Friday, 16 July 2010

cycling in Barra & the Uists

Our recent cycling/camping holiday in the Western Isles. We took the ferry from Oban to Barra, cycled over to Vatersay, back up through Barra, ferry to Eriskay, over the causeway and up through South Uist, around Benbecula and Grimsay, and finally around the west and north of North Uist before getting the ferry from Lochmaddy to Skye. Unlike most cyclists we met (who were getting from A to B the quickest route possible) we took in as many diversions as we could and had a fantastic time.

waiting for the ferry in Oban

camping on Vatersay

over the machair to the beach on Vatersay
Castlebay - with Kisimul Castle in background

in the north of Barra

Tràigh Mhòr, Barra. Just to the left - the famous beach airstrip.
camping spot, Eoligarry in the north of Barra (on the longest day)
Crossing one of the many causeways linking these islands together. This one links Eriskay to South Uist.
Our Lady of the Isles, South Uist

wine & smoked salmon on the shore at Balivanich, Benbecula

Grimsay, lovely Grimsay

Eaval (highest point in North Uist). Didn't climb it this time but it has the most amazing views at the top
Trinity Temple (Teampull na Trionad), Carinish

looking over to Baleshare (where my mother is from) - connected by a causeway to North Uist in the 60s

fat juicy Kallin scallops

the beach at Hosta, North Uist - camping spot for the night

tràigh Ear (from Grenitote)

heading out along the peninsula

Udal Peninsula

camping in Lochmaddy

Top tips for Hebridean cycle happiness....

1- Go with the wind if you can. We were very lucky to have the wind behind us up through South Uist. The week before it was coming from the north.

2- Let cars get past. Lots of single track roads so stop at the side when you see a car coming (or hear one behind you). You're on holiday, others have places to go.

3- Salar flaky smoked salmon, Kallin scallops, Hebridean Smokehouse, MacLeans oatcakes, Am Politician - Eriskay (don't be put off by the exterior), Polochar Inn, tea stops at Kildonan Cafe & Museum, Claddach Kirkibost Centre/Cafe, Taigh Chearsabhagh/Cafe,.......

And one for camping...

4- Whisky

ps. Big thanks to Fergus for giving us a lift to Crianlarich to meet the train for Oban (all for the price of a Lorne sausage roll), Ally & Suzie for allowing us to gatecrash their own holiday not once but twice in the space of a week, my Aunty Kate-Effie for the pit-stop of shower and cup of tea, and Mike from the Isle of Skye brewery for meeting us at the ferry and delivering our bikes back to Perth. What stars!


Buy Design said...

Wow.. You must be super fit. The photos are beautiful.

Ceri E. S. White said...

What an intrepid pair you are! I'm sure you are glowing with health in a most sickening way now!!!!

boo vake said...

Oh I wish those two things were true. Not fit at all Fiona - not such a difficult cycle, very few big climbs, just the wind that can be the killer. And Ceri - if there was a glow it was very short lived! x