Discussion in 'Scotland' started by harry the hat, Feb 10, 2008.
can any one give me any info on touring the outer hebrides in august
First of all start with the ferry company Caledonian Macbrayne Official Caledonian MacBrayne Hebridean & Clyde Ferries site. That will give you availability and costs of ferries not cheap.
Decide which of the islands you want to visit. Check Scottish Tourist Board - accommodation, activities, events and holidays in Scotland for site details although there is no problem with sensible wild camping
Starting from the North and going South.
Lewis the most populous island of all with a site in Stornoway the biggest town in the Hebrides itself.
Harris is actually attached to Lewis and though there are no formal sites that I am aware of on Harris there are substantial wild spots available.
Berneray is a 1 hour ferry crossing from Harris and facilities are available at the ferry terminal to empty and refill your tanks. From Berneray you can drive down a combination of road and causeways to Eriskay passing through North Uist, Benebecula and South Uist. There is a site on Benebecula which is just over the dunes from a magnificent beach one of many on the islands. You will find a cooperative store on most of the islands.
From Eriskay you can catch a ferry to Barra.
The roads on the islands are mainly single track with passing places.
The visit Scotland website will list many of the activities and events taking place in August.
I toured the Outer Hebrides last year in my trusty old 'tranny' Campervan which next to camping is definately the best way to do the islands, bearing in mind that CalMac ferry prices are not cheap and anything over 5 metres will make the price very expensive.
Best way to see all the islands is to use the Hopscotch Rover and i went for Hopscotch 8
Hopscotch 8 - Barra, Uists, Harris & Lewis
This takes in Lewis, Harris, Uists, and Barra with an option of visiting Tiree.
Lewis and Harris is fascinating and quite scenic in places. Many roads are single track and some of the more remote are simply peat bogs at the edge....so come off the road and you won't be getting back on very easily! A 'must see' is the B887 to Hushinish, a tiny narrow single track road which twists and turns for 14 miles (feels more like three times that!). The reward is what you get to see at the end. Totally remote but extraordinarily beautiful.
I found the Uists rather boring by comparison with Lewis and Harris and there are very few places to 'wild camp' which is what i was doing. There is also very little to see on the Uists and exactly what the locals do with themselves I have no idea as there seemed very little in the way of business, shops etc, and i saw very few people after 6pm. It seems quite a dreary part of the islands.
Barra is only a very small island but has a unique charm. You can easily tour round it in one day but i loved it so much i stayed there for four days. The area where everyone heads for to 'wild camp' on Barra is just by the little airport overlooking the 'runway'. This is the only airport in the world which has scheduled daily flights landing on a beach which is washed by the sea!
I'm glad i toured all the islands though my only regret was not going out to St Kilda, a remote island far out on the westerly side which used to be inhabited many years ago.
Enjoy your tour!!
Be sure to take lots of midge cream with you! We spent a month on Harris in our old VW Camper (quite a few years ago now!) and one of my abiding memories is of the midges. The best anti-midge cream we know of is ]Jungle Formula, which is easily obtainable from camping shops and chemists. Take lots!
A few years ago I based myself just outside Fort William to prepare touring the Inner Hebrides and was all set to spend a week on Mull when i came across a couple who had fled Mull due to the dreaded midges. The guys wife had suffered quite horrendous bites.
However, I still decided to go. Yes the midges were all over the place. Park the car up for an hour and it would be covered. I had no creams or anything.....and never got bit once. It seems they dont like me!
When I visited the Outer Hebrides in June/July last year I went prepared 'just in case'. Not a midge in sight....anywhere! They seem to know when i'm coming!!
can anyone tell me when is the worst month for midges? They just love my blood and gulp down gallons of it! :Angry:
From our experience, they start hatching in the second half of May and 'hang around' until late September. Highly dependent upon the weather - warm and moist (not rain) is heaven to them. As soon as the rain stops, they emerge to hunt you down and can scent warm-blooded animals at a range of half a mile I believe.
Deet (Jungle Formula et al) does the job, but be very careful where you put it!
Plenty of places to wild camp on S Uist, just go down one of the side roads West of the main road, they nearly all end up at the coast, and you can just pull onto the grass for the night, spectacular sunsets, or wild winds!
On Harris do go to Huishnish, and also take the Golden Road, spectacular landscape, like nothing else I've seen in the UK, or EUrope for that matter
Hi we did a tour of the islands in april last year for my wifes 40th and loved it Lorraine (wife) and Sophie (daugther) did this wee diary hope it helps it is a wonderful place and well worth a visit.
Travelling from Dumfries to Loch Lomond to stay overnight, wild camping outside Ardlui. Great spot. We have an Island Hopper 23.
My 40th Birthday moving onto Oban to catch Ferry to Barra. Did some shopping at Tesco and they now have spaces for motorhomes, you could probably stay overnight before catching a ferry.
Got off the ferry in Barra and drove to the airport and stayed overnight. The wind must have been about 30 miles per hour. Great spot to watch the plane landing on the beach. Lovely sandy beach for playing and walking the dog, loads of shells for the kids to collect.
Castlebay two hotels, grocery shop, and post office. The toffee shop is great, they also do jewellery and their own sticky toffee pudding, which they are happy to post home for your. Also have webpage.
We drove round to Vatersay which is attached to Barra by a small causeway. Stayed at the Village hall with 3 other campers. Toilets and water available. Honesty box for leaving fee for staying overnight. The beach was in a small bay with fantastic tropical blue waters and golden sand. As per photo. Also saw the wild dolphins jumping between two fishing boats, great to watch.
If interested in golfing, they have a very small golf course with a difference, all greens are fenced off so the sheep can’t get at them.
Drove back round to Airport and had lunch at the café, good selection of food and you can watch the plane landing and taking off.
Catching ferry from The Sound of Barra – Eriskay. Very short crossing and you can stay seated in your vehicle. Eriskay has wild ponies. Drove further on to South Uist and stayed at picnic area and beach. Beach was lovely but not really for making sand castles, much more for walking and exploring. Lots of seaweed and greyish sand. Loads of space for campers.
Stopped in Lochboisdale next to Tourist Information and had a hot shower and toilets. Shower costs £1.00. Not the greatest pressure but warm and clean. The Tourist Information was very friendly and helpful. Not much in the town. Spoke to a fisherman who gave us the weather forecast for the next few days, he was spot on. He travels two miles on his boat and catches prawns.
Did some shopping in the Co-op in Benbecula. Had a meal in Temple View, North Uist which is owned by a couple, but not Islanders. Food was good and very informative about the Island.
Clachan Post Office and Shop sold gas bottles.
Took the Causeway to Berneray and watched the seals at Seal Point. You can see around 30 seals at certain times of the year. We saw around 10.
Drove by Hostel and thatched cottages, we parked on the grassy area next to another motorhome, next to the beach. Beach again was a walking and exploring beach with loads of seaweed. Great place to park, very flat.
Catching ferry to Leverburgh but when arrived the ferry was not running due to tidal problems. The next ferry was also cancelled and the 5.40 ferry was fully booked and taking a waiting list. Only way off the Island was to book Lochmaddy to Harris via Skye. Which we did! The showers on the ferry had great pressure and lovely and warm, just need to check with manager.
Went into Tourist Information and got loads of information, the two ladies were extremely helpful and even charged our laptop for us. Free internet hotspot in carpark.
Stopped in the mcGillvary Centre which is suitable for staying overnight as they have toilets available.
Stayed overnight at Luskentyre, lovely beach and toilets available with no lights in evening so remember your torch. Little walk to beach, well worth the walk, beach stretches for miles, of golden sand with lovely surfing waves. Lovely views of surrounding mountains.
Woke up to really heavy rain and high winds, moved on late morning. Had light lunch at Skoon Art Café, very reasonably prices, food was good, Sophie especially liked the triple chocolate brownie served with two scoops of Scottish icecream. When ordering scones for one you will received two. So you may like to share. Large pot of tea with extra pot of hot water. Well worth the drive off the main road. Art work was fantastic, but very pricey. Bought some small card prints.
Visited one of the Croft Tweed Shops, but remember to ask if you would like to see them weaving. We didn’t and arrived at the main shop in Tarbet to find out that the shop we had visited early would have shown us the weaving.
Tarbet is a lovely little town, with two grocery shops and post office. Chip Shop also.
Went to Cnip (Kneep) to say at Campsite to find out campsite was only a field with public toilets, but great beach. Didn’t stay due to campsite being uneven. (Other motorhomes and tents had taken up all flat places.
Staying at pinic area with toilet, short walk to beach, Ardroil. 2 miles by Uig Shop and Petrol station.
Stopped at Uig shop for shopping and noticed they also sell gas bottles. Drove most of the day arriving at Stornoway Campsite. Extremely clean showers and toilets but shower cublicles bit small.
Walked to golf course, cost £25 per game. Limited space on Saturday due to competition and no playing on a Sunday.
Walked further up hill to castle, bit disappointed and not open to walk around, not much information really. Walked back down through grounds and into town. Town is small but has everthing required. Tourist Information in town centre. Large Co-op at edge of town. Early night with TV signal.
Drove to Coll Pottery, but was shut, so drove further on to Traigh Mhor Beach, Toilets available. Beach stretched for miles of golden sand, once again a bit windy. Possible to stay overnight. Toby wouldn’t come back so left him in carpark, drove off and he chased us.
Back to Stornoway and out to Lighthouse at Point. Lovely views, but no real place to park.
Later on that night, got bus from bottom of lane (timetable at reception) to town. Had a meal at The Boat Shed in the Royal Hotel. Good variety on menu with children’s section. Remember and ask for the kids cocktail. Taxi home cost £4.85.
Sophie, Gerry and Toby went cycling into town, extremely quiet due to everyone being in church.
Lorraine cleaned the motorhome !!!!
Drove to Butt of Lewis via play park and beach. Sophie and Gerry played at park for ½ hr and Toby and Lorraine went for a walk along the path. We all went down the beach and once again a brilliant view with no wind and golden sand. Big cliffs where Sophie managed to create and echo. Rain started and all locals ran away.
Headed to Lighthouse, parked up and had a cuppa and biccie waiting for the rain to stop. Once rain stopped, had a good walk around the cliff tops. Stunning views across to the mainland.
Not as many places to stop for wild camping so stopped at campsite E….. but moved on due to lack of facilities. Toilets and showering facilities extremely old and electric didn’t work.
Drove to Norse Mill and Kiln parked next to sea loch, with lovely sunset. Still no wind. Fish jumping in loch. Golden eagle flying overhead.
headed back to Harris stopped at small pottery think it was blue pig they where very nice and did art lessons and sold loads of nik naks. Headed to Harris golf club for a game of golf then stayed the night at luskintyre before catching ferry from Harris.
No MHs at Barra airport now
In case anyone comes across this thread as I did - apparently there is no camping at all now (2010) at the Barra airport, ie next to the beach. There are a couple of campsites being planned for Barra - don't know when they'll be open. Glad I went to Barra airport/beach in 2007 - a most beautiful camping spot!
:helpsos: OH swears by Marmite! He takes a spoonful before walking the dog and is never botherd.....i hat marmite so just stay indoors and finish off the wine
Any actual ferry costs, please?
I was stationed on Benbecula for 2 yrs (91-92) on the military base there (Nothing secretive Its a range for firing and testing of missiles) and loved it. Didn't find the midges a problem as the wind usually blew all day at 20mph + but the beaches are to die for. Little sun tho and not a place to visit in the winter! N Uist is very staunch Catholic so NOTHING opens on Sundays not even the playgrounds so give it a miss on Sunday.
An excellent programme being shown on BBC 2 on Tuesdays is "Monty Halls' Great Hebridean Escape" and really worth watching. Part 2 last Tuesday saw him visiting St Kilda, 42 miles west of the isles and very difficult to visit (I made it there 6 times in 2 yrs and a magical place) unless you have a yacht or RIB.
If you like wild country, fantastic sunsets, fishing and empty beaches this is the place for you and I've also seen huge stags, with their harem of does, at very close range.
Go for it. I plan to revisit in the next few years
Hi Imprint if you try the calmac website it will give you price we went last easter 2009 think it was a hopper or hopscotch ticket was for 7 ferries and cost around £230 the only one we book was the Oban to Barra one the rest we just turned up and got on.
Hi, Weve just got back from a tour of Coll, Tiree and Mull and it cost us on the hopscotch ticket from Calmac about £250. That covers a 6m Bessie from Oban to Coll (watch out you have to back onto the ferry!!!) Coll to Tiree then back to Oban (no connections from Tiree to Mull would you belive it) and then to Mull and finally from Tobermory over to Ardnamurchan on the mainland at Kilchoan.
Lots of Mhomes camping on the Esplanade and roads out which we of Oban - dont go to the campsite where its expensive and their MH service point cant be reached to discharge grey water and is on a steep slope.
Coll is small and dull unless you like birds - the RSPB reserve is pretty special.
Tiree is amazing but we were handed a leaflet on the ferry and were met at the dock by the "access officer" who wanted to charge us £10 a night to camp at various crofters land. But no water supplied or water disposal (grey or foul) so we told him no thanks. They are trying to limit use of the machair land due to erosion. We camped wild at Gott Bay and on the Scaranish road without problems but obviously they are thinking of ways to control wild camping. They have established a campsite but we didnt use it.:Angry:
Mull - some amazing scenery but difficult roads with a number of overlarge motorhomes for the narrow single track roads. We saw someone get forced off the road by an inexperienced driver who failed to obey the rules and also some large tankers and forestry trucks to say nothing of couriers belting along. If you go to Mull dont miss Fionnport and Iona. Ther's a good campsite at Figgin. All the Hebrides roads are poor and mostly single track so take it easy until you get used to the system used. The locals will drive right up your tail until you pull over to let them pass you.
I'm guessing that wild camping on the beach will be a thing of the past within 10 years or even earlier.
By the way the roads on the mainland are superb compared to out on the islands and there are many places between Ardnamurchan and Fort William to go wild.:thumb:
best of luck. Midges come out mainly in June and July and are gone by late September as a previous poster said. The SAS swear by Avon bath oil (Skin so Soft) as a dissuader and they should know. Plus it leaves your hands nice and soft.
I find it hard to understand why you felt that paying £10 to camp on this amazing island was too expensive.. as you said, they are not only thinking of ways to control wild camping in motorhomes, it may soon be banned if people ignore the rules and don't use the facilities that are provided.
From Tiree web site:
Please read this brochure thoroughly before arriving on the island
as it contains information on how to select and book an overnight
parking site for your vehicle.
AVISITOR’S GUIDE TO OVERNIGHT PARKING,
ACCESS & WASTE DISPOSAL
there is a pdf with all the sites and dumping places
Please see This Site, highlighted in a thread last week I think, detailing restrictions on Barra for very good reasons.
I know that some funsters do not like mentioning other forums so I apologise in advance if I offend anyone. If you go to the outandaboutlive MH forum there is a very informative post on their from someone who has just returned from touring the Islands and provides some very useful nformation. Just a suggestion
We have just returned from Harris and Lewis , 19/6/10, weather fantastic ,no midges ,great wildcamps ,beaches the likes of which I have never seen before,
the only down side was it wasn't long enough, buy a Hopscotch ticket it will
save you a lot,even the diesel prices weren't too vicious,having said that prices
from Glasgow to Ullapool varied by 15p a litre so shop around..enjoy.
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