- A fantastic journey by bike through the Outer Hebrides
- Seven unspoilt islands
- Great trails and exciting boat rides
- Awesome scenery, wild hills and clean white beaches
- Great food, hospitality and malt whisky!
- History, culture and wildlife
The combination of biking, boating and stunning scenery would be enough for a top day. Add on the sharks, dolphins, puffins and seals and we had an unforgettable one!
We meet early on Sunday in order to transfer up to the ferry, from the important fishing hub of Mallaig to Lochboisdale on South Uist. Arriving into Lochboisdale in the late evening we have a short transfer (20 minutes)to reach our first nights accommodation out on the west coast of the island.
The crossing to the Outer Hebrides signals the start of the journey as we sail through spectacular island scenery with good marine wildlife spotting potential around the Small Isles of Rùm and Canna.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 530 Metres
After breakfast we spend some time getting the bikes set up for the ride ahead. The start of the Hebridean Trail follows the west coast of South Uist through the delightful coastal flower meadows called machair. The trail runs for approximately 30km right the way up the west coast of the island which is defined by its beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise seas.
From the north of the island we head inland and follow the ‘main’ road (i.e. more sheep than cars) across the causeways to the tiny island of Benbecula and then to the island of North Uist. Depending on the tide, the causeways have excellent otter spotting opportunities.
Our destination for the evening is Lochmaddy on North Uist’s east coast.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 940 Metres
Riding north from Lochmaddy, we follow the coast road to Berneray where we take the short ferry across the Sound of Harris to Leverburgh. On arrival on the Isle of Harris you will see an immediate change in the landscape with bold mountains dominating the west coast.
Harris is arguably the jewel in the crown of the Outer Hebrides with its stunning beaches and rugged mountains. From Leverburgh we follow the west coast road with incredible views (on clear days, the World Heritage Site of St Kilda can be seen 40 miles offshore) before heading off road for an introduction to mountain biking – Hebridean Style. Taking a series of ancient “coffin roads“, we spend the afternoon riding some fine singletrack through a landscape of a 1000 lochans.
One final road descent takes us to the charming village of Tarbert where will we stay for the next two nights in a stylish 4* hotel.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1010 Metres
Today we visit the neighboring Isle of Scalpay, or Scalpay of Harris, with its strong fishing community and a historic lighthouse built by Stevenson back in the 18th Century. The island is peppered with lochans, some with their own islands! We take our lunch toward the south of the island near the coast.
After lunch we head back onto Harris, and ride a loop northward taking in Lochannan Lacasdail and some wild, ancient singletrack. At the end of the day we return to our hotel in Tarbert for a second night.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1200 Metres
An unforgettable day of island adventure as we combine mountain bikes with a couple of short boat rides by RIB to open up the otherwise inaccessible west coast of Harris and the Isle of Lewis.
This day is sure to be one of the highlights of the trip as we head into remote and wild country. In the middle of nowhere we rendezvous with a RIB which transfers us across a sea loch to the west coast of Lewis.
Once on the Isle of Lewis, we follow a trail through a dramatic glen, flanked by spectacular peaks on either side, before descending back to the coast and rejoining the RIB for a final ride to the Standing Stones of Callanish. This mysterious stone circle is over 5000 years old and a remarkable place to visit, especially in the evening when it is usually deserted. Our overnight guest house accommodation is nearby.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 590 Metres
Our final day follows the west coast of Lewis and is full of historical and cultural interest. Heading north, we soon pass the ancient Dun Carloway Broch and then the Blackhouse Village at Gearrannan which offers an insight into what island living was like not so many years ago.
For the next 20km we switch between coastal trail and road as we edge nearer to the end of our island journey. An impossible to miss feature on our final push is the Whalebone Arch, recovered from a huge whale washed up on a nearby beach. A turning in the road to the west signals the last few km. Perched on the Atlantic at the very edge of Europe, the Butt of Lewis is a spectacular and fitting place to end our Hebridean Trail.
After celebratory drinks, we head back to our accommodation at Callinish for our final night on the islands.
- Meals: Breakfast
Following a leisurely breakfast we will head back to Tarbert to catch the ferry over to Uig on the Isle of Skye (approximately 1.5 hours). There will be an opportunity to pick up some last minute souvenirs in Tarbert, maybe some genuine Harris Tweed or local artwork.
After arriving at Uig we transfer you back to Glasgow Airport for our final farewell, when you will hop on a plane, or extend your holiday. This is an amazing drive with breathtaking scenery on all sides, allowing you a few more photo opportunities before we say goodbye!
The first part of the trip is largely flat and on sandy terrain but as we head north to the Islands of Harris and Lewis, the trails become increasingly harder and hilly. This trip is only suitable for mountain bikes with a wide range of gears, front suspension and disc brakes. A lower tread tyre will make the road sections easier but be prepared for some challenges on the rocky trails of Harris and Lewis!
In terms of distance, the trip totals 336 km /209 miles and this breaks down into 60% on road and 40% off road. Day 3 offers the more technical day of riding of this trip with some steep ascents/descents and some rocky trails.
Mountain Biking Grade
Distances of 25-50 miles / 40-80 kms per day
Aimed at regular cyclists who have a degree of off road experience
Some moderate and difficult technical sections
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
If you have some experience of off road riding on a variety of terrain, and would like to do more, a grade 3 trip could be for you. These rides give you elements of our higher grade trips but at a manageable level with sections of singletrack (narrow trails wide enough for one rider) and shorter steep sections (both up and down) which require more bike handling ability. A day’s ride can see you on the trails for around 8 hours (with breaks) and covering between 25-50 miles depending on the terrain. If you’re generally fit and manage to ride regularly this could be the level for you.
Our guides were not just cycling guides, they made sure we saw all the sights and told us about interesting information about them and made sure we enjoyed every moment!
Dates & Prices
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Shared twin (or double) room in B&Bs or hotels (usually en suite)
B) Full tour service including a guide qualified in First Aid and a back up vehicle carrying spares, snacks and extra equipment not needed on your bike
C) Breakfast, full buffet style picnic lunches, en route refreshments including a selection of hot and cold drinks
D) Pick up and drop off at Glasgow International Airport (GLA)
E) All ferry & local boat services
What's not Included
A) Personal clothing and equipment
B) Travel insurance
C) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.
D) Bike & helmet rental (available if required)
E) Travel or flight costs and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
F) Single room option (may be available if required)
G) Entrance fees to cultural or historical sites and visitor centres
H) Other optional activities
Hebridean Explorer, Scotland
Discover the awe-inspiring and far-reaching Western Isles, where coastal adventures and seldom-ridden routes await...
Tales from the Outer Hebrides
Regular Skedaddlers, Sharon and John Deaves, head to Scotland for a spot of island hopping in Scotland with us...
Susan, CanadaHard to pick my favourite day!
Hard to pick my favourite day as they were all memorable and I liked them all. The ‘big’ day (5) was VERY memorable and wonderful. Day 1 was a beauty and remoteness enhanced. Day 3 was also pure fun through the rolling hills of heather. The lodge in Laggen was extra extra special with some of the best food I have ever had and way better than the food we had in Paris the week prior! The Altnaharra also had Exceptional food.
Eric, SwitzerlandMost likely I'll do the Hebridean Explorer trip again next year!
I’m always pleasantly surprised to see how Skedaddle manage to find and secure very suitable and comfortable accommodation in some rather remote places. I have experienced the opposite from other bike adventure tour organisers in very salubrious countries – eg. Switzerland. Well done SS!!
As we are return ‘offenders’ to Saddle Skedaddle trips, we know the refreshments, and especially the picnic lunches, are legendary :-)) Feeding myself during a long day in the saddle is always a bit of a mission, I tend to ‘forget’ until it’s too late. But with the frequent food & drinks stops this problem is erased. The presentation is always splendid, fresh and quite frankly just yummy!!
Given the somewhat limited possibilities available on the Western Isles Skedaddle have picked out the best there is and, from this short impression of the Hebrides, cannot imagine that there is room for improvement. I think for a level 2 / 3 tour it’s as perfect as can be.
Being on tour with Steve is always very entertaining, and he certainly keeps one on your toes – I mean from the whiplash repartee that goes on all the time. Added to this he is very knowledgeable about the history and culture of the region.
This was the 1st time I’ve been on tour with Tony, and I certainly hope it was not the last time!! A fine guide with a good sense of how to subtly encourage a not-so-strong biker into achieving far more than he/she thought themselves capable of! I know Tony & Steve have a verrry long track record of guiding together & it shows in their easy going and yet professional execution of their responsibilities.
Most likely I’ll do the Hebridean Explorer trip again next year.
Day 4 was my favourite day. The combination of biking, boating and stunning scenery would be enough for a top day. Add on the sharks, dolphins, puffins and seals and we had an unforgettable one!
Ian, Hertfordshire, UKIs there nothing Skedaddle cannot do?
Day 4 in particular was our favourite, the variety of riding, differing terrains, stops and the rib rides were all terrific. And how on earth did Skedaddle arrange the varying weather conditions culminating in glorious sunshine. Is there nothing you guys cannot do?!
All of the days provided different challenges with variety, concluding with a more relaxed day in the saddle with a few more sightseeing stops. Almost perfect in my opinion! The guides were all friendly and extremely helpful throughout and the tour leader had very clear instructions on and off the road, with the riders safety paramount in his mind.
The pre holiday service was very good, we received all the info required, and the pre-holiday phone call and email from Skedaddle was a nice personal touch, very reassuring.
Miles, Surrey, UKAn unforgettable trip!
Thank you for a unique and wonderful tour of the Outer Hebrides! A magical trip in which changed every day. From the birds, seals, otters and other wildlife in South Uist to scenic Lochmaddy with its numerous Lochans. A ferry trip progressed us to Harris with its sweeping hills and valleys with stunning singletrack accompanied by Sea Eagles aloft. Moving North, high mountain passes took us across to Lewis by boat and bike and the ancient stones of Callinish. History and culture followed with Brochs, Blackhouses and weavers cottages before a final tour across moorland to the Butt of Lewis, cliffs and more sealife. Great weather, good company and super guides made this an unforgettable trip!
Christine, North Yorkshire, UKI have always wanted to see the Western Isles...
I have always wanted to see the Western Isles & the combination of ferry, inflatable boat, on-road, off-road and travel in the Saddle-Skedaddle van was perfect to experience the variety of scenery, historic features, island culture, bird and sea life, and something of ordinary life in Outer Hebrides. It was an adventure and challenge for both my husband and I, and would have been impossible without the support from the other cyclists and the S-S guides. The weather & prevailing wind certainly helped too!
Travel arrangements were good; briefings as needed; good rapport between the guides and cycling group. Technical and mechanical assistance freely & willingly given. Four very understanding & patient guides. Not hassling those of us riding at the back but always encouraging when needed. Guides who obviously love the outdoors, cycling and sharing their experiences. Guides who know the hoteliers; local weaver; historic and local features – be it community hall lunch or distillery. And knowing which lay by or rest place is best for the next “catch-up” Enjoyed the mix of accommodation; B&B + hotel; and welcomed the two-night stops. The snacks and lunches provided from the S-S “refreshment” van were excellent; plenty of variety and well presented. Loved the salads.
My favourite day was probably on the Isle of Harris with its coastline contrast from west to east; golden road; the “hidden” modern homes; and the mountain bike bridge and hill challenge. The South Uist sand dunes were also a marvellous introduction to what was to come. The impromptu music group on Mallaig ferry crossing helped to set the scene. Other highlights were yoga on the sand dunes; challenge of blowing the post horn. The pre holiday information was always sufficient to help make decisions, and the office staff were understanding and answering any queries.
I’d definitely say that this holiday was good value for money when you see the level of support S-S provide during the week and the standard of accommodation!
Sandra, Hampshire, UKMagnificent guides...
This holiday was a brilliant way to see the Western Isles. There was something for the roady as well as us off roaders. I love the idea of our luggage being taken to the next destination. Our guides were not just cycling guides, they made sure we saw all the sights and told us about interesting information about them and made sure we enjoyed every moment. They supplied good nourishing food on the way and we had really good quality hotel accommodation.
David, Isle of ManWith Skedaddle I am paying for the best!
I feel I pay more for a Skedaddle holiday than I might with a competitor, but although I have not used anyone else, the standards I see in accommodation, the guides and the care provided by Skedaddle make me feel I am paying for the best.
The guides worked very well together, anticipating our needs and providing what was necessary. Also they talked to us and found out what we wanted and did their best to ensure we got what we wanted. Very reassuring on the day the RIB was cancelled, they had numerous fallback plans rather than rely on something and hope.
Michael, GermanyGuides were professional. knowledgeable and entertaining
Our tour guide Steve was professional, knowledgeable and entertaining. The lunches were excellent too!
Robert, UKA holiday I will always remember!
Steve as I’m sure you know is a fantastic tour leader. Clearly he and the other guides did a tremendous amount of work much of it we didn’t see or didn’t notice simply because the trip ran so seamlessly. He made it a great trip.
Tony and Charlie were wonderful guides too. They were kind, personable, wonderfully enthusiastic, and as with my comment above clearly worked very hard to make it a great trip. They made me feel so welcome on the trip, which particularly helped me as I was travelling solo. Together with Steve I can’t imagine any better guides to have. Though the Outer Hebrides are beautiful and the cycling was great it was Steve, Tony, Charlie and the other clients that made it a holiday that I’ll always remember.