September 29th 2015

The Hebridean islands offer hikers an experience they will never forget. Whether strolling across white sand beaches or among the shadows of 5000-year-old standing stones, thousands of years of history is a constant presence. The beauty of the area is world-renowned, as evidenced by Wanderlust travel magazine featuring the Outer Hebrides as one of the top 100 Greatest Travel Experiences - the only area in Britain to make the list. The procession of islands, islets and reefs that form the remote Western Isles, off Scotland's northwest coast boasts some of the most wild, beautiful and contrasting landscapes in Britain.
clouds cuillin hills skye copy
Turbulent seas boil around dramatic coastlines and here hardy islanders still pursue the age-old activities of crofting, fishing and weaving.
Our wonderful new Walk visits Lewis, Harris and Skye, each with their own unique personality.
Let our Walk Leader Philippa Besant give us a tantalizing glimpse of some of the highlights...
"We start our walk on the dramatic north-west tip of Lewis, battered through the long winter months by Atlantic winds. The seas may boil below us as we head towards the red-brick Butt of Lewis lighthouse, that stands against the storms that rage here. It was built by the Stevenson brothers, uncle and father of the famous Robert Louis. To this day it is an important beacon for shipping. Kittiwakes, fulmars, and shags nest among these remote rocks.
Before we leave Lewis, we stop to explore the icon of prehistory in the Western Isles - the standing stones of Callanish - one of the most important prehistoric sites in the UK.
callanish, lewis pixabay
The names Lewis and Harris give the impression that there are two separate islands. In fact, the two are very different in atmosphere and geographically but they are joined. They make up the most northerly isle of the long chain of islands forming the Western Isles or the Hebrides.
Lewis is largely peaty, heather-blanketed rolling moorland with its scattering of small grey cottages whereas Harris boasts high mountains with interior moon-like landscape.
We lunch at the Harris Hotel where Matt, the ranger for North Harris, awaits to tell us all about golden eagles. After lunch we drive the short journey to the Harris Eagle Observatory. The mountains of Harris are home to 20 pairs of these eagles. Matt will help us scan the skies for these magnificent birds soaring over the ridges on either side of the glen.
We take a boat 'over the seas to Skye' enjoying some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery.
ferry harris to skye copy
After lunch in the wonderfully positioned Gaelic Inn of the Eilean Iarmain hotel on the promontory of the isle of Oransay, we explore the gardens and estate paths surrounding the ruins of Armadale Castle.
The Castle was home to the Macdonalds, chiefs until 1925 when it was left to the wind and the rain. Flora Macdonald who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape to Skye was married here in 1790. There is a fascinating museum to explore after our walk. It documents 1500 years of history, culture and bloody battles.
And during our trip, we'll enjoy an evening of traditional Scottish food and music (and possibly a dram or two!) and get some tips on the Gaelic language, still spoken by three-quarters of islanders in some areas. Slàinte!"
See our website for the full itinerary for our Walk in The Outer Hebrides.

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