The Best Hiking in the Outer Hebrides
The Outer Hebrides is surely on everyone’s list as a must see at some point in their lives? If not, it definitely should be.
The small chain of islands boasts some of the UK’s finest beaches, dramatic scenery, a variety of wildlife, wild mountain ranges as well as a rich history and unique Gaelic culture.
A Drive and Hike is the best way to explore this magnificent Island chain as it gives you the flexibility to plan your days how you would like, whether it be ascending up one of the glorious hills to be rewarded with breath-taking views, a relaxing walk along one of the white sandy beaches, spotting the wildlife in the nature reserve or learning more about the islands from the iconic historical sites. I found that having a car was the easiest and quickest way to get around, it’s also handy in the evenings if you are staying in one of the B&Bs and are not in walking distance of a hotel or restaurant.
On this trip, you will start off in Barra, the most southerly inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides and work your way up through South and North Uist, onto Harris and finally finishing in Lewis.
The Islands are connected by the local ferries and the journeys themselves provide a fantastic opportunity to capture amazing views of the islands from off the coast. It is worth bearing in mind that these Islands are small, they are remote and the roads can be very windy and single track in places. Therefore be prepared to share the road with walkers, campervans, caravans, cyclists, tractors, sheep and a few cows here and there!
I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Outer Hebrides in August of this year. I was prepared in some ways, I packed clothes for every weather possibility (you genuinely do get 4 seasons in one day!), but I was not prepared for how breathtakingly beautiful, peaceful and completely charming this remote set of little islands would be! The locals are wonderful and friendly and are always ready to give you advice on what to do and where to go.
The trip starts off in Oban, and after a 5-hour ferry journey, you will arrive in Barra and driving around this little island, you will get to your first views of the clear sparkling blue waters and white sandy beaches that the Outer Hebrides is famed for. As you continue your trip through the Uists, and onto Harris and Lewis, you are rewarded with more fantastic beaches! These are definitely worth a visit, many of the beaches, especially in the Southern part of the Outer Hebrides are usually very quiet and you may find that you can walk miles without seeing another soul! At the end of the trip in Stornoway, you will find a lively and vibrant town, the most populated of the Outer Hebrides, with plenty choices of restaurants and shops, before catching the ferry back to the mainland.
For me there were so many highlights on the trip, I would never be able just pick one or two. These Islands are so unique and will give you such a special experience. The beauty of this trip is that you can choose how you spend your days, there is no set itinerary so you really have the freedom to see and do what you want to do!