Cycling through the Scottish Highlands and the Hebride Islands of Scotland. Looking for a new destination that matches the current offer, we arrive at this special group of islands in the north of Scotland. The area shows similarities with the fjord landscape of Northern Norway. Pristine and rugged, remote sandy beaches, hills and table mountains, lochs and sounds and above all a lot of space and tranquility. The ingredients for a wonderful multi-day cycling trip!
Foto: Old Man of Storr, Trotternish Skye. Photo by Kenny Lam, Visit Scotland.
The tour is a 13-day cycle route (without return trip to Glasgow) that starts and ends in Fort William: the start of the Scottish Highlands at the foot of Ben Nevis. The mountain is the highest in Great Britain with almost 1,400 meters of altitude. The route goes over Isle of Sky, Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris and once again on the mainland via Oban and the green valley of Glencoe. Picturesque landscapes that were used as the backdrop for shooting Skyfall (James Bond) and various Harry Potter films.
What to expect?
Impressive castles and ruins, an introduction to the Clan culture, lighthouses on steep cliffs, stone houses (black houses) and fishing villages with proud islanders who speak incomprehensibly Scottish Gaelic. A journey full of history and rich in nature!
The partner chosen was an outdoor sports shop in Fort Williams. The rental bike is a hybrid / touring bike with pedal assistance suitable for multi-day trips. A model without stair support is also possible and in that case the price will be lower. The (e-bike) bicycles are Cube Touring Hybrid One 500. Along with the bike are waterproof bags and a bar bag.
The route is approximately 450 km and goes partly over the National Cycle Route Hebredian Way (780) and the West Highland Way (78). These roads are bike friendly and well marked. The road is paved and well suited for cycling with a hybrid bicycle. There are height differences from 100 to 500 meters in one day. The stay is in Inns, hotels or hostels. When booking, a 2 ps room with private bathroom is taken into account.
Foto: Kinlochleven close to Glencoe. Photo from Visit Scotland.
Cuillin mountains, Old man of Storr, Dunvegan Castle, coral bays, Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, fairy Pools, Calanais, stonecircles Calanais and a lot more!
Video opening National Cycling Route Outer Hebrides
The route over the outer Hebride islands has been an official bicycle route since 2016. The video is on youtube The Hebridean Way to see that gives a good impression.
Most beautiful landscape of Skye with huge attraction to tourists. The area of 30 km to the north of Portree are multiple attractions (Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock waterfalls, Quiraing ridge). The imposing hillside shows the impact of the Jurassic era well. Glaciers and melting ice have created an alien-looking landscape. The mountain ranges and rock formations have an erratic and steep course with detached stone pillars and steep cliffs on the coast overlooking the outer Hebride islands.
Isle of Lewis is the largest and most northerly island of the outer Hebrides. In total around 18,000 people live there. The south of Lewis is characterized by deep sea coves, high hills and rock formations. The highest of almost 800 meters. To the north the hilly landscape flattens out and there is a swampy peat landscape. The west side is a versatile mountain landscape with secluded beaches and excellent rock formations in the sea.
During the journey, immerse yourself in the families of the powerful clans of the Highlands. On the route you pass castles of the clans that are often in good condition and accessible. for the public. In addition to the rich history and the bloody battles between the highlanders and the rulers, there are also stone circles that refer to a (very) ancient civilization.
Arrival at Fort William. Accessible by bus or train from Glasgow. You can pick up the bikes in this place. Enjoy beautiful views of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Great Britain.
Located at the end of the Loch Leven lake and surrounded by the mountains, this is a beautiful setting. You are here in the Scottish Highlands. The place is visited by walkers of the West Highland Way. In the past the village was only accessible by rowing boat and in 1922 a highway was built with the help of German prisoners of war.
Route continues via bicycle route 78 West Highland Way of about 60 km.
Medieval castle that served as the home of the Mac Dougall clan. It can be found in Dunberg, 5 km from Oban. The Scottish king Robert the Bruce conquered power in the 14 th century.
Beautiful wide U-shaped valley that was formed by the Ice Age. The Coe River flows through the valley. The village of Glencoe is surrounded by high mountain formations and peaks (Munros) of around 1,000 meters. The region is very attractive to hikers and outdoor sports enthusiasts due to the many hiking trails in the Scottish Highlands. The busy A82 passes here, connecting Glasgow with Inverness.
With the ferry to Castlebay. Duration of the crossing is almost 6 hours.
From the ferry you can see the castle built on the Isle of Mull. Formerly the headquarters of the Mac Claen clan. Just like several other castles, it was important to keep a close eye on the waters of the Sound of Mull.
Isle of Barra and Vatersay
Small island with 1200 inhabitants that is mainly known for the diversity of flowers and the beaches on the west coast. The vast beach in the north is used as an airport. The island is the departure and arrival place of the ferry with the mainland, Oban. In the past, Castlebay was the largest herring port in the outer Hebrides. In the bay you can see the beautifully situated Medieval Kisimur Castle. The castle is well preserved and owned by the MacNeil clan. From Barra you can easily reach the small island of Vatersay with a turn of the ring road. There are remains of stone circles on the island.
Isle of Eriskay
Small island connected by ferry with Barra and the motorway with South Uist. The land is maintained by the crofters and used for agriculture and animal husbandry. The shell sand with the washed up seaweed is used to fertilize the land, which leads to fertile soil. In the spring everything blooms beautifully and the cows and sheep keep grazing around.
Isle of South Uist
The island south of North Uist and Benbecula is a lot more mountainous and larger. The Bein Morr and Hecla peaks are around 620 meters high and prominent. The landscape is divided by the fertile soil in the west that offers space for the birds and the marshy peat landscape in the east. There are many opportunities for walking and taking a turn along a sea inlet. The crofters maintain the landscape that is also a reserve. You can spot sea eagles here as well as Shetland ponies, salmon farms, red deer and geese.
Isle of Benbecula
Relatively flat island south of North Uist. The east has a few hills, the highest being 127 meters. There is an airport with an army base. A few ruins and remains of ancient temples are present on the island and several beautiful beaches
Isle of North Uist
The island has a varied landscape of (marshy) peat areas, lakes and sea coves. There are stone cottages, sculptures and sculptures on the island and there is even a sculpture trail. Sparsely populated island with vast sandy beaches. Along the main road there is an occasional pub, gift shop or food shop.
Isle of Lewis
Isle of Lewis is the largest and most northerly island of the Hebrides. In total around 18,000 people live on the island. Tarbert is located on a narrow strip of land and connects North and South Harris. The south of Lewis is characterized by sea coves and high hills and rock formations. The highest of almost 800 meters. To the north the hilly landscape flattens out and there is a peat landscape. The west side is a versatile mountain landscape with rock formations, sea coves and secluded beaches. Stornoway is the largest place and the administrative center of the archipelago. About 8,000 inhabitants live here.
Balnarald Nature reserve
On North Uist island, this nature reserve is a protected bird sanctuary. The birds that come to nest here are greylag geese, lapwing, redshank, magpies and snipe. Beautiful walking area and there is a visitor center with information about the birds, crofting and the bird-friendly landscape “machair”.
Most beautiful landscape of Skye north of Portree. Greatest attraction for tourists who are visited by cars, campers and buses. There are several places of interest along the 30 km north motorway. Huge ridge on the land that shows the impact of the Jurassic era. Glaciers and melting ice from Ice ages are responsible for the impressive landscape. Mountain ranges that have an erratic and steep course with free-standing pillars and steep cliffs on the coast from which water rushes into the sea.
Sloping mountain range created by a landslide at the time of Jura. Natural forces of landslides and melting days created this alien landscape of rock formations and cliffs.
Old man of Storr
50-meter-high pillar of volcanic rock that is a symbol of Skye. A footpath leads from the motorway to the pillar and shows beautiful views of the sea route The Minch and the outer Hebrew islands.
Traces of dinosaurs can be found here. The part of Trotternish is also known as the Jurassic Coast. Footprints can be found here in the rock.
Huge waterfalls of 60 meters high on the east side of Trotternish. The cliffs of basalt rock have the shape of a kilt. Nice viewpoint over the Sound of Rasaay.
Skye Museum of Island Life
Open-air museum on the A855 north of Trotternish near Duntulm. Museum gives an impression of the life of the crofters on Skye at the end of the 18th century and there are several original blackhouses. In the immediate vicinity a cemetery and the ruins of Duntulm Castle.
Headland north of Skye. Forests with conifers intended for logging, inns, bakeries and galleries along the way. It is the habitat of deer and sea eagles.
Island at the Edge
Located on the A850 near Greshornish is a farm with wool production. Several types of sheep are kept by the farmer and the wool is used for the production of the well-known Tweed (kilt skirts) and other wool products.
A footpath leads from Geary to the Waternish lighthouse. Just before the coast, the seabed goes from 40 to a depth of around 1,000 meters. Together with Neistpoint on Duirinish and Rubha Hunish on Trotternish the best place to spot whales is because of the presence of plankton.
Rest day with opportunities for hiking around table mountains MacLeods or extra cycling day. Nearby is also:
The home of the MacLeods for more than 800 years and partially accessible to the public. Scotland’s oldest castle inhabited by the same family. Beautiful garden and surroundings with loch Dunvegan. In the castle you will find heirlooms and special historical objects, such as a banner with magical powers (fairy flag), a lock of hair of Bonnie Prince Charles and a cup of an old clan head.
Just north of Dunvegan Castle, about 6 km, the road turns into a walking path to the beach. A beautiful white beach with hills around it and grazing sheep. Chance of spotting seals and otters. Beach consists of fine sand and calcified seaweed and shells. With clear weather you can see the outer hebride islands of North Uist and Harris.
Distillery founded in 1830 in Carbost with single malt. Water is extracted from the hill Cnoc nan Speireag. Popular attraction and visitors are advised to book a tour in time. From Carbost it is possible to take a boat trip to Neist Point.
Mountain range Black Cuillin is a plateau that consists of (hard) basalt. Volcanic rock that has black color. Red Hills is a slightly lower plateau and has more rounded shapes and worn mountain tops are made of granite and have a red luster. Pressure from the 1100 meter thick ice layer in the past created the current forms.
Village with 300 inhabitants on the A863 between Talisker and Dunvegan. Viewpoints from the coast on Loch Bracadale and the Cuillin Mountains are impressive. The contours of the coastline and the mountains are clearly visible with beautiful color transitions.
Region with the oldest primeval forests and exuberant vegetation. Nickname is also called Garden of Skye. History of the MacDonalds clan. Kinloch Lodge is the home of the current Lord Mac Donald and is now a Country House Hotel.
Castle on the west coast at place Tokovaig. Remains of Sky’s oldest castle and was a Norwegian fortress and transferred to Mac Leods and then MacDonalds.
The ferry will take to the main land from Armadale to Mallaig.
Route of 65 km on 2 lane roads with the following sights:
West Highland Line
Train connection from Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig. Due to poor road condition, train connection was kept open. Well-known steam train the Jacobite Steamexpress goes from Fort William to Mallaig.
Valley to the over from Loch Shiel and to the track. Bonnie Prince Charles came here and led the uprising against King George 2nd in 1745. He brought together the loyal clans in Glenfinnan for the Jakobite risings. The Glenfinnan Highland games are held here annually in August as a tribute. Nice view over the Glenfinnan viaduct. Known from the Harry Potter movie.
Channel of 8 locks and 20 height meters. Connection between Inverness and Fort William and is built for sea-going vessels. The narrow passage is used for pleasure boating and is 66 miles (Caledonian Canal).
During this cycling trip you will stay in B & amp; B’s, Inns (hotels), hotels or an independent cabin on a cabin. An accommodation is chosen in consultation with the preferences of the traveler.
B&B Argyll in Dunvegan on Skye