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Outer Hebrides Motorhome Route

Our Outer Hebrides motorhome route will take around 10 to 14 day to complete, Only 30 miles from the North West coast of Scotland are the Islands of the Outer Hebrides, this chain of Islands sits on the very edge of Europe, Imagine the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, white powder beaches, rugged mountain ranges, amazing wildlife, and a culture dating back in time.
There are around 70 named islands in the chain, with a population of around 27000 with 15 of the Islands being permanently populated, The Outer Hebrides include, Isles of Lewis, Harris, Benbecula, North and South Uist, Eriskay, Barra, and Vatersay.  

From Perth take the A9 North towards Inverness , maybe consider stopping for the night in the Cairngorm Mountains Near Aviemore which is 2.5 Hours’ drive from Perth, loch Morlich is a nice stop right on the water’s edge  we advise not to arrive before 6 in the evening and you are gone by 9 pm next morning this ensures the parking area is kept clear for the canoeists. we can give details on where else to wild camp overnight. Below is an overview map showing our proposed route highlighted in red with optional routes coloured in yellow.
Overview map of our Outer Hebrides motorhome route. 

Scottish tourer outer hebrides map

 

Loch Morlich with Scottish tourer motorohme hire

Next Morning Head to Inverness and take the A835 towards Ullapool. The Broomfield Campsite is right next to the Ferry Port if you want an overnight stay. 

Isle Of Lewis ..Arrive Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis . Take the A857 East then turn right onto the A858 and turn right after a few miles to visit the The Blackhouse Museum, this museum is run by Historic Scotland - you can walk round the inside of black houses to see how the people lived in the houses back in time, which was alongside the animals and no chimneys in the houses, although the design of black houses dates back a long way and there would have been black houses in existence for many hundreds of years before then, the Black houses  at Arnol was probably built as recently as 1875.

Scottish tourer Outer Hebridies route

The Whalebone Arch, in Bragar, is one of the landmarks you will see as you travel round our Outer Hebrides motorhome route and the northern tip of of Lewis, The Whalebone Arch, erected by the former village postmaster Murdo Morrison, was formed from the jaw bones of a giant whale which beached itself and died in Bragar Bay after been harpooned by hunters. 

Head South on the A857 to the Village of Callanish here are the Callanish Stones ..https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/calanais-standing-stones/.  Construction is thought to have taken place between 2900 and 2600 BC, it is possible though that some buildings were here before 3000 BC, there was a tomb built into the site at a later date, investigating some of the debris from the destruction of the tomb would suggest that this site was not used between 200 BC and 1700 BC, there are 13 primary stones which form a circle 13 metres in diameter there is an avenue of stones on the north approach and shorter stone rows to the south , east and west approaches, the layout resembles a Celtic cross, and the stones vary from one metre to five metres in height, The Visitor centre give a fascinating insight to the area. 

Callnaish stones

On our Outer Hebrides motorhome route visit The Iron Age Village Great Bernera was first discovered at Bosta in 1993, after a huge storm and gales revealed the remains, long excavations followed which revealed very important finds, using the new information archaeologists built a reconstruction of an entire iron age house of the time, which is part of the exhibition and is open to visitors.


Overnight right on the white sand beach at Uig ...See photo below ..We have many places where you can wild camp on our Outer Hebrides motorhome route and details will be given when you book with us. 

Scottish tourer motorhome on Uig

Abhainn Dearg Distillery (which pronounced Aveen Jarræk), in English means Red River, is located in Uig on the Isle of Lewis, this is the first legal whisky distillery in the Hebrides in the last two hundred years, it was opened by the owner Mark Tayburn in 2008 , and two small casks of the new spirit were sold and left the Island in 2010.

Visitors are welcome to see how the whisky is manufactured and have a small taste of the product.

Seatrek is based in Uig (which we think is one of the most beautiful places in the UK) they offer boat trips around the Hebrides and land on uninhabited Islands with the opportunity to see whales, Dolphins, Basking Sharks, Sea Eagles, Puffins, this is a must for those interested I sea life as you travel our Outer Hebrides motorhome route.

Lewis chessmen, They were found around Uig under very mysterious circumstances, there are various rumours and old stories as to why they were concealed there and also mystery surrounding how they were found, what is known is that they were found sometime before 11 April 1831 which is the date they were removed to Edinburgh and exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries for Scotland, apparently the exact spot appears to have been a sand dune where they were placed an a small drystone chamber, the chessmen were made in Norway in the 12 century, it is during this period that the Hebrides and other large Scottish islands were under Norwegian rule, the chessmen were discovered around early 1831 in the dunes  near a sand bank at the head of Camus on the west coast of the Island. https://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/news_and_press/statements/the_lewis_chessmen.aspx

Lweis Cheesman

 Harris ..Head South on the A859 to Harris follow the coast road and do spend at least one or two days and an overnight stop on what we consider to be the best Beaches in the world .. and yes you can drive our motorhomes right down and on to some of the beaches and stay overnight .. see photos below. Get the Barbeque out (we will explain where to buy and cook the best steaks) .. table & Chairs and glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy the most amazing views in a totally remote area in peace & peace & quiet. Again, we know the places and these will be given to you when you book.

Photo below shows just some of the beaches to overnight on our Outer Hebrides motorhome route.

Scottish tourer motorhome parked on the beach

scottish tourer motorohme parked on the beach

See map below with our suggested route taking in UIG.

Scottish tourers map

The Isle of Harris is most famous for the Harris Tweed, which is made by small independent weavers usually working from small workshops attached to their houses, as you travel around look out for these small independent traders where you can buy direct at much lower prices, as they are allowed to sell independently and to order, however most of the cloth is supplied to one of the three large mills on the Island, the weavers use yarn which is dyed and spun by the mills, but they may warp it themselves before returning the cloth to the mills for stamping by the HTA. https://www.scottishtourer.co.uk/holiday/costal-walks

At Leverburgh which is in the very south of the island board the Ferry to Isle of Berneray and then on to North Uist takes around 2.5 hours sailing time.

Scottish tourer motorohme on the ferry

North Uist is the tenth largest Scottish island and the thirteenth largest island surrounding the UK. It has an area of 117 square miles. and is connected by causeways to  Bebecula via Grimsay, to Berneray, and to Baleshare.

See overview Map of the Uists with route information which is part of our Outer Hebrides motorhome route.

Scottish Tourer Map

North Uist , Is unlike any other place we have been, as it appears to be a continual drive over causeways crossing water, it is a landscape which is full of fresh and salt water lochs, on its western side there are miles of beautiful sandy beaches, and small crofts which cultivate the which little land they can and also fish the sea, North Uist is very popular with Motorhomers.

The Landscape of Uist is made up of fresh water and salt water lochs and lochans, the western side has miles of sandy beaches with small farms  which are called crofts, which follow along the Machair which is the fertile grassland area between the sand dunes and the normal land,  North Uist is popular with birdwatchers, cyclists and Motorhomers, the south of the island is very flat and covered by peat bogs, hills and lochans, and half the land area is covered by water, there is a very mixed and unusual habitat due to the mixture of fresh and tidal salt water in some of the lochs.

A very popular pastime on the Island is Otter Spotting especially on the east side of the Island as the landscape is made up of inland sea lochs inlets , bays, and small channels which is the ideal habitat for Otters, Check the time table for the tides as you are more likely to spot Otters on an inward tide usually around 2 to 3 hours before high tide, the Otter normally heads direct to its holt where it lives and breads.

otters crossing sign

To the south of the Island is a 5000 year old burial chamber called Barpa Langass which is thought to be the burial place of a Neolithic chieftain, a building listed as of European significance and reggognised as Scotland’s oldest University Trinity Temple is a historic ruin from around the 16th century but destroyed by fire and rebuilt again in the 19th century, park just of the A865 near temple view guest house, and go through the gate and its 200 metres walk from there.

South Uist, is a stunningly breath-taking beautiful Island, with white powder beaches and the clear blue water of the Atlantic ocean to the west, and heather dominated hills on the east side, don’t miss a visit to the Kildonan Centre which used to be the old school and includes a museum and craft centre, this explains a little about the Islands culture and  heritage, the museum is owned by the South Uist Historical Trust which is a registered charity.

Cladh Hallan Roundhouses, are an archaeological site, and is noted to be the only place in the UK where prehistoric mummies have been discovered, two mummified Bronze Age bodies wre found here by a team of in 2001, and wre found buried under the floor of one of the roundhouses, one of them a female who died around 1300 BC, the other a  male who had died around 1600 BC, the archaeologists did not realise at first what they were dealing with because the soft tissue had complexly decomposed, the bodies had been preserved shortly after death in a peat bog for 6 to 18 months however tests showed they were not buried until around 120 BC, and it appears the bodies had been retrieved from the bog and buried under the dwellings and why the bodies were mummified first is a complete mystery to experts. http://www.isle-of-south-uist.co.uk/what-to-do/cladh-hallan-roundhouses/

Flora MacDonald, after the defeat of the Scots led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, by the English at Culloden, Charlie was desperate to escape back to France, however the government troops were searching for him on the mainland and the Islands, Charlie sought refuge on the Island of Uist, In an attempt to smuggle him to Isle of Skye he was dressed as a maid “ Betty Burke” to Flora MacDonald , however the disguise did not work and Flora was arrested and was imprisoned in London, When she was released in 1747 she returned to the Island and the plan on the monument shows where her house was thought to have been. 

Outer Hebrides motorhome route.

Askernish Golf Club is home to “the most natural golf course in the world” and is part of our Outer Hebrides motorhome route.

At the request of the wealthy land owner in 1891 Lady Cathcart invited old Tom Morris to the island to create a golf course to impress her friends, Tom designed and built a formidable 18 hole golf course, which was maintained by the local crofters until around 1920 which is around the period golf declined and it was not viable for the crofters to keep the course maintained, up until 2005 the course revered back to the wild and was thought to be lost for ever, during the 80 years  part of the course was used as an airstrip, thankfully in 2005 a group of local golfers decided to raise funds and return the golf course to its former glory, and with the help of some of the biggest names in golf, Askernish Golf Club has been reborn and was opened in 2008 and the 18 hole golf course has received the highest acclaim from the golfing world. 

The Isle of Eriskay sits on the South of South Uist and is connected to the isles and to the north by a causeway built in 2001.  The name comes from the Norwegian name which means Eric’s Island.  The ferry to Barra sails from the southern end of Eriskay, (See Ferry Port in photo below).

Scottish tourer motorhome

Whiskey Galore, on the 3rd February 1941 the SS Politician an 8000 ton cargo ship left Liverpool bound for Kingston Jamaica and New Orleans with 260,000 bottles of whiskey, as it was for the American market no duty had been paid, On the morning of the 5th February a young man from South Uist saw the ship in trouble when combing the beach, and watched the ship run aground onto the sand banks off the Isle Of Eriskay where the ship flooded and was stranded on the sandbank.

When the Islanders learned of what the ship was carrying after saving the crew, a huge operation swung into place at nights when every available boat from all over the Outer Hebrides made a series of illegal salvage operations to remove as much whiskey as possible, before the excise and customs officials arrived from the mainland, the Islands supply of whisky had long since dried up due to war time rationing.

The official salvage attempt to re-float the ship was abandoned due to the inclement weather conditions and it was decided to sink SS Politician where she was by exploding her hull, one islander, Angus John Campbell, commented: “Dynamiting whisky. You wouldn’t think there’d be men in the world so crazy as that, Mr McColl the chief customs Officer estimated the Islanders managed to escape with at least 240,000 bottles of whisky, officers combed and searched the Islands but not one bottle of whisky was retrieved, a local south Uist diver found 8 bottles of whisky in the wreck in 1987 and was sold for £4000 at action, You can still see the mast of the ship at low tide off the coast off Eriskay, There are two films made about this event one which is a black and white movie which is by far our favourite and a recently made film around 2017 which is also very entertaining.

Isle Of Barra is the most southerly of the inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides, When travelling from Uist to Isle of Barra use the small Ferry from Eriskay, which is ok for Motorhomes up to 8 metes long, visit Calamac Ferries for Ferry time tables, Barra is a very special place to visit  and long famed for its beauty with beaches, hills, machair and moorland .. all in a small island, Barra must have one of the most unusual airports in the world, with flights landing on the beach in between tides, and at high tide the runway disappears under the waves.  

Barra Airport

The Televisions Time Team came to Allasdale in 2007 to help investigate the exposed remains of Bronze age burial site and Iron age roundhouses which had been uncovered by a huge storm on the sand dunes, The programme was broadcast on 20 January 2008. When in this area consider an amazing sea kayaking experience, take to the water on a guided tour with Clearwater Paddling from Castlebay and explore a world of beautiful islands and shel.tered bays.

Outer Hebrides motorhome route

The Deserted Village ..Balnabodach which is a small village on the east of Barra, near the Loch are the remains of two earlier settlements, it is in this area that is the main focus of the archaeological studies, the excavations carried out here in 1996 founds artefacts and remains left by iron age people who liver here around 200BC and AD200, the Lochside was obviously a common pace for settlers over many centuries, the oldest artefact found to date is an arrow head of flint with barbs which dates from around 2000 BC, around 250 pieces of pottery have been found which includes, bowls decorated with incised patterns, also found were cutting tools made of flint and scrapers which were used for cleaning skins, however some of the most intriguing finds are from the rubbish left behind by these early settlers. the rubbish left behind by these early settlers betrayed their presence. Nearly 250 pieces of their handmade pottery was found including pieces of bowls decorated with incised patterns.   There were also a some flint tools including a small cutting blade and scrapers for cleaning skins. 

Kisimul Castle  is the Seat of the clan MacNeil from Barra, this is a fully restored pentagon medieval tower house castle , this is the first thing visitors see when they come to Barra on the Oban ferry, this would have been a very difficult castle to capture as its surrounded by sea on all sides, it is a boat journey of around 200 yards from the main street in Castlebay, look out for a large ring of stones on the east side of the landing, which was a fish trap to catch fish when the tide went out, which would have been vital to survival if the castle was under siege, in the great hall is a collection of English bayonetted muskets and pikes which were used at the Battle of Culloden, the toilets are rinsed out by the tide twice daily by the sea tides, a lot of the restoration work was carried out by the Clan chief Robert Lister MacNeil between 1956 & 1970.

Probably the saddest event to ever happen to the Island was in September 1853 when the immigrant sailing ship Annie Jane from Liverpool bound for Canada, struck rocks near the west beach during a storm, the ship broke up within 10 minutes and 450 people were tossed into the raging sea and the rocks.  
 

  

Despite the valiant efforts by the Islanders there were very few survivors, at the site where the bodies were recovered and buried is a cairn with an inscription which reads : "On 28th September 1853 the ship Annie Jane with emigrants from Liverpool to Quebec was totally wrecked in this bay and three fourths of the crew and passengers numbering about 350 men women and children were drowned and their bodies interred here."

The end of our Outer Hebrides motorhome route...  From here take Ferry back to the Mainland to Either to Uig on Isle of Skye or to Oban... then follow our West Coast Route. www.scottishtourer.co.uk/exploring/west-coast-route