Hebrides Itinerary

Some workings on how a Outer Hebrides trip might work.  I’m going on the conservative side with timings (10mph) assuming that we’ll be stopping to look at views and history.  Lots of folk seem to do it in 3 or 4 days, but i guess some of that is taking most direct route rather than scenic route, and maybe not going up to Butt of Lewis, and back down again.

Approaching MalacleitApproaching Malacleit by Richard X, on Flickr

Day 1

1. Train to Oban

Trains to Oban go via Glasgow. Need to be in Oban by early afternoon.

2. Ferry Oban to Castlebay (Barra)

Timetable: summer-barra–oban-castlebay . Most days the ferry seems to depart mid-afternoon and  get in late at night 8.30pm (4.5 hours)

Maybe stay on Vatersay? or maybe cycle to near ferry if light and conditions allow..

Day 2

1. Cycle Barra

It’s 8 miles from the ferry port  at Castlebay to the ferry port at Ardmhor via the east coast of the Island.  9 miles via the west coast.  (1 hour aprox)

2. Ferry off Barra

There’s 4 ferries a day from Ardmhor; 9.25, 11:10, 15:45, 17:30 . Would be good to get first one. (the sailing to Eriskay takes 40 mins)

3. Cycle Eriskay to South Usit

3 miles from Ferry to South Usit across the causeway.
35 miles up the island of South Uist.

(4hours aprox)

Day 3

1. Cycle Benbecular

a) The long way round – 11 miles, by the main road

b) Up the main road – 7miles

(1 hour aprox)

2. Cycle North Uist

a) the long way round (west coast) – 32 miles

b) the east way – 23 miles.

(3 hours aprox)

Day 4

1. Ferry from North Uist to Harris

Timetable: north-uist-and-harris (berneray-leverburgh)

Four ferries a day, either up early for the 7.15 or later for the 10:25

(takes 1 hour)

2. Cycle Harris

1. Cycle 50 Miles up Harris – a few different routes depending on how feel.
would be good to make some dent on the next days miles too.

(5  – 6 hours)

Day 5

1. Cycle Lewis

Cycle up one side of Isle to butt of Lewis – then back down the other side to Stornaway,
70 miles – 7 hours

Day 6

There used to be a coach that took bikes between ullapool and inverness, but no longer running. Seems the only way with bikes is to ride.

1. Ferry Stornaway to Ullapool

Ferry Timetable: Stornaway > Ullapool

Seems to be 2 a day, most days. Either up early for the 7am – or there’s one at 13:50 takes 3 hours.

2. Ride Ullapool to Garve

Along A835 is 32 miles with 450m of ascent – approx 3 hours.

3. Train – Garve to Inverness

Trains at 13:39, 16:14, 18:50 (check up to date times nearer time)

4. Train Inverness to Home

train back to edinburgh/carlisle

Notes

Freedom of Scotland Travel pass;

  • covering Train and Ferry. and some coasches
  • 4 days unlimited travel out of 8 consecutive days £114
  • Valid from Carlisle.

Bibliography

Crazy Guy on a Bike | Magic of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland
Paul’s Cycling Trips (with 2 Hebrides trips)
http://www.visithebrides.com/cycle/
Book: Cycling in the Hebrides: Island Touring and Day Rides (not released until 15th May 2012)