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Scotland's Gardens and Landscapes with Green Alba

The Western Isles – Outer Hebrides 2012

Monday 18 June.

Pick up at City Chambers George Square Glasgow at 9 am and travel to Stornoway on Lewis. HEBS Independent Hostel, self catering, for overnight stay. Booked.

Tuesday 19 June.

AM. Stornoway. You will have some time to see the main town and capital of the Western Isles.

PM. The Butt of Lewis through miles of moorland to rich agricultural land.

Watch out for Peat Cutting and peat stacks. Local people have a right to cut peat for their own use for burning but cannot sell it or give it away as part of the drive to conserve peat as it has captured so much carbon.

South to Arnol to visit a black house as it would have been 100 years ago. The black house village of Gearrannan will be our resting place for the night. We have rented a black house for an overnight stay. It can take 16 people so our party of 8 will have plenty room. Visit Callinish and the wonderful standing stones.



Luskentyre in South Harris.


Wednesday 20 June.

Over the mountains to Harris through a “moonscape” of rock and water. Opportunity to visit a Harris Tweed producer. Visit the Hebridean Smokehouse on the Isle of North Uist and sample salmon and scallops smoked in peat smoke.

On to the island of Berneray and the Gatliffe Trust hostel which is self catering. The hostels are Black Houses and are very basic so please be prepared to rough it. Bring a torch as you may need to go outside to access the toilets. Drink in the atmosphere of this cosy little island with amazing beaches. The hostel cannot been booked in advance. We simply claim a bed on arrival.

Thursday 21 June.

Explore North Uist, and Benbecula. Visit beaches and machair on the west coast and if we are lucky see vast carpets of wild flowers for which the Western Isles is famous at this time of year. Seasons and timing of these events change from year to year. We can only hope to see a wonderfull spectacle which attracts botanists from all over the world.

Overnight stay at Howmore Hostel, Self Catering, which is another Black House. Not booked. Claim a bed on arrival.

Friday 22 June

Enjoy South Uist and explore Barra. This is a beautiful island and a great place to relax.

We are booked into the Dunard Hostel which commands a great view over Castle Bay and Kismul Castle. If we are lucky in the evening we will be able to listen and dance to the Vatersay Boys band in a local hotel. Brilliant!

Saturday 23 June. Enjoy a full day relaxing on Barra and a visit to the island of Vatersay the most southerly island we can reach over causeways by vehicle. Have a dip in the Atlantic if you are brave enough or just walk the fantastic beaches.

Subject to early booking we can enjoy a meal in the Kisimul Restaurant overlooking Kisimul Castle. Food excellent, service excellent – a great way to round off our week on the Western Isles.

Sunday 24 June.

A sad time and tears are often shed but its time to leave the islands. Sail from Castlebay, Barra at 9-20 am to Oban. The beautiful five hour crossing is like a cruise and if you are lucky you might see whales and other sea life in the Minches. We saw Minke Whales on the crossing last year. Home to Glasgow in the evening.

General information.

The programme is subject to change depending on prevailing circumstances.

Please bring strong walking boots or walking shoes. We hope to enjoy a reasonable amount of exercise as we travel. Bring waterproofs as the weather can be wild next to the Atlantic Ocean.

Please note that the Black Houses are very basic. Be prepared to rough it there. Carry a torch as you may want to use it when you navigate around in unfamiliar territory both indoors and out. We will aim to arrive early at these hostels to secure beds.

To save you from carrying groceries to the start point we will stop at a Supermarket each day to give you the opportunity to buy fresh produce for self catering. There is no shortage of places to shop when you are on the move.

The summer can be good for midges. Be prepared and bring your Midge Repellent with you. If you do not have a favourite that works for you try Avon Skin So Soft. My son Jamie used it successfully on his wild camping expeditions to Arran and the Arrocher Alps.

Any questions? Contact me if you need clarification or more information.

An expedition is an adventure. Thank you for being prepared to share the adventure with me and our fellow travellers.

Brian Sutherland – Guide Driver.

0141 633 2228


Evening walk near the black house hostel on Bernery 2011.