Hebridean Way: 17th-20th May 2019 - company sought!

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  • I'm planning to ride the Hebridean Way on these dates, before linking up with my family for a holiday. If anyone's interested I'd love some company!

    I'll post a full itinerary later, but essentially you'd need to be in Glasgow to get a train at 8am on the Friday (or alternatively be in Oban by lunchtime the same day), and we would wind up in Stornoway late doors on the Sunday. My own plan would be to get the ferry over to Ullapool on the Monday morning. From there it's a 1.5 hour train ride to Inverness, and then a somewhat longer train ride back to London's Famous London.

    2.5 days' riding: a 30km evening spin on day 1. 120km with a ferry at either end on day 2. 200km on day 3 before collapsing in a heap at Stornoway ferry terminal. Full details to follow.

  • I would love to do this however the dates don't work for me but planning to do something similar if I can.

    Also I don't think there is a train from Ullapool to Inverness. It looks like a bus which not sure they'd take bikes.

  • 10 years ago when I did this, the bus took bikes. Otherwise you have a further 50k to Garve to pick up a train.

  • Following with much interest. What are your plans for accommodation?

  • This looks great! I'm going to be on a little tour of the inner hebrides and up the west coast that same week. When you're waiting for your ferry in Oban make sure you get a sandwich from the green fish shack by the port - they also do amazing oysters.

  • If you do this,
    you MUST stay in the Berneray hostel. One of the most special places on earth.
    Sit outside on the rocks watching the sunset and otters on the shore, looking over to Skye. 10/10

    http://www.gatliff.org.uk/berneray-hoste­l/

  • The ride in (and out!) of Reinigeadal, and the hostel there is also incredible. Also don't miss out the golden road on south Harris.

  • When we cycled the Hebrides a few years ago we used the bike bus to get from Ullapool to Inverness-seems to have gone up a lot in price though, I remember it being about £20 each! https://www.tickettoridehighlands.co.uk/­durness-bike-bus.php

  • The couple who used to run it retired a few years ago, and the company changed.

  • Blimey, this crept up on me a bit.

    On further investigation, the ferry timetables are a lot more forgiving than I had expected, assuming they run according to plan. My belief is therefore still that this trip is still achievable as planned.

    I'll be working in the Preston area on Thursday 16th May, from where I will travel to Glasgow by train in the evening. My intention is to catch the 0822 train from Glasgow Queen Street to Oban on the 17th, then the 1330 ferry to Castlebay, which lands at 18:15. From there it looks to be about a 30km ride to take in the southern end of Vatersay, then back up to Ardmhor, where I've booked a bunk house for the night.

    The next couple of days are the substance of the trip. Day 2 starts and ends with a ferry. The 0925 from Ardmhor to Eriskay and the 17:20 from Bernary to Leverburgh respectively. I certainly hope the intervening 7 and three quarter hours should be sufficient to manage 120km. Accommodation is booked in Leverburgh.

    Day 3 is a long one - 200km from Leverburgh to the top of Lewis and back down to Stornoway. Then the ferry to Ullapool the following morning. Family are travelling from London to Inverness, and then to Torridon on the Monday, so I'll work my way down the coast on that day, assuming the legs are up to it.

    Day 1: https://www.komoot.com/tour/61142892
    Day 2: https://www.komoot.com/tour/61143393
    Day 3: https://www.komoot.com/tour/61143533

  • Now I just need to fix my bike.

    This trip is not my idea. It was conceived by @upstart, to whom I am indebted for the above routes. It was a multi-day ride to his wedding in southern France last September that gave me the overweening confidence I could manage a multi-day trip of this sort.

    Unfortunately, since a particularly gnarly London-Brighton off-road trip last November, my CX/gravel/overspecced bikepacking bike doesn't work quite as well as it should.

    Hopefully a hydraulic bleed tomorrow will sort it.

    Accommodation is booked (other than Glasgow), which means I am hoping to avoid sleeping in ditches. That also means I am hoping to get by without carrying bedding/tent. Maybe next time.

  • Looks like the mini heatwave will reach the west coast next week - good for the start of your trip (and mine!), but I'm still taking proper weather gear with me just in case... I'd also recommend Smidge midge repellent - very effective without using DDT.

  • This appears to be actually happening. Train gets into Oban in about 20 mins, and I've got a ticket for the 1:30 ferry.

    Whatever happens from here, I did at least start it, and that feels like a mission in itself. Since Wednesday lunchtime I've been Train Bike Train Bike Bus Bus Bike Train Bike Walk Bike Train. Some of which had been quite pleasant (see below), but some a little boring.

    But now the fun starts.


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  • Scotrail bike storage a significant upgrade on Virgin trains. As was the booking process.


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  • Awesome - well jell. The feeling of getting to the western isles after a mammoth journey is a special one. I recently camped on the edge of Islay with the family. We'd stopped off plenty on the way up from London, but arriving at our campsite, on the edge of the world after days of travelling really helped with the feeling of being "out there".

    After one particularly amazing trip to Colonsay I actually cried a little bit on the ferry home (I was very tired, the sunset was amazing and the beer delicious, but also really didn't want to go back to the office 24 hours later).

    Looks like the winds could be kinder on Saturday for you, but they are waning for your big day on Sunday. Enjoy!

  • So jealous - this is one of my favourite places on earth. +1 to the hostel at Berneray.

  • Two days down, one to go. Sadly I haven't made it to the Berneray hostel this time, but can confirm the Leverburgh Bunkhouse is clean, comfortable, warm and well-equipped.

    The last two days have been great. Friday was just the kind of unbelievable magic day that almost never happens. Bright sunshine. Properly warm and sunny, and the views around Barra were like nothing I've seen. The ferry arrived about 6:30pm, I had a short 30km spin around the southern end of the chain to knock off the miles, and arrived at my bunkhouse a bit after 8pm.

    Today's been harder. I had assumed that heading South to North would mean tailwinds for most of the time. Not the case today. I took the first ferry from Ardmhor (0700), and was glad I had. It meant I could afford the time for detours/sightseeing /general bimbling, rather than feeling as though I had to smash it into a headwind just to make the last ferry to Harris.

    And there's the rub. In a sense I've been hoist by my own petard here. I had to get to Harris tonight, as tomorrow is a big day (200km), and I am short of the form I would need to do it easily. The plan was always to start early at Leverburgh and finish late at Stornoway. If I were planning this again I wouldn't plan to do the whole of Harris and Lewis on a Sunday. Nothing is open. Nothing. So I've bought what I can from Leverburgh Co-op, and will make up some falafel pitta for the road. The good news is, the wind looks like it might be less unhelpful, there's a bail out point at the Callanish stones, and I understand from my bunkmates that the far northern end is not the absolute highlight in terms of riding, scenery or sights. So let's see.

    Anyway, here's the last two days:
    https://strava.app.link/XE5Y63HwNW
    https://strava.app.link/MJlpdcMwNW

  • The start


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  • Barra


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  • And again


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  • This guy


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  • Gramspam 1


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Hebridean Way: 17th-20th May 2019 - company sought!

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