Immerse yourself in the Hebrides
Regular customers, Sharon and John Deaves head to Scotland for a spot of island hopping.
Within an hour of being on the Isles, we caught our first glimpse of why we had made this journey. Arriving in darkness to a massive star lit sky, including the Milky Way, it was a beautiful sight.
The following morning we were treated to clear skies and watery millpond reflections. Sea otters and seals played on the rocks for our entertainment, appearing just in time for our flurry of first photographs.
Bikes assembled, we posed for our starting line photograph and we were off on our adventure. Heading north we hugged the coastal path and before us opened up a vista of white sandy beaches. As we island hopped across causeways, from South Uist to Benbecula the ever-changing landscape provided us with fjordsand perfect views, across the sea. To our right we could clearly make out the ridge of the Cuillins, on the distant Isle of Skye. Our final causeway crossing of the day took us onto North Uist and the tranquil port of Lochmaddy, our resting point for the night.
After a short ride to the Isle of Berneray, we boarded the ferry, crossing the sea to the Isle of Harris. From here we followed the aptly named Golden Road, with its miles and miles of golden sands (a real ‘wow factor’) and passed ‘eco-hobbit’ houses built into the banks of this coastal road.
As the mountains grew in front of our eyes, we travelled along one of the island’s ancient ‘Coffin’ roads (our first of off road section). High above golden eagles peered down on us, ensuring we kept to the ‘sketchy’ path. The remainder of the day brimmed with cheeky off-road sections that hugged the coast all the way to Tarbet.
The ride next day was a stunning circular route. An undulating start to the morning gave us a rewarding downhill ride to the village of Maraig and its remote moorland panorama. We whooped our way back down through the valley, lunched on the Isle of Scalpay with its small fishing community, and then grabbed the coastal road back to Tarbet.
Saying farewell to Tarbet via a picturesque valley we transferred to the Isle of Lewis and the quicksands of Traigh Uuige. Following closely our guide, we all safely made our way across to pick up our RIB for the afternoon’s crossing to the Calanais Standing Stones. With bikes safely aboard. The captain enthralled us with local history and stories of yesteryear before the fun really started as we sped across the water. Back on dry land, at the solitude of the standing stones only a short ride separated us from our accommodation.
As we set out on our final day’s ride, a morning of great interest was awaiting us. A few pedal strokes down the road was one of Scotland’s finest Iron Age structures – known as a Broch. This dwelling place, for the principle family in the area, dated back some 2300 years and was a privilege to be able to see.
Continuing our journey we explored the restored black-house village of Gearrannan, abandoned in 1974. As we headed further north, the landscape dramatically changed from mountainous valleys to rolling hills with massive open blue skies. We passed through several village communities, whose inhabitants greeted us with waves and broad smiles. After a sneaky ice cream at Port Ness, the final leg of this fantastic journey took us to the Butt of Lewis lighthouse where the finest Skedaddle cava awaited. Our onward transfer back to the hotel was one of reflection, including a forfeit quiz about our adventure. Note to self…our guides have truly researched their facts, you can’t bluff “We whooped our way back down through the valley…” your way through!! So, our final night of wonderful hospitality, much giggling and a wee dram or two brought this fine holiday to a close.
As we said farewell to the sunny Isles, we sailed from Tarbet to Uig on the Isle of Skye. Our onward transfer back to Fort William / Oban, was through beautiful countryside. Our guides enlightening us with facts about the region, and other Skedaddle Scottish holidays…yes, the Highlands Coast to Coast is well and truly next on our agenda! This truly was the holiday with miles of smiles…can’t wait for the next one.
For more about our Hebridean Explorer Mountain biking tour – click here