm Island welcome from the owners of hand-picked B&B's 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 quiet trails on the ever-popular Isle of Skye, then sail across to Tarbert for a 3 night stay on Hebridean isles of Harris & Lewis, ending your journey in Stornoway.

Highland highlights include; the ‘Great Highland Railway Journey’ on the remote Kyle Line from Inverness, the remoteness 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 Broadford

Starting in the small village of Torrin, after a short transfer from Broadford, this walk follows a clear path that hugs the dramatic coastline. As the path rises to follow the clifftops the views to the right of the Cuillin Ridge, towering above the expanse of open sea, are imposing and impressive. You will then pass deserted crofters communities long since burnt out by landowners, dramatic sweeping cliffs, sheltered beaches and tumbling waterfalls. As the path heads north again towards Broadford, you will ascend to a moorland plateau, through a protected forest reservation, past an abandoned marble quarry and back into Broadford - a small town full of cosy pubs and homely guesthouses.


Walk: 17 km


Overnight: Broadford, Skye


Day 3: Kilmarie to Sligachan Walk

Your day begins with a taxi transfer to Kilmarie, from where you will walk to the iconic hotel at Sligachan via the shores of Camasunary Bay with stunning views of the Cuillin. This is among the finest day walks in Scotland.


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


Walk: 17 km


Overnight: Portree, Skye


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

There are two 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 book a taxi or take the bus (payable locally) from Portree to the car park at the Old Man of Storr. It’s a 4.5 km walk, to get up close to the towering pinnacles.  Alternatively, ask the taxi to stop at the The Storr lochs dam car park and follow a beautiful coastal route along the clifftops and across moorland to walk back to Portree (13 km).


Activity: Walk 4.5 - 13 km, 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 have 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 (please note the distillery is closed on Sundays).


Walk:5 km


Overnight: Tarbert, Harris


Day 6: Luskentyre Beach & Harris Walkway to Tarbert

South Harris boasts some of the best beaches in the country. You can begin 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 37 km ‘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. As you meet the minor road, you can shorten your walk by taking the bus part of the way to return to Tarbert.


Walk: Up to 23.5 km


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 Islands, 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 take a short transfer to Stornoway on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis. 


Tonight you can reward yourself with a fine supper of hot, salty fish and chips, doused in steaming vinegar.


Walk: 13.5 km


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 take the Calmac ferry across 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, so a packed lunch would be necessary). 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. Our Skye trips are firm favourites among our clients so this year to better ensure Macs guests can enjoy time on the island we have some guaranteed availability in the colourful seaside village of Portree in July and August. Contact our team for more details!


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.

We operate between the months of April and October. On occasion during the booking season Skye can be affected by fog, wind, rain and cold but these conditions are usually reserved for the winter months.

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.

 

Great trip!

4

We loved the independence of hiking in an area completely unknown to us, yet feeling very confident in the directions, accommodations and transportation.

Paula

Colorado

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Good accommodations, tour directions adequate to poor

3

Very nice accommodations. Wonderful breakfast. Nice hosts. Maps and directions leave A lot to be desired. There were a few groups doing this tour and we all got lost on 2 of the hikes. A lot of extraneous instruction and no highlights of important ones. Bad wording. Back office not very helpful... just throw out the material without review.

Hiker girl

US

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A beautiful, remote and peaceful trip.

5

Fabulous part of the world with some lovely hikes and fab scenery. The itinerary looks complicated with taxis taking you to remote places but everything went like clockwork and the taxis were flexible on pickup times, we changed a few of them the day before. Portree is a lovely little town but it's important to book places to eat as all the restaurants/bars get full.

Greg

Cardiff

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Trip of a lifetime!

5

It was a dream vacation! Well organized and the people all along the way were very helpful and kind. I am already trying to decide which one will be my second Mac Adventures trip!

Rebecca G.

California

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I would definitely book a holiday with MacsAdventure again.

5

I have always wanted to visit the Hebrides, this trip was an excellent mix of organized routes and freedom to explore, which gave a good overview and definitely made me want to go back to explore more!

Ginster

Switzerland

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A wonderful first meeting with the Hebrides

5

The material MacsAdventure sent us in advance was informative and detailed and we especially appreciated the maps. The paths were very easy to follow and we had no problem in finding our way. We also appreciated that representatives from MacsAdventure contacted us two times during the trip just to make sure we were safe. The weather was fantastic and the locals most kind and helpful. On day three we chose option 2, booked a boat from Elgol to Loch Coruisk and walked to Sligachan. The first climb was a little steep but the remaining miles were easy. In Portree we took a boat cruise to see the wildlife around the Sound of Raasay. Highly recommended, although we did not see any dolphins that day. At Luskentyre Beach we stayed a little bit longer to have a refreshing swim in the Atlantic. We wanted to prolong the trip and MacsAdveture suggested an extra day in Stornoway. At the bus station we were recommended a full day trip around Lewis with local buses and they also helped us with the planning. We went back and forth to visit Dun Carloway Broch, Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Callanish Stones and finally the Backhouse in Arnol. A very interesting extra day. Henrik and AnnMari

Nicke

Lund, Sweden

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I will recommend this trip

5

It is the combination of hiking and culture that is appealing. Meeting locals and travellers to exchange a word or two. Cosy and friendly b&b's. A variation of easy to more challening walks.

Rally Lena

Trelleborg in Sweden

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An interesting and well organised itinernary

4

an opportunity to explore new destinations with help on the day to day the day to day logistics

Martin

Portsmouth

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Fantastic Holiday

5

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.

Dave London

London

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Great hike with some modifications to make it moderate

4

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.

ML & DL

Canada

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Skye & The Outer Hebrides

4.5 10

90.0

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