Western Isles Wilderness
Enjoy a week exploring the Hebridean isles of Harris and Lewis on foot. You’ll be surrounded by sea, hiking up hills and enjoying spectacular aerial views of white sand beaches.
The Hebridean islands are becoming more and more of a must-see destination on a visit to Scotland. The beauty of the islands is a draw in and of itself. Most of the islands are relatively flat but the hills of Harris are a draw to hikers looking for a wild experience.
It doesn’t get much wilder than Harris. Rugged, dramatic & complex, its mountains provide some of the finest hill walking anywhere. Home to one Europe’s highest concentrations of Golden Eagles, an Atlantic coast of endless white sands washed by a turquoise sea & swaths of colour provided by the famous flowering meadows of the Machair, it’s a stunning place. Add to this the rich wildlife and an island setting wrapped in Lewis’ fascinating history going back over 5000 years & you can start to understand why words struggle to do justice to the spectacular beauty & huge variety of these islands
- visit weavers making tweed,
- step into old-fashioned blackhouses (also famous through the writing of Peter May)
- visit the ancient brochs
- hike the old coffin road
- walk the postman’s path
- and taste the first rate produce of the islands, especially the seafood
- Huiseabhal Mor
- An Clisham
- Tiorga Mor
- Tour of South Harris or visit St. Kilda (not included)
- Teileasbhal and Uisgneabhal Mor
- Beinn Losgaintir
- Accommodation for 7 nights at Aisling Cottage, just outside Tarbert on the Isle of Harris, plus one night at Fraoch Lodge before departure for your onwards journey
- all meals throughout your trip – if it is not possible to eat out in the evening during your trip, we will make sure to either provide an extra sumptuous dinner from local produce or we’ll eat out in one of the excellent local cafes at lunchtime on the day off
- 5 guided walking days
- 1 chauffeured day touring the islands (optional) or just relax and do your own thing
- transport throughout the trip
- pick up from Aviemore station or Inverness airport
Highlights: deserted white sand beaches on Harris; hills of North Harris including Huiseabhal Mor, Tiorga Mor and An Clisham, the highest peak in the Western Isles; chances to see golden eagles and otters; views of Britain’s largest overhanging cliff; the flowering machair; the 12th Century church of St Clements; a visit to the jewel in Scotland,s prehistoric crown, the 3000 year old Callanish Standing Stones and an Iron Age broch.
Western Isles Wilderness is a hiking trip with a strong sense of place and culture. Harris is the home of some strong Scottish traditions (like the making of Tweed – long the fabric favoured by field sports enthusiasts, the fashion industry and of course Sherlock Holmes) and a wonderful well-preserved ancient and more recent history, examples of which are prevalent throughout both Harris and Lewis. We’ll also have the opportunity to experience some of the best cuisine the islands have to offer on our night out at one of the top quality local restaurants.
Day of arrival: You’re met at your point of arrival whether that’s Aviemore train station (arrive latest 2pm) or Inverness Airport (arrive latest 3pm) before driving through the Highlands to the pretty fishing town of Ullapool in readiness to catch the 6pm ferry to Stornoway.
Day 1: Huiseabhal Mor is our aim as we ascend with ever expanding breathtaking views back across to Harris’s many over peaks and out over the Atlantic.
Day 2 is an ascent of the Western Isles highest peak An Clisham.
Day 3: All the peaks on this trip are magical view points and as the western-most high summit, Tiorga Moris no exception.
Day 4 is a chance to explore for yourself and a chance to rest the legs. There is the option of arranging a once in a lifetime boat trip out to St Kilda or alternatively join us on a 45 mile tour around the southern half of the island.
Day 5 The distinct twin peaks of Teileasbhal and Uisgneabhal Mor, the Hebrides second highest summit – our goal is to make a grand traverse of the impressive summits to then make a more gentle arching seaward descent back to our start point.
Day 6 sees us heading over the tiny township of Losgaintir. The single-track road cuts through a fringe of rich machair. On the left is a vast expanse of bleached white sand washed by a turquoise sea, on our right, our aim, Beinn Losgaintir, rearing up increasingly steeply. This hamlet is home to John Mackay who, amongst others, makes the world famous hand crafted Harris Tweed in his tiny workshop.
Day 7 After packing up we head back in the direction of Stornoway but not before visiting the Calanais Standing Stones. A little further along the road is one of Scotland’s best preserved Iron Age brochs, Dun Charlabhaigh. We head over to Stornaway for lunch in preparation for the ferry sailing back to the mainland and a night at Fraoch Lodge near Aviemore in preparation for your departure the following day.
Day of Departure: What ever time your plane or train is we will get you there for it. Most folks depart after breakfast leaving requests for Rebecca’s recipes or vowing to maintain their elevated standard of living!
We take the whole ethos with us when we run trips away from our home base of Fraoch Lodge. The whole family team journeys out with you and provides for you no matter where our base is.
Accommodation in Harris –
We’ll book a well-appointed cottage large enough for our group and close to Tarbert. The cottage will have wifi but may not have a TV signal.
Scot Mountain Holidays will be hosting, guiding and catering with the best of Scottish produce. As there will be limited opportunities to restock our supplies while over in the Hebrides we will be planning the menu in advance and would ask that you make sure to give us all your requirements in advance. If there are any Scottish specialities you definitely don’t want to try, please say.
We have achieved Gold Star Awards from the world’s most highly respected green accreditation scheme, Green Tourism, and were awarded Highly Commended in their Green Star Awards 2013 for both Scot Mountain Holidays and Fraoch Lodge. We offer a Green Travel Discount of £15 to any guests who travel to us by public transport. Our primary aim is to minimise the carbon footprint of our holidays, and to this end we donate 1% of the price of our tours to the RSPB’s Abernethy Reforestation project.
It is a holistic approach we have to the care of the environment. Andy your adventure guide has a passion for the natural world – whether it’s the flora, fauna or fungi. He has a background in geology and a lifelong interest in natural history, as well as being a keen gardener. He knows a Golden Plover from a Dotterel, a Green Shank and a Dunlin. He also makes no apologies to being very excitable upon spying a Golden Eagle!
For further information, please don’t hesitate to check out our Environmental Responsibility page, or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.