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Outer Hebrides

We are planning a trip to Scotland in June 2016 (when we will be 61 and 58 respectively). We arrive in Glasgow on June 6 and take a planned and supported hike leaving us in Fort William on June 13 in the morning (when the rest of the party goes to the airport)

Our plan then is to take a bus to Oban, stay one night and then take the ferry to Castlebay on Barra and use 7 - 10 days to go by bus and ferry to Stornoway and then home - probably with a few days in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

We don't want to make any reservations of accommodation or return flight, since we want to retain as much freedom of choice as we can - and to experience the thrill of winging it :-)

I took a similar trip 30 years ago (after hitch hiking from London) and we were together in Fort William 8 years ago (after a boat trip on the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness (http://www.leboat.co.uk/holidays/destinations/scotland)), but I realise that much may have changed since then :-)

Questions:

  • Since the trip is before the British school summer vacation (http://www.schoolholidayseurope.eu/scotland.html) we don't expect the hotels, guest houses, B&Bs to be filled up. Is that a reasonable assumption?
  • Is it reasonable to expect us to make the trip to Stornoway in 10 days or less? Last time I walked and hitch hiked, but I can't remember how long time I used :-(
  • Are there any special places on this route which we should make sure we don't miss? We are mostly interested in natural scenery, small towns (markets), and whisky (mainly me); not museums.
  • Should we end in Edinburgh or Glasgow? Why?
Posted by
4857 posts

Sorry, but I would recommend that you book accommodation all the way. I was in Scotland for a month this year from mid June and in Fort William and on Skye all the hotels, B&Bs etc had their no vacancy signs out. Even the campsites were full! Scotland was full of pensioners, all making the most of the off season prices and hoping for decent weather (they were unlucky)!

You will probably be ok not booking Edinburgh or Glasgow. Edinburgh has better sights than Glasgow.

Posted by
5563 posts

You need to check to see if there are festivals or special events. It looks like there is a run on Barra the third weekend in June. It looks there are buses, but you might want to think about some local day tours. I find that they can be much more efficient and they are usually quite small groups. Check out this link.

I had a lovely time on Harris and Lewis a few years ago. I particularly liked the walk we did at Luskentyre. It looks like you can easily get to the Callanish Stones or to Carloway Broch by bus, but I am not sure you could get out to Luskentyre. Maybe you'll see other beaches.

I too would got to Edinburgh. Dynamic Earth has does a great job of explaining the geology of Scotland. And after walking in all those places it would be interesting to learn how they came to be.

Pam

Posted by
1293 posts

Booking as Jennifer advises is probably essential. It may be before school holiday season, but only just, as the Scottish schools break and go back a fortnight before those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Also, being islands there will a limited amount of accomodation, and the next town over may involve a long ferry ride. So best to book to be on the safe side.