Walk of the Week: Skye and The Outer Hebrides
The Isle of Skye has long been a favourite destination for visitors to Scotland. Like most of the islands that make up the Hebrides, Skye allows for walks on white sandy beaches or among rocky mountain peaks. It is also home to spectacular natural wonders such as The Quiraing and The Old Man of Storr, both of which can be reached and then explored on foot. As well as exploring Skye this car-free tour also takes in the largest of the Outer Hebrides, Lewis and Harris.
The Old Man of Storr
In a Nutshell
Distance? Up to 49 miles.
Grade? With maximum daily distances of up to 15 miles this tour has some long days which warrants the moderate grading. The Isle of Lewis's Gaelic name Leodhas, meaning marshy, accurately describes certain sections of the walks on this tour so be prepared with appropriate footwear.
Where? Starting in Inverness take one of Scotland's most scenic railway journeys, the Kyle Line, which passes lochs and mountains before arriving at Kyle of Lochalsh. Enjoy majestic views over Loch Alsh as you cross the Skye bridge before settling in at our hand picked B&B in the waterside village of Broadford. The next four days are spent exploring Skye, during which you have the chance to see the Old Man of Storr and walk in the heart of the Black Cuillin mountain range. A short ferry journey takes you to the Isle of Harris where you can choose to spend time scanning the skies at the North Harris Eagle Observatory or enjoying whisky at the island's only distillery - the Hearach. Harris has some of the most picturesque beaches in the UK and the Harris Walkway takes in many of them including Luskentyre Sands before winding your way around the island to Tarbert. The final day is spent exploring the Isle of Lewis (the northern part of the isle of Harris & Lewis) which has many fine examples of monoliths and iron-age constructions such as the standing stones of Callanish.
The View Over Broadford Bay
Why Walk Here?
Peaceful. This car-free walking tour is an opportunity to get away from it all on a stress-free island adventure around the Outer Hebrides. The relaxed pace of life, sights and sounds that can be found on Skye and to a greater extent on Harris and Lewis contribute to making these islands some of the most tranquil places in all of Scotland.
Remarkable scenery. The Isle of Skye with its beaches, lochs, glens and sharp peaks is home to some of the UK's most impressive scenery. The tour presents the chance to explore the island's geological features such as the Cuillin mountain range and the Old Man of Storr.
History. The Harris Walkway not only shows off the beauty of Harris and Lewis but also gives an insight into the history and tradition that defines island life in one of the remotest parts of Scotland. Inhabited for around 5000 years, the remnants of early societies are scattered around the island, with the Callanish standing stones being the best example.
The Callanish Standing Stones
Planning & Preparation
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 taking around 30 minutes or a taxi to Inverness train station is approximately 15 minutes. 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. If you would prefer to travel to Broadford directly Scottish Citylink operate a bus service from Glasgow via Fort William to Broadford, or from Inverness via Loch Ness to Broadford.
Getting from Stornoway
By Air:Flybeoperates 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 a fantastic resource 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.
Luskentyre Sands on Harris's West Coast