Driving the Outer Hebrides

Sep 24th, 2012, 11:34 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Driving the Outer Hebrides

Topped an excellent thread from 2010 with this info but it's been suggested I start a new one. Didn't want to look as tho I didn't do my homework!! Traveling June or July - this is a piece of a much longer trip in Scotland, but we will have a Hopscotch CalMac ticket and will travel Barra to Stornoway (then back to Ullapool) with our own rental car the entire time. 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, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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My son in law worked in archaeological digs in North Uist for several summers. I have seen a photograph of him literally covered with midges, so thickly that you could not see his skin.

I believe that June is midge time. I would not go to the Hebrides during midge season. Perhaps others can add.
Ackislander is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 03:32 PM
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Midge season usually runs from June through August. I've been in Scotland during the summer when I never came across a midge. Whether a real factor or not depends on the weather,including the weather prior to midge season and during. They like wet spots and damp, but not wind. I certainly wouldn't let it affect my plans...a bit like not going to Scotland because it might rain a lot.Just be prepared.

There are a number of things you can do if you find yourself in a bad midge season. Plenty of lotion and potions and covering yourself with long sleeves even of a light weight material will help.

There is a great deal of information regarding the midge if you google it. I think there's even a website on midge forecasting.

Back to your questions, I think a week is a bit short especially if planning to spend a couple of days in several places. I'd plan on at least ten days to two weeks.

I personaly think there is plenty to keep you busy for several days on each of the islands. In addition, Lewis and Harris could easily take up three to four days. For Harris I would strongly suggest you do a loop around it since the geography is very different on each side.Both beautiful.
historytraveler is online now  
Sep 24th, 2012, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 59
I was on the Isle of Skye one September and encountered midges during one day of my trip. I would NEVER knowingly travel to a region that had a midge problem.

I have seen that website on midge forecasting. I would follow it and if the destination I had chosen was forecast to have a bad midge problem during the time I had planned to be there, I would change my plans for sure.

It may be that I am more prone to itching after bitten, but it was also just plain awful to have those tiny bugs flying into my eyes and getting in my ears, up my nose and down my shirt collar. Not at all like rain.
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 04:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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I'd do June. Scottish and English schools are still in term. Roads are a little quieter and the days are at their longest.

Midges can be a pain but avoid venturing out near still water or boggy shady areas and around sunrise and sunset and you'll have few problems. Bearing in mind sunrise at that time of year is around 4:30 AM and sunset after 10PM. Any breeze over 4 to 5 mph also stops them flying. Avons Skin So Soft and standard insect repellents work well too.

There a opportunities for boat trips all over the NW Highlands and Islands. Absolutely fantastic for wildlife spotting, the beaches are wonderful and there's a huge amount to see and do across the islands.
Weegie is offline  

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