Hiking the Hebridean Way – Part 7

This is part of the travel journal I wrote while walking the Hebridean Way in 2022. If you want to see all the Hebridean Way posts, you can find them here.

Day 13 – Balallan to Stornoway and an Unexpected End

Photos of the Day: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ndf7tr15vpUN8pAc8


Done, over, accomplished, the Hebridean Way is behind me. What? How? Today was supposed to be just the penultimate day, right? Well, a lucky combination of circumstances brought me to the end of the trail a day early: a small error in the hiking documents, good weather, and good company. But let’s start from the beginning.

I set off from Clearview B&B, consoled over the lost night at Kinloch House by an excellent breakfast. For the first hour, the route follows the road, but at least partly on paths parallel to it, not directly on the asphalt. I pass Kinloch House and reach Laxay, where the trail veers off for the last stretch over open moorland. 16km to Achmore (or Achadh Mòr), says my itinerary. Shortly after, I see something yellow-green emerging from the woods (yes, there are a few more of those here) onto the path ahead. Could that be Janna’s rain cover on her backpack? Indeed, she camped here and is just setting off. This is welcome company to stave off the end-of-hike blues, and together we trudge into the moor.

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Hiking the Hebridean Way – Part 6

This is part of the travel journal I wrote while walking the Hebridean Way in 2022. If you want to see all the Hebridean Way posts, you can find them here.

Day 11 Tarbert to Kinloch in Sun and Wind

Photos of the day: https://photos.app.goo.gl/RK1gLcHEZWadKR4w7

Today, I have a short day ahead of me, only 15 km to the Scaladale Center in Ardvourlie, and it’s supposed to be really sunny in the afternoon. That feels a bit silly, so I look at the route and think that the taxi can probably pick me up a bit further along the way since the path runs along the route to my next B&B. Let’s see how that works out.

I say goodbye to Hotel Hebrides and Tarbert – a very nice place. The dinner at the hotel wasn’t the best, nor was the beer, but the breakfast and the room were really good. It’s still cloudy, and the occasional shower threatens, but I don’t feel like hanging around Tarbert for another hour, so I set off at 10 am, heading east out of town towards North Harris. Lewis and Harris are a strange combination of islands. You’d think the narrow point at Tarbert would be the border between Lewis and Harris, but that’s not the case. The peninsula south of Tarbert is South Harris, the hills north of it are North Harris, and only beyond that does Lewis begin.

Heading into the hills from Tarbert.
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Hiking the Hebridean Way – Part 5

This is part of the travel journal I wrote while walking the Hebridean Way in 2022. If you want to see all the Hebridean Way posts, you can find them here.

Day 9 – Leverburgh to Horgabost or Back in the Rain

Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wgjoRpdggcsguJYVA

“I’m eager to get back on the trail” are my words as Jethro greets me at breakfast this morning. And that’s true, because after two days in Leverburgh, despite the great accommodation and good company, I am itching to get moving. Roger set off south yesterday, and Richard took the early ferry to Uig on Skye this morning. I’m taking it slower because today’s stage is only 17km, and I’ll be picked up by a taxi at the destination at 5 pm. Since there’s no cafe or pub at the pickup point, I don’t want to wait too long, especially as today certainly won’t be rain-free.

However, I also don’t want to start too late, because the period from 10 to 12 is supposed to be the driest of the day. So I say a heartfelt goodbye to Jethro and Barry (yesterday’s “Howard” was a mishearing), pack the plentiful and very tasty-looking lunch, and set off.

Looks dry, doesn’t it?
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Hiking the Hebridean Way – Part 4

Tag 6 – Lochmaddy to Leverburgh

Images of the day (Google photos)

The morning ferry arrives.

I’m on the trail again, hooray! After actually joining the Ceilidh at the Community Hall last night (impressions here), I have to admit that the dance music for the 70+ year-olds wasn’t quite my thing, and I quickly returned to the hotel. Today I woke up well-rested and early. So early that I was half an hour too early for breakfast. Hm, 8 o’clock? I had breakfast that early yesterday. No, today it starts at 8:30. Okay, I’m a bit confused. But it doesn’t matter; the ferry doesn’t depart until 4:30 PM, and I have plenty of time for the 17 kilometers to get there.

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Hiking the Hebridean Way – Part 3

Day 4 – Liniclate to Carinish

Images of the Day (Google photos)

Promising weather in the morning.

It’s 7 a.m. when I wake up, i.e. half an hour before my alarm, and check the weather forecast. Oh, this looks better than yesterday. No or hardly any rain until noon, and even after that, just “light” rain showers. It’s still windy, but without rain it’s only half as bad. So I get out of bed, grab my breakfast, and by 8 a.m. I’m ready to start the day.

The front of the Dark Island Hotel is sheltered from the winds, but as I turn the corner toward the coast I’m hit with the full force of the 45 mph near-storm strength winds. Okay, I’ve had worse in Denmark on the North Sea, but I’ve never hiked all day in such winds. Fortunately, it’s still coming from the south i.e. from behind. However, I have to brace myself for the first few meters towards the beach pushing southward. The loose sand acts like a sandblaster, much like in Denmark.

Low tide beach.
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Hiking the Hebridean Way – Part 2

A well-deserved drink.

Day 2 – Eriskay to Howmore Chapel

Images of the day (Google photos)

Phew, that was a long day. Almost 8 hours on the trail and 34 km walked, I haven’t done that much in a while. But I made it, and now I’m sitting in the bar of the Borrodale Hotel, enjoying a single malt while typing up the journal. It’s a 10-year-old Ledaig, which I hadn’t tried before. Very peaty, which means it’s not for Mert.

Partly because of this whisky, the report will probably be a bit shorter, as I’m super tired. But at least I don’t have to get up as early tomorrow. Today, I had to catch a ferry…

For the fourth and unfortunately last time, Dan drives me around Barra. He picks me up at 8:30 so I can comfortably catch the 9:25 ferry to Eriskay. This time, we take the west side of the island, and when we arrive at the ferry terminal, I feel like I’ve covered every paved road on Barra. I bid a warm farewell to Dan because it was really nice traveling with him – we had great conversations every time.

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Hiking the Hebridean Way – Part 1

On the Hebridean Way

As mentioned in the diary of my Black Forest hike (Schluchtensteig), I had planned to hike across the Outer Hebrides for a while, but the pandemic got in the way. Last year (2022) I was finally able to put my plan into action and trekked across the Scottish isles. As usual I kept a daily journal in the form of emails to friends and relatives, and I want to share that diary here along with some of the beautiful images I took on the hike. This time I want to share my experiences with my English-speaking friends as well, and will therefore translate my daily notes.

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