Hebridean Way

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ootini
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Hebridean Way

Post by ootini » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:59 am

Hi.

Quick Q, is the Hebridean Way fully paved, or is there an off road / gravel equivalent route to follow?

Thanks

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:12 am

There are two Hebridean Ways. One is NCN780 - this is fully paved (though there is a short section of machair path that can be used in South Uist for a bit of variation).

The other is a walking route. This uses bits of road, bits of old track and some sections that are no more than signposts across a boggy moor. I've not yet worked out how "rideable" the walkers route is but I could probably make a good stab at which bits should definitely be avoided.

Dean
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by Dean » Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:05 am

My sister walked 2/3rds last year. She said the boggy and peaty sections are swamps after medium/heavy rain, it might be possible to escape to the beaches with a fat bike if the tide is out.

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ootini
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ootini » Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:02 pm

Cheers. I assume NCN780 isn't particularly traffic heavy ?

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:08 pm

LOL, no.

We were staying at the West Kilbride Campsite for a few days last summer and I'm sure we counted more cyclists than cars.

You can find busier spells - immediately before and after a ferry, school run, church etc. Mostly it's very relaxed. The road between Tarbert and Stornoway is the busiest and has the most traffic but it really is a minor inconvenience. The locals are also well used to encountering cyclists.

An unsolicited bit of feedback we'd regularly get from customers who'd cycled it was how accommodating all the drivers were.

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ootini
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ootini » Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:18 pm

Brill, thanks.

I'd like to cycle it with my wife and son was the apocalypse is over, so wanted to check it was family friendly.

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:22 pm

Very.

Are you camping or B&B? If the latter I recommend booking well in advance.

Have you worked out the logistics for getting there and back?

I was supposed to be riding it again in June....

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by Lazarus » Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:04 pm

how bad is it for midges ?

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:06 pm

Not bad.
The gale force winds keep them in hiding.

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ootini
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ootini » Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:11 pm

ScotRoutes wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:22 pm
Very.

Are you camping or B&B? If the latter I recommend booking well in advance.

Have you worked out the logistics for getting there and back?

I was supposed to be riding it again in June....
We'd probably do a it of both. No timeframe for this yet, just on the bucket list.

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by htrider » Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:14 pm

It's definitely worth doing the machair path on South Uist from the bottom to Stilligary. Its all double track and generally easy going. There are a few sandy bits and one vague bit over the golf course (which also has a herd of cows grazing on it!). Most of it is now the hebridean way but the golf course bit isn't - its pretty obvious on the map however.

Digs wise check out the Gatliff Trust SYHA affiliated hostels. There is also a good campsite at Cleit Feora which is on the left just after the causeway onto North Uist. It also has a bunkhouse.

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:00 pm

My wife is from Lewis, so we are across in Lewis (and Harris) pretty often.

My first trip to the southern islands was by bike though - before the Heb Way existed but much the same route

https://flic.kr/s/aHsjtxc3r5

TBH we rushed through much of it. It was a cycling holiday rather than a holiday with bikes. The upshot of this was that I had a desire to return - and have. 6 times over the past 8 years IIRC. We (the Mrs and I ) have camped/camper-vanned in South and North Uist every time. We still find things to do, have found our favourite spots, and just love the place. I really can't recommend it highly enough.

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ootini
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ootini » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:16 pm

Thanks for all the info. I'll probably do some more brain picking as I get closer to planning the trip if that's ok, as it sounds great.
I'm wondering how far we, as a family could manage in a day, give my son's only young, nearly 7.
The profile I've seen seems quite flat, so maybe this could be a goer, if we take it steady.

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:10 pm

It's possible to do a curtailed route.

Park at Uig in Skye. Get the ferry to Lochmaddy. Cycle south for a couple of days. cycle back north to Berneray. Get the ferry to Harris. Cycle to Tarbert. Get the ferry back to Uig. It's not all flat but it misses out the biggest climb (north of Tarbert) and assists with the logistics of getting to and from the islands. Of course, you'll kick yourself if you don't get to Barra and you'd miss some of the sights on Lewis (esp Callanish).

There is a company doing through-island transport, who will do baggage transfer. A lighter load might make things easier all round.

Anyway, fire away with any questions and I'll try me best to answer them. Happy to do it by PM, though keeping it in the forum also aides others in future and you might also get some second opinions/alternate ideas.

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ootini
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ootini » Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:21 pm

Just doing some arm chair exploring and chatting with SWMBO. Given we'll have the crotch goblin with us, I doubt we'd be looking to cover the whole length of the route. Currently considering just the southern half, Vatersay to Berneray over a week. This appears flatter than the Northern section, more doable for young legs?

However, the question is, is there a common port on the mainland where we could leave the car, ferry to Vatersay, cycle north to Berneray, then ferry back to the car?

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:04 am

ootini wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:21 pm

However, the question is, is there a common port on the mainland where we could leave the car, ferry to Vatersay, cycle north to Berneray, then ferry back to the car?
Nope. Ferry to Barra is from Oban. To Lochmaddy is from Uig. To Lochboisdale is from Mallaig. None of these join up particularly well either. A better option would be to arrange transfer back to a starting port.
Try https://www.hebholidays.com/hebshuttle/

FYI, the Oban-Barra ferry is a 5 hour trip so starting and ending at Lochmaddy or Lochboisdale might be prefereable if you're not into longer sea crossings.




I can also really recommend this book btw... https://www.theoffcomers.co.uk/store/pr ... dean-way-2 The couple that wrote it are very old-school cycle tourists and really love doing their research. Really nice folk.

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by restlessshawn » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:49 am

Would like to go over and do this as been to Uists and Eriskay a few times. Will have a look at that Heb shuttle suggestion :)

I would say don’t just ride straight off Eriskay. It’s a cool little island. Worth a climb up Beinn Sciathan (Scrien) to find the ponies. They are down around the village in the winter.

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:54 am

There are ponies up the wee road past Loch Druidibeag on South Uist too.

If you are doing the whole archipelago then one transport option is to hire a bike taxi service from Ullapool to Oban (or Ullapool to Inverness to catch a train). This was part of my job for a while...

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by restlessshawn » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:04 am

ScotRoutes wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:54 am
There are ponies up the wee road past Loch Druidibeag on South Uist too.

If you are doing the whole archipelago then one transport option is to hire a bike taxi service from Ullapool to Oban (or Ullapool to Inverness to catch a train). This was part of my job for a while...
Is that the road to the bothy? Ever stayed there?
I see a plan developing.

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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by ScotRoutes » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:12 am

I've not been out to the bothy, just to the first abandoned cottage. It's a lovely bit of the island, very different to the west coast machair and beaches.

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summittoppler
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Re: Hebridean Way

Post by summittoppler » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:18 pm

I was there a few years back and yes its a stunning place. I was well lucky with the weather with wall to wall sunshine and minimal wind. Need to go back...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJQIjN0LCCw

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