Outer Hebrides, bicycle and a tent

This cycle isn’t going to be the one of a professional cyclist aiming to finish the whole Hebridean Way in 2,3 days time. My aim is to explore the Islands landscape, do watercolour sketches and observe how the landscape is changing.

Timescale 3-10/09/2021

Fairly soon I become aware of how far I can cycle in a day and the distance covered.

Looking from Mull I could see the silhouettes of other islands on the horizon. Always wanted to see and be inspired by their vast white beaches.
How can I see most of the Outer Hebrides within a week? I thought to myself.
The Hebridean Way takes 2 weeks to walk. I only had a week available from my homecare work. I decided to set off by hired bike and tent.
With the last spell of summer weather ( hoping to stay dry), without booking any accommodation, trusting in my hired bike and a Vango tent I set off for the unknown adventure.

My journey to the Outer Hebrides started on the 3rd of September with 2 ferry crossings in one day. First I had to take the morning ferry to Oban and then the ferry to Castlebay on the Isle of Barra. I had hired a very slim and lightweight Giant Live touring bike from the Oban Cycle Hire.
My tent and everything potentially useful, I managed to squeeze into a little hired trailer.

It was exciting to sail to the Outer Hebrides for the first time. Seeing the brightly coloured houses of Tobermory when passing by on the ferry.
There wasn’t any blue sky on the day of my sailing but that didn’t matter. I think rainy clouds and sunbeams are more interesting subjects for painting. I wasn’t disappointed when passing the Isle of Tiree on our port deck I saw the most magnificent sunbeams. Straight away I’ve imagined this dramatic landscape as a painting.


Arriving at Barra the sun came out and “lit up” white sandy beaches scattered on many smaller islands next to Barra.

The sailing took 4.5 h arriving in Barra at tea time. After a short stop at the coop supermarket in Castlebay, there was nothing left besides to cycle ahead west in search of a campsite I knew would be open.

The www.visitouterhebrides website has plenty of useful information to help along the Hebridean Way.

On my way, I stopped at the stunning Barra beach situated almost next to the road. The island landscape proved a little more hilly than I’d imagined.

Luckily it turned out it had taken me less than 30 min to cycle to the first campsite, The Borve Campsite. Situated on the west side of the island with a sea view.
Throughout I recommend the facilities, location and hospitality of the managers.

The midges spoiled my first-night camping though. Almost eaten alive before I managed to put my tent up. There was just no wind to keep them away.


Outer Hebrides by bike and tent