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6 day driving tour of Outer Hebrides (not Skye)

6 day driving tour of Outer Hebrides (not Skye)

Sep 29th, 2010, 01:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
So, moving north, you get to my favourite of the lot (so far- not been to Lewis or Harris yet). North Uist.

It's lovely, and has eagles. And corncrakes (well so do the others have corncrakes, but not such GOOD corncrakes). Lots of nice things to see and do.

At the pierhead at Lochmaddy you will find Taigh Chearsabghagh Museum and Arts Centre which is well worth a visit and is a great place to get a bowl of soup if you're freezing cold.

There's lots of good history. The Trinity temple is a mediaeval church. There's a chambered cairn at Langass, and a stone circle nearby. The island was pretty much "cleared" in the 19th century (as was South Uist) and the history of that is poignant in the extreme. The RSPB- the UK's Audobon- has a big reserve at Balranald which will be at its best in May, and the machair along the western beaches will be stunning. I like the Lochmaddy hotel and the Carinish Inn, and although I've never made to the Langass Lodge it gets a good name.

If you get a chance to go to a ceilidh, grab it.

You can get the ferry from Lochmaddy to Uig, but I counsel the other route north.
sheila is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 07:29 PM
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Wonderful info & advice. I like my advice peppered with humor (Thanks Shiela). Some answers are: we will be arriving in Stornoway on a Friday, no we haven't booked a car yet but if we do as planned and drive the round trip we will rent from the very nice man at Lewis Car Rentals. His name is Donald & he has been very generous with information. I recommend him to all others as well.
& Zippo, thanks for the puffin tip. I am sorry now that we didn't allot more time for the Western Isles. Ah well, such is iife. We will just have to go back. I am a neolithic junky and feel those stones to my bones. The Ring of Brodgar in the Orkneys is my favorite place on the planet. So on to Callanish.
mudlush is offline  
Oct 4th, 2010, 06:07 AM
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I'd lost this one, in the heat of battle.

So onto Berneray. My sister-in-law's family comes from Berneray and my brother has a wee house there for holidays.

I was going to tell you all about it, but basically it's all on the Berneray web site


The one thing I would add is that the West Beach is very special.
sheila is offline  
Oct 5th, 2010, 02:33 AM
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So, on to Harris. You have a choice of two routes. You can go back to Lochmaddy and take the boat to Uig or take the little boat from Berneray to Leverburgh.

Again, I'm not acquainted with Harris but it's high on my list of places to visit. The things I want to see are the hills- ie scenery- Scarista beach (I'd like to stay at Scarista House, but I'd have to win the Lottery first).

Leverburgh, because of its history with Lord Leverburgh is really interesting

In 1919 William Leverhulme purchased the South Harris estate from the Earl of Dunmore for the sum of £36,000. He planned to turn it into a fishing centre and, with this in mind, he purchased what was to be his first shop in a chain of fish shops throughout the UK. A total of 400 shops were purchased and they were given the corporate identity`Mac Fisheries`.

In December 1920, with the backing of the local people the village of Obbe was officially renamed `Leverburgh`. Within weeks of this work began on the pier and surrounding area , over 300 men, local, from Lewis and Uist were involved in preparing the site. A stone pier, with two wooden piers which would provide enough room for fifty herring drifters to berth, was constructed, and an accommodation block, curing sheds, smoke houses and a refrigeration building were all erected. Work huts ,store sheds and a twenty car garage added to this development and houses were built for his team of managers. He had planned a second phase of development that would have seen the inner sea loch converted into a harbour that would take up to two hundred boats, and a channel was to be blasted between the inner loch and the open sea and fitted with lock-gates to maintain a constant depth of twenty-five feet of water in the inner sea loch.

He offered the local crofters free help and advice to improve their homes and the roads were upgraded to withstand the volume of increased traffic. With the economic decline of 1920 -21 Lord Leverhulme's project suffered with some of the work having to cease and men were laid off. But by 1924 Leverburgh was ready to receive its first landing of herring. Twelve Great Yarmouth registered drifters landed a quantity of herring that was so great that extra girls were taken in from the mainland to handle the catch.

Lord Leverhulme made his final visit to the Western Isles in September 1924. After returning from a trip through Africa, he developed pneumonia and died in 1925 in Hampstead. When the news reached Harris the sirens were sounded on Leverburgh pier and the workforce stopped work immediately.

Since his executors and the Board of Lever Brothers had no interest in the Leverburgh project they ordered the work to cease and the work force was laid off. They put the South Harris Estate up for sale and in October 1925 the pier site at Leverburgh was sold for £5,000 and the 33,000 acres of land in South Harris sold for a mere £900.
sheila is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 01:21 AM
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And lastly Lewis and Puffins

I have to say I have no great desire to go to Lewis. It's reputation for Wee Free austerity doe not warm the cockles of my heart.

However it does have Callanish which I've wanted to see for decades, and the Flannan Lighthouse (you should read the story before you go).

For puffins, I think the absolute best would be a boat trip to Shiants


or the cliffs at the Butt of Lewis.

I'm now going to try to solve your car hire problem
sheila is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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Sheila, where does one find the story of the Flannan Lighthouse?
hopingtotravel is offline  
Oct 8th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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Spooky and sad. Thanks Janis.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 07:28 AM
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Mudlush, I have found you something on the transport stuff. I have not completely struck out on straightforward car hire; but I have found someone who will definitely do it, but as part of a bigger package.


I spoke to them; they don't do the car on its own, but would probably want to package the flights and the accommodation for you. They are not tied to who they use; so you could be in B&Bs or posh hotels.

They don't have prices for next year yet; but I think you might well have a wee browse of their web site and maybe speak to them?

the girl was really really helpful when I called.

If you don't want to do that, I'll hit the phones again and see if I can sort something out.
sheila is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 08:08 AM
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For Lewis you might enjoy a trip to Arnol and the Blackhouse Museum which offers an excelllent example of one of Scotland's blackhouses. The thatched longhouses go back almost a thousand years, many were still in use until the 1960's. At Siabost (Shawbost) is a charming folk museum which was originally a children's school project but gives a wonderful look into local life and culture. Another place that's well worth visiting and close to Callanish is the Doune Carloway Broch and Vistor Centre. It is an exceptionally well-preserved building of 2000 year-old dry stone.

Just a few miles east of Leverburgh is Rodel and the 12th century St. Clement's Church. It's impressive both in its location and in its architecture especially the tower and the wonderful carved tombs inside.
historytraveler is online now  
Oct 30th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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My local correspondent from Lewis says you should stay in the Hebridean Hotel in Tarbert, or at least eat there. he also says you MUST visit Carloway Broch.
sheila is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Topping this excellent thread in the hopes Sheila, janisj or others will update. We are making a similar journey this summer on a Hopscotch ticket starting in Barra, and traveling to Stornoway and back to Ullapool. What I'm struggling with is the pacing of this trip - a week, two? I know - it depends on what we want to do! We are early 60s, not much on hiking but short walks are fine, love driving, boat trips, great food and whiskies, meeting local people and most of all, access to local music. We'd like to stay 2-3 days in most places; does it make sense to stay on S. Uist AND N.Uist? Recommended month June or July? Does it matter for weather, crowds? We have seen note of a number of music fests in July, but have also read they tend to be for the 'youth culture' - we go to these routinely in the US but our Woodstock days are behind us for sure - comments? And finally, should I assume these beautiful beaches are wonderful to look at and maybe sit on, but not for swimming? Thanks to all,
oliverandharry is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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olivernandharry, the older posts have a great deal of excellent information, but I think you'd do better if you started your own.

Many of the same posters are still around and will be very helpful. To answer a few questions...you'll seldom see crowds in the Outer Hebrides. Not sure it makes much difference as to either June or July. I've never been swimming on any of the beaches...too cold for me.Sorry can't comment on the music fests.

Please start your own post. I think you'll get all the answers you seek and a great deal of valuable information. Still have a few thoughts of my own but need to run for now.
historytraveler is online now  
Sep 24th, 2012, 11:26 AM
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And the counter point of view.
I am delighted that this has been resurrected as only last night we were turning our thoughts to the Outer Hebrides next May.
This is rather like reading an old guidebook as the sights will not have gone and in a thread this length there is enough information to allow me to make a (reasoned?) decision as to whether I want to go.
Now we move forward to find utd info on accomodation and eating.
Thank you oliverandharry.
Frances is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 04:23 PM
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Did any of you do this journey?
deladeb is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 04:41 PM
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So maybe you are topping every thread w/ Hebrides in the title?
janisj is online now  
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