Outer Hebrides - May 2019

mythste

Veteran
Location
Manchester
I'm going to stop hijacking other peoples threads and start my own!

Next week I set off with 4 others for 12 days to go on an adventure. As much as anything, I anticipate this thread will be for my own posterity but it seems harder than one might think to find clear facts about the journey so if anyone has any questions I'll do my best to answer!

So far we have very little in the way of the itinerary. We're getting trains up from Manchester on Thursday and getting the ferry across to Barra on Friday morning. From there, the only real "hard" deadline is the ferry from Stornoway to Skye, so we can get the booked train back to Manchester from Mallaig on the 14th.

I'm travelling purposely heavy, the weather is looking unpredictable and we think we'll be wild camping for a good two-thirds of the journey with the odd campsite or hostel as necessary. The steed is a Genesis Croix De Fer 10 and the obligatory 4 Ortliebs. I'm making it a personal mission to try and steer clear of freeze-dried rations and to try and cook some decent trangia meals. We don't have huge days of riding so i anticipate plenty of time in the evening to knock up something nice.

I plan to record a timelapse of me loading the bike up this weekend. With a bit of luck!

If there's any advice to be had (We know about the Sunday thing!) I'd welcome it
 
Midges. Did I mention midges and don't forget midges. You might be lucky but they might be out now. Pray for wind and that they're not, especially if you're wild camping.
 

Bobby Mhor

Wasn't born to follow
Location
Behind You
Book anything you need to ahead (possible) ahead...
try to keep spare provisions, shops are kinda few
and as Crackle says buy a midge head net.
You will thank him for that suggestion if they are about..

You will love it....and most of all enjoy!
 
OP
mythste

mythste

Veteran
Location
Manchester
I've been in a midge swarm before and I'm going as prepared as I can for that one. Between us we've got a number of loads of anti midge stuff so we should be good there. I hadnt considered a net so that's going on the amazon list.

Though I should hope it's use will be limited, I've also bought biodegradable babywipes and a poop shovel (Only 17 grams!). The joys of touring with IBS.
 
It should be a great trip. I look forward to reading about it. Take lots of pictures.
 

Edwardoka

Prolix Maximus
Having now made that trip twice, I'd say that camping probably isn't necessary. There are really excellent hostels all the way up the archipelago run by the Gatliff Trust - you can't book in advance, but they are very unlikely to turn you away, and you get to meet some really interesting people in the process.

Caveat: you'd still need to book accommodation in Barra and Stornoway in advance, though.
It's an excellent trip and I look forward to your writeup :biggrin:
 
OP
mythste

mythste

Veteran
Location
Manchester
Ferries are Stornoway to Ullapool or Tarbert to Uig (Skye) - not Stornoway to Skye as in OP - was it a typo?
Well spotted! You are indeed correct. Tarbert to Uig it is. Do give us a wave if you see us, 5 beardy blokes with big grins and bikes!
 
OP
mythste

mythste

Veteran
Location
Manchester
Having now made that trip twice, I'd say that camping probably isn't necessary. There are really excellent hostels all the way up the archipelago run by the Gatliff Trust - you can't book in advance, but they are very unlikely to turn you away, and you get to meet some really interesting people in the process.

Caveat: you'd still need to book accommodation in Barra and Stornoway in advance, though.
It's an excellent trip and I look forward to your writeup :biggrin:
That's good to know in case of emergancy! The camping aspect is actually one of the main appeals for us all. At one with nature and all that. I reserve the right to change my mind following nature giving me a solid once over.
 

stephenjubb

Über Member
That's good to know in case of emergancy! The camping aspect is actually one of the main appeals for us all. At one with nature and all that. I reserve the right to change my mind following nature giving me a solid once over.
When you get off the ferry at Barra, you can head south to Vatersay ( it is brilliant and views to die for! ) to camp wild or pay approx £4. There is a cafe there last time I was there a few years ago.

I'd not camp in the village on the beach where the Ferry arrives if there are 4 of you - I have and had no issues. Other campers have reported otherwise.
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
Wild camping is mostly easy all the way up tho.
The first time I did Barra, and Vatersay to Harris/ Lewis, I had intended to stay in some Gatliffe black houses - they're definitely worth a look, but timings were off due to wind and other things, so ended up camping every night and also when across to Skye and back down to Sleat.. Where is your exit point from Skye??

I would counsel against the main cross Skye road at busy times.

The hills aren't particularly bad, but they've not really left enough comfort space for cyclists, and the lorries and coaches, quite understandably don't want to sow down on the longish drags up. So it's not particularly comfortable.

Sunday is much quieter from that pov

One time on a return route, midweek, I sweet talked the guy in the outdoor shop, into transporting me and my bike back to Broadford from Portree, in his van to avoid it.

Made a donation to Mountain Rescue - in consideration of course. :angel:
 
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Last time we went to the Outer Hebrides it was June and the weather was crap, we rode north from Barra to Lewes. we camped near the airport first night where we were battered by high winds, 2nd day the winds remained high and because they pushed us along at at quite a rate so we got to Berneray Youth Hostel that evening which was a day earlier than planned, the hostel was packed as sso many tents had been wrecked in the high winds so we grabbed the two empty beds in the female quarter which riased some concerns with a couple of ladies but the rest were happy withus being there.

Third day was great the wind had dropped and the ride around the coast Harris to Tarbert via the golden road was a great ride we camped at Ceann-na-cleithe. Next day we headed North to Stornaway which was again a windless day,

Next day we decided to ride to the Butt of Lewes, that was a mistake as it was a windy day, it took us 2 hours to get there but 4 hours to get back, following day we took the ferry to Ullapool, the good thing with the wind there were no midges.
 
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