• Polaris Overland

Outer Hebrides and North West Coast 2021

Updated: Sep 9, 2021


Otters Edge Camp Ground - Benbecula

Introduction.


Here you will find details of our tour of the Outer Hebrides and North West Coast of Scotland this summer (2021). At the end of the blog you will find additional trip details including ferries taken and costs, miles travelled, links to booking Island Hopper ferry tickets and the camp sites we stayed at with our comments included.


We hope you will find the blog interesting and informative possibly inspiring you to head off and create your own small adventure


Stunning Scotland

Outer Hebrides Raid Day 1

Lunch By Loch Earn

We got off to a great start with the sun shining and loaded up early. Lunch by Loch Earn, a drive through Glen Ogle to Tyndrum then across Rannoch Moor, through the magnificent Glencoe to our first campsite and a lovely evening with sun on the mountain tops.

Evening sunlight at Glencoe Campsite

Outer Hebrides Raid Day 2

Took a drive out to spend the day at Oban.

It's rare that David gets to see Oban on a sunny day as usually he’s there for work on the ferries in winter.

Ice creams and Fish and Chips for lunch, Angela got to look round the shops then a climb up to McCaigs Tower and Battery Hill.

Great views before a leisurely drive back to camp.

McCaigs Tower and Battery

Outer Hebrides Raid Day 3

Quiet day today with a visit to the Glencoe visitor centre before Fort William and then the Nevis Range. Decided against a gondola trip as the queues were bad and for 2 adults and a 5 year old it would have cost £56.50 which to say was excessive I think is an understatement.

Clachaig Inn with Overland Bound

So we came back to camp sorted out a few chores whilst Dominic played with the other kids on the site before we met up with Warren and Doug of Overland Bound at the Clachaig Inn for a couple of beers and dinner.

Weather was brilliant again.


Outer Hebrides Day 4

After packing up and leaving the campsite we stopped and topped up the groceries in Fort William before heading to the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Parking was absolutely rammed with no space for a car never mind a van so we decided to carry on and stopped for lunch a little further up the road at a lovely church. St Mary & St Finnan Catholic Church.

St Mary & St Finnan Catholic Church

We then headed out to Mallaig on the A830 known as the Road to the Isles, Angela almost got a photo of the Jacobite Express before we parked up in Mallaig to wait for the ferry and enjoy another ice cream.

Dominic loved the ferry, he was excited throughout the 3.5 hour crossing.


Mallaig Ferry Terminal

We arrived on Lochboisadale just as the rain started to give us the standard Hebridean welcome of wind and rain. The drive up to the Otters Edge Campground on Benbecula took us about 45 minutes and arriving late evening we got set up. On the plus side no midges!

If you don't know what midgies are or how bad they can be take a look here.

Make sure you bring good midgie protection as they can indeed spoil your day and holiday if not prepared.

We always carry head nets, smidge and our latest is the Smokin Midge which worked well when used in confined spaces. Place it at the door of your tent or van and it definitely helps

Eriskay In The Rain

Outer Hebrides Day 5

It rained, all night and even in the morning the downpours were torrential. But we stayed dry, got ourselves sorted and headed out for an explore. We visited Eriskay as far south as we could go without a ferry and as the rain finally halted we stopped off at the Uist museum. This was followed by the Lady of the Isles Statue and then Dave and Dominic went paddling in their pants on South Uist with a lot of beach walking thrown in. Oh and we tired out the wee fella!


St Kilda Viewpoint

Outer Hebrides Raid Day 6

The rain started about 5am and we had to pack up as our last day on Benbecula.

We decided to spend the day exploring around North Uist, visiting a couple of art and pottery galleries, and a museum then a high point for views to St Kilda except the weather had not got the memo so the views were challenging at best.

Burial place of Hercules the Bear

It's surprising how many lochs are scattered throughout North Uist.


We then decided to head out and find Hercules the Bear's final resting place. If you don;'t know the story you can search for it online but Hercules was a TV Stat appearing on many rograms but he escaped whilst on North Uist and was missing for a couple of weeks before being found chilling in a small loch. His statue can be found in a forest not far from Lochmaddy on the A867. He is buried there with his owner. It never ceases to keep surprising us how many lochs are scattered throughout North Uist.

North Uist

Next up to Berneray for a spot of lunch and then to catch 5.20pm ferry to Harris.

We had some great views of long Sandy beaches on the drive up to Stornaway where we based ourselves at Laxdale Holiday Park to explore more of Lewis and Harris.


Outer Hebrides Raid Day 7

Stornoway

We took a slower pace today and a chance to get a load of washing done before we walked down into Stornaway to do a bit of exploring.

Chips by the harbour then a walk up through the grounds of Lews Castle and a visit to the museum and castle to escape the rain for a little while.

Lews Castle

Dave and Dominic built a castle in the kids activity area before heading back out to visit a few shops and much to Dominic’s delight a visit to the play park.


Calanaish Standing Stones

Outer Hebrides Raid Day 8

Today we headed to the Calanish Stone Circles followed by a visit to the Callanish Alpacas where Dominic and Dave got to hold a chicken and we all got to stroke the sheep and rams.

Thoroughly recommended as a stop off, lovely owner who is happy to chat and tell you about the Island.

From there we headed to Uig Bay where we paddled and played in the sand for an hour or so.

Calanaish Alpacas - Dominic and the chicken

On the trip back to Stornoway we stopped off to explore the Black House Village at Gearrannan. We then headed north to the beach and adventure play are at Eoropie Beach near Port Of Ness. To round off the day this was followed by fish and chips back at Stornoway for tea.

Gearrannan Black House Village

Outer Hebrides Raid Day 9

Woke up to a lovely sunny morning so today is a beach day.

Headed down to Harris to spend the day at the beach. We had intended to go to Luskentyre Beach but the car park was packed out. Realising there was no room to even turn around if we got into the car park I asked the family in the house at the top of the road if I could turn around in there drive way. They happily agreed and we turned around and headed to Seilebost Beach instead. Throughout the day a couple of dark clouds tried to chase the sun away but they came to nothing and the day stayed sunny and dry.

Dominic got to try out his boogie board with varying success and Dave also did a bit of snorkeling.


Glorious Sandy Beaches

Then it was back to camp to pack most of the gear away as we had a 6am check in for the ferry to the mainland in the morning.


Outer Hebrides Raid - Achmelvich

Early start up at 5am to finish packing and catch the 7am ferry to Ullapool. Packed away as much as we could before waking Dominic. He was not happy or keen to wake up mentioning as it was dark it was still sleep time. You can't beat his logic.

With Dominic washed and dressed we headed down to the ferry terminal in the rain for about 6am. Dave is always early and hates being late. By 6.30 we commence boarding and headed onboard.

Boarding the Loch Seaforth to Ullapool

Once onboard we grabbed seats and a table just outside the cafeteria and as soon as the doors opened jumped in the queue to get much needed coffee and breakfast.

Once underway Dominic wanted to go explore so Dave headed off to show him round the ferry Loch Seaforth and to the kiddies play area.

Stocking up Tesco Ullapool

Arriving in Ullapool about 2.5 hours later we headed first to Tesco’s to get booze and other less essential essentials.

Next was top up fuel and top up a very slow puncture in a rear tyre. Loses 10 psi a week.


Next we headed up through the low cloud and rain to Achmelvich where we were meeting friends and family.


Ardvreck Castle

Normally the views heading north are exceptional but on a cloudy dreich day they failed to impress. Passing Ardvreck Castle it was disappointing to see many tourists climbing all over the ruins. Its this kind of behaviour that will ultimately close off areas to us all and ends up turning the local population against visitors.


Arriving on the final short single track road to Achmelvich Beach from Lochinver we met Angela’s son and his family driving in the opposite direction.

Continuing to the campsite we got set up in the rain and waited for everyone else to come back.

Together we all headed to the beach as the rain stopped and whilst some of the guys went off to add more bait to a lobster pot they then took Dominic and the other kids for a quick run in the boat.


Fun on Achmelvich Beach

It was then back to the the campsite to chill out and for a bbq and few drinks.

For the first time the midges made an appearance, not bad but enough to let you know they were there.

Shore Caravan Site - Achmelvich

The next few days were spent based at Shore Campsite with family and friends.


For the Tuesday night Angela's son and daughter in law (Ryan & Alex) surprised us by announcing they were looking after Dominic for the night and had booked up a table for us at "Peets Restaurant" not only covering the cost of the meal but taxiing us in and back and keeping Dominic for a sleepover with Yara in the caravan.

Totally unexpected a lovely treat and after an excellent meal of Languistines, Scallops, Fish Platter and Teuchter Chicken washed down with Harris Gin and a couple of pints of IPA we enjoyed a lovely evening in Lochinver before Alex picked us up to take us back to the campsite.


Evening in Lochinver

Now that's a crab claw - Peets Restaurant
Peets Restaurant

The week in Achmelvich was spent enjoying lazy days walking at local Culag woods, fishing for mackerel, diving for scallops, visiting the Hermits Castle and playing in the sea on both paddle boards, kayaks and inflatables.

Each day was taken as it came, no stress or struggle just chilled out!


Culag Forest Walk
Culag Forest Walk

Beach at Culag Forest

Water Fun at Achmelvich
Paddle Boarding at Achmelvich
Visiting the Hermits Castle - Achmelvich
Highland Stoneware - Lochinver

In the last few days we took a drive out to Stoer Lighthouse followed by lunch in Lochinver.

Before we knew it it was time to pack up and head home. As is always the case the 2 weeks seemed to have flown by too quickly but we had enjoyed our tour of the Outer Hebrides and for Dominic it was his first longer adventure and he loved it.


Trip information.

Calmac ferries do island hopper tickets that can reduce your ferry costs it the routes tie in to your plans and well worth looking into. Details here:- Calmac Island Hopper Tickets.


Days Travelled: 16

Miles Covered: 1219

Ferries Taken: 3

Mallaig - Lochboisdale £88.80

Bernerey - Leverburgh £23.90

Stornoway - Ullapool £79.05


Campsites:

Glencoe Camping And Caravanning Club Site

Nice campsite in a great location at the foot of Glencoe but you need to join the club to access the cheaper rates.


Otters Edge Campground - Benbecula

Lovely spot, just under new management who have upgrade plans and are welcoming and friendly. 5 minute walk from a lovely beach.


Laxdale Holiday Park - Isle Of Lewis

Great location close for the ferry terminal and exploring Stornoway. Facilities reasonably good but limited sized pitches and awnings not allowed except by pre arrangement.

Shore Caravan Site - Achmelvich

Great spot by possibly the best beach on the North West Coast. Second year we have come meeting family and friends with opportunities for fishing, diving for crabs and scallops.

Fish and chip shop on site if you don't want to cook.

Limited Electrical Hook Ups so pre book if needed.

No dogs allowed.



Outer Hebrides & NW Scotland Travel Map

Click on the map for an interactive view



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