2013-04-09 20.06.20min

mckenzie mountaineering.... outdoor adventures

The Outer Hebrides, Also known as the Western Isles are a group of wonderfully diverse Scottish islands in the most north westerly part of the UK. With a huge amount of hiking on offer including mountain walks leading down to beaches that are some of the most beautiful you will find anywhere in the world, stunning cliff side paths and some of the most interesting archaeological and historic sites to visit in Scotland. The local people are friendly, honest and passionate, and the beautiful Gaelic language is still commonly spoken here alongside the English language

On this May 2020 tour, we offer a true and inspiring insight into these unique islands. We incorporate exciting walks, history, culture, a distillery tour and an introduction to Harris tweed weaving which is historically unique to the islands.

This 11 day walking tour of the islands includes a night in lovely Ullapool at the start where we take our ferry the following morning over to Lewis, and one night at the end in the delightful village of Plockton back on the mainland before our transfer to Inverness airport/train station.

We begin our island tour on Lewis in the Northern Outer Hebrides, with some superb coastal hill path walking and ancient historical sites including the 5000 year old Callanish standing stones. We then head down to beautiful Harris with some fantastic walks on its shapely mountains, cliff sides and simply stunning beaches! Further south we are walking in the North and South Uists home to thousands of scattered freshwater Lochs and lovely beaches and birdlife and finally we visit the southern islands of Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay... beautiful, serene and peaceful and a perfect end to this unforgettable island tour.

Our accommodation is in authentic cosy inns and comfortable small hotels or B&B.

We can also offer this tour at a reduced price for those who prefer the hostel/bunkhouse experience, which have shared accommodation with good clean facilities.

Day 1: ‪9th May
After airport/station/Inverness city pick ups we drive to the lovely north west coastal village of Ullapool for an overnight in a B&B. We can offer a short walk on this transfer day on route from Inverness or up onto Ullapool hill which offers some great views out to the summer isles and over the village. We choose the walk dependant on the weather and pick up times in Inverness for the group. B&B Ullapool

Day 2: ‪10th May.‬ 6.5km, approx 2 hours, 150 metres ascent.
We begin our tour on the Outer Hebrides when we head over on the ferry in the morning to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis and drive to the north to begin an afternoon circuit walk at the Butt of Lewis Light house in the most north westerly point of the island and indeed the whole of the UK, with cliff top views, plenty of birdlife interesting lighthouse history and lovely beaches. We return to Stornoway where we have 2 nights in a B&B/small hotel.

Day 3: ‪11th May.‬ 7-9km, 3/4 hours, approx 350 metres ascent.
Our second day on Lewis takes us to the west of the Island where we have a lovely high level coastal walk with fabulous seascapes and a chance of spotting some wildlife, from Dalbeg via Dalmore beach to arrive at the incredible Blackhouse museum village, where you have time to visit this interesting reconstructed village and learn about its fascinating history, (entrance fee included) On this day we also visit an ancient stone broch at Carloway and Arnol Blackhouse (entry fee included). On our return to Stornoway we may have time for a short visit to lews castle museum and also the poignant Iolaire memorial monument. Lots crammed into this varied day!

Day 4: ‪12th May‬, mixed walks. Approx 4-5 hours, 8-10km, approx 450 metres ascent.
On our departure from Stornoway we head down to south west Lewis where we visit the beautiful bay of Uig sands, where we tell you about the discovery of the renowned Lewis Chessmen. A short stop here and then we head to Mangersta nearby and take a short walk to visit a unique secret bothy which sits in a rock face in an outstanding position.
We depart Uig and before heading down to Harris, we take a visit to the 5000 year old Callanish Standing stones, not to be missed!
In the afternoon, before arriving at our accommodation in the village of Tarbert on Harris, we do a wonderful walk (with distant views over to Skye on a clear day) from Rhenigidale to Urgha. Until the road accessing Tarbet was built in the 1980s this path was used by secondary school kids to access the school in Tarbert, in all kinds of weather!
4 nights B&B/small hotel Tarbert

Day 5: ‪13th May.‬ Beinn Dhubh, 11.5km/4-5,hours/574metres ascent/descent.
Today we begin with a fantastic distillery tour and tasting of the renowned Harris Gin and (soon to be available) malt whisky in Tarbert. (Entry fee included) we then drive a short distance to begin our ascent of Beinn Dhubh, at Losgaintir (Luskentyre). This interesting off path ascent eventually takes us up onto a long wide ridge on this wonderful hill which offers views of the stunning North Harris mountains on one side and beautiful Luskentyre beach and the island of Taransay on the other. After reaching the summit cairn we descend gradually, eventually arriving on the renowned sweeping sands of Luskentyre beach where there is time to enjoy the beautiful sands and turquoise seas whilst taking in the views and maybe have a paddle (or even a swim!) before heading back to our accommodation in Tarbert.

Day 6: ‪14th May.‬ 8km 450 metres ascent/descent, Huisinish Circuit. 3.5-4 hours.
Today we begin our walk at the road end by beautiful Huisinish beach on the west coast of Harris. The walk takes us on a fantastic interesting stony balcony path to the remote Crabhadail beach with splendid views along the way. We then continue over a small hill top to descend to yet another stunning beach with views onto the island of Scarp before rejoining our inbound path back to the beach at Huisinish. Possible option of an extra late afternoon walk on the island of Scalpay (over the bridge from Tarbert) or time to explore Tarbert village and it’s authentic gift shops and extensive Harris tweed shop selling an array of items made from this high quality tweed.

Day 7: ‪15th May‬, Ceapabhal, Taobh Tuath (Toe Head) approx 8km, 3-4 hours, 360 metres of ascent.
The short ascent of Ceapabhal on south Harris is relatively steep but rewards us with excellent views of the beaches of Harris and the small islands in the Sound. We also include a visit to the secluded ruins of a medieval chapel as a side walk on this route. The Machair to be found (fertile grassy plain full of wild flowers) along the low level ground is some of the finest examples in Harris. Before heading back to Tarbert we visit a traditional weavers hut where you can ask questions about the methods of weaving the beautiful Harris tweed.

Day 8: ‪16th May‬, Berneray Explorer. 12.25km, 3.5-4.5hours,156 metes ascent/descent
Today we leave Harris behind and continue our journey further south in the Outer Hebrides via ferry from Leverburgh to the island of Berneray where we walk from a lovely thatched Hostel in a stunning setting, up onto a small hill and down onto magnificent Berneray beach with a long walk along this stunning Stretch of coastline, we visit an interesting memorial monument at the end of the walk and there is also the opportunity to spot seals in the bay before we drive over the causeway into North Uist and down to South Uist with possible stops along the way for photos, eventually arriving at our accommodation for the next 3 nights in South Uist.

Day 9: ‪17th May‬ - Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay. 9km/3.5 hours approx. 150 metres ascent.
On this day we visit the most southerly occupied islands of the Outer Hebrides. We drive the short distance to the idyllic island of Eriskay, home to the beautiful Eriskay rare Hebridean ponies and historically known for the book and film Whisky Galore based on the SS Politician ship which crashed on the shoreline here and thousands of bottles of whisky were ‘rescued ‘ by the locals! After a photo stop we take the ferry over to The island of Barra and do the Eoligarry explore walk which is quite varied and once again culminates with a beautiful beach walk. We have time to visit the only scheduled airline beach runway in the world and watch the propeller airplanes come into land on the beach and take off again... a unique experience not to be missed! We then drive to Vatersay to visit our last gorgeous beach of the trip and weather permitting an ideal spot in calm waters for a refreshing dip!

Day 10: ‪18th May‬ - Eaval, 10.5km 4.5-5 hours
Today we drive back up to North Uist and spend our day on the exquisite hill Eaval, the highest mountain on North Uist. Though only 347m in height its steep fin shaped cone stands proud on this low-lying island and provides unique views of the amazing land and water around it... with hundreds of lochs and lochans to be seen for miles! It’s a truly fitting end to our time in the Outer Hebrides.

Day 11: ‪19th May‬ - walk on Skye.
Today we depart the Outer Hebrides taking the ferry from Lochmaddy over to Uig on the Isle of Skye. We include a walk through the unique landscape on Skye in the otherworldly Quiraing area of the north with its incredible pinnacles and landslip features. There is also a couple of photo stops before heading south to Portree for a bit of time to explore this popular and picturesque harbour village. We then make our way down through Skye with outstanding views to the Cuillin mountain ranges on route. We cross the Skye bridge and drive the short distance to the stunningly situated village of Plockton on the west coast for our last night. B&B/small hotel.

Day 12 : ‪20th May.‬
Today is the transfer day to Inverness airport/train station or your accommodation in Inverness. If time allows, we visit some historic sites along the way and also drive past beautiful Loch Ness, the largest body of water in the UK by volume. Then it’s time to say our goodbyes after what is sure to be a memorable trip!

It’s a super trip with a lot of diversity and variety! Some walks may be changed subject to weather conditions and other factors but we always aim to keep the days interesting, varied and informative and fun for our groups. Dinner is taken in local pubs/restaurants and sometimes hotels. Most days we will pick up a pack lunch from local grocery stores and many B&Bs can also provide these. The Outer Hebrides is wonderful for fresh seafood and local produce and has many great eating establishments across the islands for dinner.

£1339 for 11nights/12 days in B&Bs or small hotels.
£959 based in good hostels and bunkhouses sharing accommodation.

Your place on the tour is confirmed on receiving a 20% deposit with balance due 6 weeks before (payment instalment agreements are also available). We also offer group discounts. Please note: single supplements apply if you do not wish to share a room.

On booking a place, we will then forward our recommended kit-list