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United Kingdom

Scotland - Hebridean Way

Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

7 days

Prices from

$2,950 P.P.

E-BIKE HIRE AVAILABLE

This tour is well-suited to both normal bikes and pedal assist e-bikes and you can choose to hire either when you book your tour with us. Confident cyclists will enjoy the boost from a battery for those cheeky climbs, and with less effort required on the bike, you’ll have more energy at the end of the day for off-the-bike activities. You may choose to hire an e-bike on a group or supported tour but bear in mind that the pace will be set to riders without an e-bike.

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The remote and spectacular Outer Hebrides have always been a lure to cyclists seeking out tranquil roads, stunning views and ancient history. This is a place of incredible white sand beaches, turquoise seas, flower strewn meadows, rocky shorelines, awe-inspiring views and peace and tranquillity.
With Gaelic as the first language, the Outer Hebrides still retains a culture distinct from the rest of Scotland. Here you'll find a sense of pride and tradition which make the region a remarkable and unforgettable place to visit.
After time on the Isles of Barra and Vatersay, our journey heads north using ferries and causeways to hop between the islands of Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Berneray, Harris and Lewis before we end on the Atlantic Coast at the Butt of Lewis.
The trip offers the unique opportunity to experience life on the islands, where the landscapes are wild and untamed, wildlife flourishes, and human history dates back over 5000 years. Highlights along the way include the Blackhouse Village at Gearrannan, the Standing Stones of Callanish, Luskentyre Beach, and bends of The Golden Road.
Our hand-picked accommodation all offer a warm welcome after a day on the bike with evening meals either taken here or at a nearby pub or restaurant.
This trip takes place entirely on well-surfaced sealed roads and is suitable for all bike types. Should you prefer off-road sections when exploring the area with us, then our Hebridean Explorer would be more suitable for your style of riding.
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Highlights

  • Riding along the Golden Road
  • Miles and miles of picture-perfect white sand beaches
  • Enjoying a wee dram at the Gin Distillery at Tarbert
  • Seeing the traditional weaving of Harris Tweed
  • Views of Luskentyre Beach over a delicious picnic lunch
  • Visiting Dun Carloway Broch
  • The awe inspiring Callanish Standing Stones

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Itinerary

Day 1
Ferry to South Uist
Non Cycling Day

The group meet-up at Balloch in order to transfer to the ferry that leaves from the bustling fishing hub of Mallaig to Lochboisdale on South Uist. Arriving into Lochboisdale in the evening, we have a short transfer (20 minutes) to reach our 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.

Day 2
Loop Ride of Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay
49 Miles / 78 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 900 Metres Approx.

Heading out from our accommodation in Dalibugh, South Uist, we’ve around 10 miles until we reach the ferry at Eriskay (reached by a causeway from South Uist) for our crossing (40 minutes) to the island of Barra. The magical island of Eriskay is only 3 miles long and is where in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on his way to his disastrous defeat at Culloden.

In fine weather, the ferry ride across the Sound of Barra affords great views of the offshore islands including Eilean Leathan immediately to the south of Eriskay. You might catch a glimpse of the ruin of Caisteal an Reubadair- the home of notorious pirate MacNeil. During the ride, you’ll be treated to deep incut sea lochs, rolling hills, and lovely white sandy beaches as we explore the island. Our loop ride is around 25 miles and serves as a great introduction to your time in the Hebrides. Our planned lunch-stop comes at the mid-point of the ride and is taken at Vatersay beach. Connected to Barra by a causeway, Vatersay was home to the famed Vatersay Raiders who rose-up against Lady Gordon Cathcart, their absent wealthy landlady. We’ll also slot in some time to take in Barra “Airport” where you can see planes landing on the beach!!

Our day ends with the ferry back to Eriskay before retracing our pedal strokes back to Dalibugh. Depending on ferry schedules and/or the group’s progress, the return to our accommodation may be via our support vehicle.

Day 3
South Uist to Lochmaddy
64 Miles / 103 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 460 Metres Approx.

Heading northwards, our initial riding brings us through the watery landscape of South Uist, taking in Howmore before we cross over to the “Mountain of the Ford” Benbecula. So named as in the past crossing the Uists involved fording dangerous stretches of sand at low tide. Thankfully, today the islands are connected by a series of causeways which are all bikeable.

Our next island to tick off is North Uist where just after the village of Claddach Kirkibost, we take the minor roads that will eventually bring us to Lochmaddy where we stay for the evening. For those who still have some energy in the legs, the final section can be extended by a further 7 miles along the coastal road.

Day 4
Lochmaddy to Tarbert
47 Miles / 76 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 750 Metres Approx.

Leaving Lochmaddy, we set our sights on Tarbert as we continue our route through these wonderful islands. Riding north, we follow the coast road to the Isle of Berneray, yet another place rich in wildlife and history. It’s here that we take the short ferry across the Sound of Harris to Leverburgh. The crossing offers good opportunities to see seals basking on the skerries (tiny rocky islands) as well as many different types of seabirds.

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 may be seen 40 miles offshore. Highlights here include Luskentyre Beach and bends of The Golden Road – a winding singletrack route through rocky east coast. Our ride ends with a great descent to the charming village of Tarbert where a stylish 4* hotel will be our base for the night. Tarbert is the main port on the Isle of Harris with plenty of places to buy world famous Harris Tweed products and with a great range of places to choose from for our evening meal.

Day 5
Tarbert to Callanish
45 Miles / 72 Km Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 860 Metres Approx.

Another superb day on the bike – whilst taking on the ‘cheeky climbs’ through the hills of North Harris may be challenging at times, the views are superb throughout and your reward for your efforts is an exhilarating descent back down to sea level. This area is also a great place to look for both Golden and even White-Tailed Eagles along the steep cliffs of Loch Seaforth.

Once over on Lewis, we make sure there is plenty of time to check out the Standing Stones of Callanish near Loch Roag. This mysterious stone circle dates back over 5000 years and is a remarkable place to visit, especially in the late afternoon when it is usually deserted. Our overnight hotel accommodation is only a handful of miles from the stones and is where we’ll take our evening meal tonight. Should there be time, we also hope to schedule in a visit to the weavers at Leurbost

Day 6
Callanish to the Butt of Lewis
36 Miles / 58 Kms Appprox.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 530 Metres Approx.

Our final day of riding as we head-up to the Butt of Lewis follows the west coast and is full of historical and cultural interest. Heading north, we soon pass the ancient Dun Carloway Broch before reaching the Blackhouse Village at Gearrannan. Now beautifully restored, this traditional style of building survived for centuries before almost disappearing in the last half of the 20th century. The site now offers an insight into what island living was like not so many years ago.

Along the way, we’ll also see the The Whale Bone Arch at Bragar which is situated close to our lunchtime spot. Perched on the Atlantic at the very edge of Europe, the Butt of Lewis is a spectacular and fitting place to end our journey. After celebratory drinks, we head back to our accommodation at Callanish for our final night in the Hebrides.

Day 7
Depart Callanish
Non Cycling Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

In the morning we catch the ferry back to Ullapool on the mainland from Stornaway with exact departure subject to the ferry schedule.

We then transfer you back to Balloch where you will pick up your cars, hop on a train, or perhaps extend your holiday. There is an optional transfer to Glasgow Airport (GLA) for anyone flying home from here. This is an amazing drive with breathtaking scenery on all sides, allowing you a few more photo opportunities before we bid you goodbye.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Mostly following a National Cycle Network route, with some added sections to enjoy the best of the islands, The Hebridean Way follows quiet country roads and all of the surface is tarmac.

We recommend hybrid bikes but almost any type of bike would be suitable. If you are bringing a mountain bike we would recommend semi-slick tyres, or if bringing a road bike we’d recommend touring tyres.

For more information about riding an electric bike on our holidays please click here

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Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3-4 : Moderate/Active

Aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips

Suitable for the leisure cyclist who rides frequently, and who’s comfortable with some moderately challenging climbs

Some of the terrain may vary, potentially including sections of uneven or unpaved ground

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?

Trips that are graded as a 3-4, will have aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips. These tours are suitable for those who keep themselves relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on the bikes at the weekend. Your preference may be for flatter terrain, but you don’t mind tackling some hills, the occasional steep climb and some varying terrain (forest tracks, gravel paths etc.). It might be however that on some days the distances will be longer than a standard grade 3 trip, or some of the climbs may be quite challenging. You may also require some previous experience of tackling some uneven / unpaved ground to comfortably and safely ride certain sections of the route.

For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.

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Dates & Prices

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a $250 deposit and nothing more to pay until 60 days before departure. Choose a date to start your booking and see all prices, including bike hire and single room supplements.

Select a date to view prices and book
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
* 26/05/2024
Fully Booked
Return Date
01/06/2024
Duration
7 days
Price
$2,950.00
Start Date
23/06/2024
Fully Booked
Return Date
29/06/2024
Duration
7 days
Price
$2,950.00
Start Date
21/07/2024
Guaranteed
Return Date
27/07/2024
Duration
7 days
Price
$2,950.00
Start Date
25/08/2024
Guaranteed
Return Date
31/08/2024
Duration
7 days
Price
$2,950.00
*

Late Availability

We want you to know which tours are coming up soon, so you don’t miss out! If a trip has this symbol beside it, it means you don’t have long to snap up your place.

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full support service including a guide qualified in First Aid and a back up vehicle carrying spares, snacks and extra equipment not needed on your bike

D) GPX files available upon request

E) Group transfer from Balloch – Day 1

F) Group transfer back to Balloch – Day 7

G) Group transfer to Glasgow Airport (GLA) – Day 7

H) All ferry & local boat services

I) Financial Protection through ABTOT

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike and helmet rental (available if required)

B) Travel or flight costs or charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to cultural or historical sites and visitor centres

I) Other optional activities

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Private Departures

Private Departures

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.

The Essentials

Travel Options

This tour starts in Lochboisdale and finishes in Butt of Lewis.

Your arrival destination is Balloch and group transfers to Mallaig, from where we will take the ferry to Lochboisdale, are included in the cost of your holiday. The transfer time is generally early morning so we recommend staying in Balloch overnight the night before. We’ll confirm the transfer time a little closer to departure.

If you’re flying to Glasgow (GLA), we’d recommend flying a day early and staying overnight in Balloch. From Glasgow airport you can either jump in a taxi to Balloch (approx. 30 minutes) or jump on the Glasgow Airport Express bus 500 from the airport to North Hanover Street, 1 minute walk to Queen Street Station, and catch the train from Queen Street to Balloch.

If you are driving, parking in Balloch is free of charge for the duration of your trip.

At the end of the tour, we will transfer the group back to Balloch with an estimated arrival time of 16.00. If you are flying home from Glasgow Airport we can transfer you here after we depart Balloch, with an estimated arrival time of 17.00. Please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

In the UK we use good quality 3 or 4 star hotels, B&Bs, inns and family-run guesthouses that are cycle friendly, located close to the cycling route and showcase the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting.

Where possible we prioritise locally owned businesses and those offering locally sourced food, drink and speciality products. This all promotes sustainability in-line with our responsible travel policy.

All our UK trips are operated on a double/twin-share basis. Single occupancy rooms can be provided for a supplement and are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Bike Hire

If you would like to rent a bike we have both hybrid and electric bikes available.

The hybrid bikes are generally Giant Roam (male frame) or Liv Rove (female frame) with a wide gear range suitable for the route and terrain, semi-slick tyres, hydraulic disc brakes and a relaxed riding position.

Our electric bikes are generally Giant E+ pedal assist bikes with batteries suitable for the daily distances on this holiday and hydraulic disc brakes. E-bikes come with step through frames as standard but some cross bar frames may be available if preferred. Please let us know if you have a preference.

A rack and two panniers, and one bottle cage are provided with all our rental bikes, along with an emergency repair kit in a seat-post bag containing a puncture repair kit, a multi-tool, a spare innertube and a bike pump.

We are also able to provide helmets, if you’d like one to be provided, please request this at the time of booking.

You are welcome to bring along your own saddles, or own pedals if renting a hybrid bike, but please let us know if advance if you plan to do so.

If you are planning to bring your own e-bike, please let us know the make and model of your bike and we can check its suitability.

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