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Walking the West Highland Way and extra days after

Four of us from my ladies hiking group plan to do a portion of the West Highland Way in September. Our plan is to take public transportation from Glascow to our starting point. We end up in Fort William at the end of our trek. My questions are these: We'd like to travel for 4-5 days in Western Scotland, going up to Inverness and also visiting Skye. I'm assuming that renting a car will be our best bet for flexibility and use of time. Would you also recommend that we take a ferry to Harris-Lewis? That's always been a dream of mine and not possible my two previous visits to the Highlands. Is a day trip from Skye enough time to visit the Outer Hebrides? Is a visit there worth the effort to get there? Would we need a car or just leave it on Skye? What other destinations would you recommend that we include in our itinerary? We're not too interested in visiting Glascow or Edinburgh but will be flying in and out of Glascow. I will be visiting friends in Devon before joining my hiking pals... would you suggest traveling by train or catching a flight from Exeter to Glacow?

Thank you!

Posted by
5678 posts

No one day is not enough time to go to the Outer Hebrides in my opinion, but if you really truly want to do this, you could. Here is the link to the ferry. As you can see the departures very depending on the day. Technically you might catch the 5:30 AM ferry on a Monday, and come back that afternoon at 3 PM. That would give you 6-7 hours on Harris. You can get to Luskentyre beach and so see the beautiful beach, but it would be difficult to see much more. It is an hour minimum to the Calanais Standing Stones. So, you can do that. The thing to realize is that it takes time to get to Uig. It is over 3 hours from Fort William to Uig and that is with no stops. And in my opinion, it is impossible to make that drive and not stop.

My suggestion is that you not try to do too much. But rather take your time. You could do a wonderful trip over 4-5 days, that included driving to Skye from Fort William and spending the night there, then catching a ferry to Tarbert, spending a night or two on Harris and Lewis. The take the ferry to Ullapool. Drive to Lewis. Ditch the car and train back to Edinburgh via Glasgow. I don't think you'll be able to get a one way car from Fort William to Inverness, or I would suggest driving to Inverness from Ullapool and then taking the train.


Posted by
3122 posts

I agree with Pam, don't try to do too much. That is the complaint I've heard from several friends who went to Scotland. It takes longer to get from A to B than you think from looking at a map.

Since there are four of you, I can imagine it may be difficult to set priorities and forgo a destination that only one or two of you want to visit. But that's the reality you're dealing with. Otherwise, if you try to go everywhere, you'll end up all being grumpy, exhausted, and possibly nauseated from driving winding roads and/or traveling on sea swells.