Wild, remote and hauntingly beautiful, the Outer Hebrides are a truly special place. Covering 150 miles of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Minch, the Western Isles are home to out of this world beaches, wild rugged landscapes and justifiably proud Islanders who welcome travellers with their warm Hebridean hospitality.
Our Hebridean adventure started on the ferry crossing from Ullapool to Stornaway. The blue men of the Minch (storm kelpies) were kind to us and blessed our crossing with calm seas and even some blue skies as we made our way to the Isle of Lewis. As we travelled south the terrain changed from lowland peat moorlands to rocky hills to mountains to World class beaches that would give the Caribbean a run for its money. The ferry from Leverburgh offers a stunning and gentle crossing as it winds its way around beautiful islets finishing at Berneray and our next chain of Islands. From here we gently drove through North Uist to Benbecula to South Uist to Eriskay and then got the ferry over to our final and smallest Island Barra.
Needless to say, there were too many highlights to squeeze into a post so I am going to share our top five favourite things to do on these beautiful Isles.
1. Beach wanderings
The Outer Hebrides is home to miles upon miles of unspoilt, golden sandy beaches and turquoise seas. There are beaches on these isles which stand in for Thai holiday brochures because they are so utterly beautiful and yet so very quiet. Chances are you'll have these beaches to yourself and the best thing about them, no litter!
The beaches may take the limelight on the coastline, but if you head inland the landscape opens up to reveal endless wild and striking lochs and lochans. In Lewis we discovered what may be our favourite park up to date, a small spot by an empty loch with beautiful views and not a soul to be found. Here we could launch our paddle board right from the van and explore our own little slice of Hebridean heaven from the water. We cooked dinner on the shore and were treated to an otherworldly sunset that we will never forget. Everyone needs their own little slice of #lochlife, and this was ours.
3. Isle of Harris Distillery
Gin! Oh how we love gin. When we saw that there was a Distillery on the Isles we had to pay them a visit. The Isle of Harris Distillery is first and foremost a whiskey distillery but as they wait for their first batch to be ready they decided to make their own gin and thank goodness they did. They use locally sourced sugar kelp in their selection of botanicals which are hand collected by their diver giving the gin a fresh, subtle coastal note. We would highly recommend the distillery tour which explains the whisky and gin distillation process in a fun and informative way. We can't wait to go back and try 'The Hearach' Single Malt when it's ready.
4. Luskentyre Beach
I know we've covered beaches but I feel that Luskentyre beach deserves a special mention. With miles of white sand, crystal clear green-blue water and views over Castaway island Taransay, it’s not difficult to understand why Luskentyre Beach has been voted one of the best beaches in the World. For a small fee take your pick from one of the designated beach side camping spots, all with uninterrupted 5* views. If you’re lucky enough to have someone to drop you off on the main beach at Seilebost, I can highly recommend paddling into Luskntyre on the high tide. It is an experience I will never ever forget.
5. Barra Airport
Set in the rugged landscape of the smallest of the Hebridean Islands, Barra airport claims to be the only airport in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway. Limited to taking off and landing during low tide there are only a couple fo flights each day on Barra. We hear flying in on the Loganair flight is an unforgettable experience but we were quite content standing with the small collection of onlookers watching the beach landing from Barras tiny, quirky airport. Especially since we’d just enjoyed a sausage bap from the little airport cafe.
We absolutely loved our time on these enchanting Islands but towards the end of our journey island fever began to creep in. We were excited to get back to the mainland and head to the mountains in Glen Coe, after all we are happiest in the mountains. If you love beaches, peace and quiet and wild rugged landscapes then a trip to the Outer Hebrides needs to be added to your Scotland bucket list right now.
Head to our You Tube page to watch the video of our Hebridean Adventure.