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Outer Hebrides

I've just booked an island-hopping week in September, including Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist and Barra. Have any Lifers been there? Any recommendations?

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  • Hope wee Nicola let’s you in - she’d rather you didn’t cross the border..
  • I've just booked an island-hopping week in September, including Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist and Barra. Have any Lifers been there? Any recommendations?
    An alarming number of people who go there are never seen again!
  • I've just booked an island-hopping week in September, including Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist and Barra. Have any Lifers been there? Any recommendations?
    Don't swim it.
  • I went to Harris for a week in July 2019. The heatwave didn't make it up there!

    Recommendations:
    Beaches - Luskentyre, Scarista, Traigh Mhor
    Walks - Eilean Glas lighthouse (we were very limited with a 9 week old in tow!)
    Attractions - Harris Gin distillery, Harris Tweed Museum, Callanish Stones
    Restaurants - North Harbour Bistro, An Traigh Café
  • Yes, many times.  Quite simply one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

    Harris is incredible, white sand, blue sea and mountains; stunning beaches, which you often have to yourselves.  Not been there for a while, but want to go back there sooner, rather than later. Lewis very interesting, not least the Stones of Callenish, Butt of Lewis and the wonderful town of Stornaway... there used to be a friendly seal that lived in the harbour that was a local celebrity IIRC.

    Have island hopped around the inner Hebrides many times; having a Calmac season ticket meaning you can just come and go as you please makes for a fantastic holiday, especially if you like your wildlife.

    There will always be a piece of my heart in the Hebrides; you've made me jealous now, I want to go there too!

    Have a fantastic time, I'm sure you will.
    I’d go but there’s isn’t a Nandos.
  • edited June 10
    I've just booked an island-hopping week in September, including Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist and Barra. Have any Lifers been there? Any recommendations?
    I've been multiple times and have extensively explored the islands. 

    Have you decided how much time you would like to spend on each island? Bara, Benbecular and the Uist's are nice, but there is a lot more to see on Lewis/Harris. If you have seven nights I would probably go for a 2/5 split, but it depends what you like doing.

    Have you decided if you getting the Oban > Castlebay or the Ullapool > Stornoway ferry?

    My record time from London to Ullapool is just under ten hours, stopping only at Carlisle for fuel. The ferry times are super limited, so getting the drive right is key. Oban lovey and there is very little to do in Ullapool.
  • I've just booked an island-hopping week in September, including Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist and Barra. Have any Lifers been there? Any recommendations?
    You'll miss some home games.  Still, more room to lean back a bit for those who sit in front of you.

    We were able to watch Harris v Lewis when we were there.  The standard was about as good as you might expect.  And the ball ended up in the sea more than once.

    The Callanish standing stones are extraordinary.  But it will be wild nights in Stornoway for you as there is a bit of a music scene.  More folk than prog rock, though. 
  • I've been further north, to the remote Shetlands with Ann Cleeves.  Basically, there are more murders per capita than Midsomer, you need to be careful!
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  • I've just booked an island-hopping week in September, including Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist and Barra. Have any Lifers been there? Any recommendations?
    Have never been and have no advice to give. It sounds fantastic though. Hope you have a great time.
  • I've been further north, to the remote Shetlands with Ann Cleeves.  Basically, there are more murders per capita than Midsomer, you need to be careful!
    You'll be safe on Lewis, only the one murder since the 1960s.
  • I've been further north, to the remote Shetlands with Ann Cleeves.  Basically, there are more murders per capita than Midsomer, you need to be careful!
    Shetland and the Hebrides are pretty far apart! 
  • se9addick said:
    I've been further north, to the remote Shetlands with Ann Cleeves.  Basically, there are more murders per capita than Midsomer, you need to be careful!
    Shetland and the Hebrides are pretty far apart! 
    Yeah ... true.
  • Take some anti midge spray with you. I have been and they can be very annoying when walking.
  • Take some anti midge spray with you. I have been and they can be very annoying when walking.
    Smidge is good.
  • PopIcon said:
    I've been further north, to the remote Shetlands with Ann Cleeves.  Basically, there are more murders per capita than Midsomer, you need to be careful!
    You'll be safe on Lewis, only the one murder since the 1960s.
    It's about time they had another one then
  • Did a week self catering in Uist for a fishing break which was great. Spent evenings in local hotel, but bars few and far between.  

    If you want to find catering that goes much beyond burger and chips it takes some finding but local produce can be found in occasional roadside stores. 

    "Superstore" serving the island's needs was a rusty old nissan hut selling everything from bricks to frozen peas. Found phone number in local directory and phoned up to check if they had a CR2023 battery I needed after my car key fob went dead (dropped it in the loch). Was amazed when store manager said he would deliver it to me as I couldn't drive over to collect it. Driver turned up an hour later in a 10 ton truck to deliver a £2 battery! It's a different World.


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  • PopIcon said:
    I've just booked an island-hopping week in September, including Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist and Barra. Have any Lifers been there? Any recommendations?
    I've been multiple times and have extensively explored the islands. 

    Have you decided how much time you would like to spend on each island? Bara, Benbecular and the Uist's are nice, but there is a lot more to see on Lewis/Harris. If you have seven nights I would probably go for a 2/5 split, but it depends what you like doing.

    Have you decided if you getting the Oban > Castlebay or the Ullapool > Stornoway ferry?

    My record time from London to Ullapool is just under ten hours, stopping only at Carlisle for fuel. The ferry times are super limited, so getting the drive right is key. Oban lovey and there is very little to do in Ullapool.
    One of the best UK holidays I’ve had in recent years was a week in a log cabin in Oban, including a day trip to Mull using the ferry. Beautiful part of Scotland and the drive from Edinburgh to Oban through the national park is special too. 
  • I've been further north, to the remote Shetlands with Ann Cleeves.  Basically, there are more murders per capita than Midsomer, you need to be careful!
    Been to Shetland 3 times as my Gran was a Shetlander.  It turns out I am related to just about the entire island!
  • Don’t forget to watch the news when you’re up there

    ‘This is the Outer Hebrides Broadcasting Corporation … Calling civilisation’ 



  • edited June 10
    It's not at all like Mykonos but is totally captivating. On a sunny day the beaches rival the Caribbean yet not a sunbed in sight. Probably too chilly to lie on one anyway!

    Midges not that bad in Outer Hebs as there aren't many trees and it tends to be breezy.

    Do book ahead for meals as restaurant capacity is few and far between, especially in current circumstances. And watch out for Sundays when very little is open.

    Enjoy - they are beautiful islands. 
  • My top 10 recommendations in no particular order.
    I tried to group things together for you that were close by. I'm confident that I've covered most things.

    1. Stornoway/Lewis castle/castle grounds (but I would avoid Lewis completely on a Sunday)
    2. Blackhouse Arnol/Whalebone arch/Gearrannan blackhouse village/Callanish Stones/Carloway broch  
    3. Steinacleit/Ballantrushal/Port of Ness/Butt of Lewis/Dun eistean/Eoropie beach
    4. 'bog slog' - Walk from Tolsta to Ness (you might even see some whales, take wellies and don't leave too late)
    5. Air an lot (you might be able to squeeze it in with number 3 or 4, just depends in time)
    6. Abhainn dearg distillery
    7. Harris gin distillery/Luskintyre beach/Loomshed brewery/St Cements church
    8. St Kilda
    9. Scolpaig tower/trinity temple/Barpa langass
    10. Kisimul castle/Barra airport (Its pretty cool as its on a beach), Barra distillery

    There are plenty of wonderful walks, although I would advise staying off the Lewis moor.

    Like someone else mentioned, you will struggle to find a pub outside of main settlements. Below are a few I've been and would recommend.
    Borve House - decent food
    Cross Inn/old bar barn
    Doune Braes (watch out for the sticky carpet)

    The Rangers supporters club down by the harbour shows football. In the unlikely event Charlton are on tele while you are there, they will put it on for you.

    Try the guga, will be in season early Sept.

    In the likely event you cannot go to St Kilda, try and find a boat tour. 

    You might be lucky and catch a local football match although they generally finish at the end of August (Lewis and Harris have their own summer league)

    Avoid the Hebridean brewing company pub next to Tesco, possibly the worse conditioned beer ever!

    Plan your Sunday, much of Lewis and Harris still abide by the Sabbath. Lot's of things will be closed. 

    Due to COVID I haven't been up in almost two years, so 100% check these places are open in advance.
    I've also generally left off museums, the one is the castle will cover most things

    Enjoy, any questions feel free to send me message and I'll be happy to help.
  • Wow, thanks so much for your tips! This feels like the nearest we can get to a foreign holiday.
  • PopIcon said:
    I've been further north, to the remote Shetlands with Ann Cleeves.  Basically, there are more murders per capita than Midsomer, you need to be careful!
    You'll be safe on Lewis, only the one murder since the 1960s.
    That we know of!!!
  • edited June 11


    Lewis gets a mention...
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