Scattered in a 130-mile arc off the north-west coast of Scotland, the Outer Hebrides invariably seduce newcomers with their intoxicating blend of wild natural beauty, abundant wildlife, sparkling sandy beaches and stunning rocky landscapes.
Your first Hebridean destination is the Isle of Barra in the south; your ferry departs from the port of Oban on the west coast. Look out for whales & dolphins as you cross the Sea of the Hebrides. A short drive takes you to your first small hotel.
Your Hotel on Barra
Originally built as a church and mission house in the mid-nineteenth century, your whitewashed hotel enjoys a fine location overlooking the bay, with easy access to both the ferry port and Barra’s unique beachfront airstrip at Cockle Strand. In its previous incarnation as a guest house, it played host to several cast members of the classic 1948 film Whisky Galore, before upgrading to hotel status in 1974, whereupon Northbay could boast its first licensed premises since the closure of the old inn decades earlier.
The hotel has five comfortable en-suite bedrooms furnished in contemporary style, some with DVD. The cheerful public bar whose walls are ‘over 3 foot thick’ is a pleasant place to sit and observe the fishing activity across the bay at Ardveenish pier or to while away an evening listening to the friendly locals share their colourful tales of island life. Meals are served in the bar, or you can opt for the quieter dining room, whose menu features tempting island produce with an emphasis on locally landed fresh fish and shellfish.
What to see and do on Barra
Take a walk along the sparkling white sands of Cockle Strand and spot a plane landing at low tide – an unforgettable sight. Drive or cycle up to Eoligarry and feast your eyes on the springtime profusion of primroses as you gaze across the sound to Fuday, Eriskay and South Uist in the distance. Or head south to Castlebay, the island capital, and visit Kisimul Castle, restored ancestral home of the clan MacNeil. Stop off at the highly informative Heritage Centre, where you can enjoy coffee and refreshments before perhaps taking a picnic across the causeway to Vatersay, with its glorious twin beaches.Day Three – To North Uist
Leaving the little island of Barra via the ferry to Eriskay, you will then travel along the spectacular waterside roads of Uist to your next destination in the north.
Your Hotel on North Uist
This striking modern hotel, which has proved a highly popular choice for our clients since it opened in 2006, offers stylish contemporary interiors and boutique-style ambience unrivalled anywhere else in the Hebrides. Each of its eight designer bedrooms offers wonderful views of Lochmaddy Bay and offers a soothing environment characterised by warm, earthy hues, subtle lighting effects and quality modern furnishings. The hotel is set in attractive landscaped gardens and boasts a decked outdoor eating area and a fully-equipped Leisure Club complete with sauna, steam room and gym. The hills and machair lands around Lochmaddy provide inspiration for the restaurant kitchen in the form of heather-fed lamb, deer, game and organic vegetables, whilst the harbour, freshwater lochs and surrounding coastal waters are an abundant source of delicious scallops, mussels, lobsters, crab, salmon and wild brown trout. The main restaurant menu imaginatively reflects these culinary riches, whilst the comfortable lounge bar focuses on more informal, hearty home-cooking.
What to see and do on the Uists
North Uist offers unlimited access to the interconnected isles of Benbecula, Grimsay, South Uist and Eriskay, all of which are ideal for walking, kayaking, cruising and wildlife-watching. Birdwatchers will not want to miss the RSPB Balranald nature reserve on the west coast – home to thousands of coastal waders and divers. Meanwhile, Lochmaddy itself boasts several unusual attractions including a camera obscura and the impressive Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre and museum.Day Five – To Harris
Your last destination on the Outer Hebrides is found near the main island village of Tarbert on Harris.
Your Hotel on Harris
This modern 4 star guest house exudes a warm, traditional Hebridean welcome and offers a quiet retreat from which to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding area. Overlooking a peaceful loch, you’ll feel a million miles from anywhere – although in reality you are just a few minutes drive or a 20 minute walk from Tarbert. The splendid breakfast, prepared from locally sourced produce, will set you up for the day. All of the comfortable rooms and the residents lounge enjoy impressive watery views from this aptly named house meaning ‘Music of the Sea’.
What to see and do on Harris & Lewis
With its magnificent scenery and spectacular beaches, Harris offers unrivalled opportunities for hillwalkers, anglers, divers, birdwatchers and wildlife-lovers. And don’t miss Rodel’s exquisite 15th century church of St Clement’s, with its wonderful medieval tombs and wood carvings. The prehistoric sites of Lewis, including Callanish standing stones, are perfectly feasible for a day trip.Day Seven – Return Home
Today you will leave the Outer Hebrides by way of the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool. Or, if you prefer, you can return home via Skye. In either case we can arrange for a stop-off for you.Information