Find your ideal cycling holiday
Scotland - Outer Hebrides & St Kilda
30th June 2020 - 9th July 2020 (10 days)
Starting from Oban and using ferries, we travel through the islands of Barra, Eriskay, Uist, Harris and Lewis before returning to Inverness via Ullapool. On Harris we have three days with a boat trip to St Kilda and also enough time to see more of the island rather than just passing through. On Lewis we visit the 5,000 year old Callanish standing stones and the blackhouse village of Gearrannan. The islands are very sparsely populated, and many roads will be single track with little traffic. A lot of the route is very flat, with the main exception being Harris. There are countless beautiful sandy beaches, so do bring your swimming gear. Mostly hotels with breakfasts and one dinner included, with luggage transferred between hotels.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Martin Jamieson
- Grade Challenging
- Booking Status Places Available
- Accommodation Hotel & Guesthouse
- Board Basis B&B
- Travel Arrangements Ferry
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Luggage Transfer
- Holiday Ref 03488
Tuesday 30th June
We meet at Oban pier at 1230 where lunch from the fish stall is recommended. The CalMac ferry to Barra can be boarded at 1300 for the 1330 sailing, arriving in Castlebay at 1815. Stay 2 nights. Meals: None
Wednesday 1st July
Cycling south we cross the causeway to Vatersay and then cycle along the coast where there are two beautiful beaches. On the way look out for the remains of a WW2 Catalina aircraft that crashed in May 1944. We then cycle back to the causeway and continue our circular tour of Barra, cycling up the west coast and north to the sandy beach airport, where there is a cafe. It is quite a sight to see the planes land on the beach. An easy day to enjoy the scenery. 26 miles (2,031ft total ascent). Meals: B
Thursday 2nd July
We leave the hotel at 0930 to catch the 1110 CalMac ferry to Eriskay. We then follow the National Cycle Network, also signposted the Machair Way, up the spine of Uist to Lochmaddy, our overnight. Using much quieter roads than the main road where possible, the mileage is quite long but it is pretty flat. 64 miles. Stay 1 night. Meals: B
Friday 3rd July
Today we need to leave at 0900 prompt to cycle the flat 10 miles to Bernerary to catch the 1025 CalMac ferry to Leverburgh (Harris). The last few miles on Berneray are particularly pretty. Arriving at 1125 we'll then cycle up the hilly and dramatic east coast to Tarbert (golden road), our overnight. 27 miles (2,391 ft ascent). Although only half the distance of yesterday this is likely to be a harder day but it doesn't matter if we only make slow progress, plus the views are fantastic. 37 miles. Stay 3 nights. Meals: B
Saturday 4th July
Day trip to St Kilda, which is likely to be the highlight of the tour for most people. An early start as we need to catch the 0705 bus to Leverburgh for the 0800 sailing. On arrival back at Leverburgh there will be a minibus transfer back to the hotel. St Kilda is dramatic, remote and totally spectacular (see Rides & Rest Days). Meal: B
Sunday 5th July
Circular tour of Harris and a chance to see the west coast and the beautiful beaches, especially at Luskentyre. There is the option of treating this as a shorter day, perhaps just cycling to Luskentyre and back or having a rest day. 47 miles. Meals: B
Monday 6th July
We cycle across the hills from Harris to the fairly flat land on Lewis. Do stop and look back towards Harris. Originally these hills separated the land into two islands with transport by sea. Before Balallan there is the option of lunch at the Loch Erisort Inn, about a mile off our route, before continuing to our overnight in Stornoway. 36 miles (2,549ft total ascent). Stay 2 nights. Meals: B
Tuesday 7th July
A circular ride with fabulous scenery and two main tourist attractions, the spectacular standing stones at Callanish (one of several standing stone rings, but this is probably the largest) and the restored blackhouse village and museum at Gearrannan (to see how island life used to be). Both have cafes. 48 miles (912ft total ascent). Meals: B
Wednesday 8th July
Today you can relax and walk around Stornoway, and maybe visit Lews Castle and grounds. If you wish to have one last ride on Lewis there will be a short ride towards Bridge to Nowhere. We need to be at the harbour at 1430 for the 1530 CalMac ferry to Ullapool, arriving 1800. Stay 1 night. Meals: B D
Thursday 9th July
Today we cycle from coast to coast, starting in the west with an uphill out of Ullapool, before stopping at the spectacular Corrieshalloch Gorge and then for lunch at the roadside cafe in Garve. Then along quiet roads and cycle paths along the shore of the beautiful Beauly Firth. In North Kessock there are a couple of choices for an afternoon stop before continuing on the cycle path to Inverness station, where the tour ends. 56 miles. Meals: B
Meals: B = Breakfast D = Dinner
Accommodation & Meals
Staying in hotels with 2- to 3-stars, one no stars, with two nights at a 4-star guesthouse. sharing rooms. As hotel accommodation is limited on the islands no single occupancy is available. All breakfasts and one dinner are included. We will mostly be dining in the hotels we are staying in. Vegetarian meals will be available if indicated on the Booking Form, although choice may be limited.
There will be a vehicle to transfer luggage between the hotels. However, should it need to be used for medical or mechanical problems you should be able and willing to transport your own panniers.
Obtaining travel insurance is optional for UK residents as your Cycling UK membership provides third party cover. However, this does not cover any other risks such as cancellation charges, personal injury or lost property. We therefore strongly recommend that suitable insurance is taken out to safeguard against such risks. Members who do not reside in the UK are not covered for third party and are advised to obtain suitable cover before leaving their normal residence. If you already have an annual policy, you may need to confirm that it will cover a UK holiday or make provision for it to do so.
The price of £1,331 is based on a minimum number of 8 people taking part in the holiday. If there are insufficient bookings by 21st April 2020, we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the holiday may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.
- Ferry from Oban to Barra and from Stornoway to Ullapool
- 7 nights hotel, 2 nights guesthouse, sharing room
- 9 breakfasts, 1 dinner
- Luggage transfer
- Other ferries as detailed in the Itinerary
- Day trip to St Kilda
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Drinks with dinner
- Lunches or refreshments during the day
- Entry fees at at any attractions visited
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
A deposit of £200 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £1,131 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 21st April 2020.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 21st April 2020
From 21st April 2020 through to departure
Rides & Rest Days
Most of each day will be spent cycling as we travel through the islands, with many opportunities to stop and admire the views. Inevitably, parts of the route are very hilly, so you do need to be fit to get the most out of this tour and it is essential to get out on your bike and do some 50-mile hilly rides before the tour starts.
The crossing to St Kilda takes 2 hour 45 minutes, with 4 hours 45 minutes then spent on the Island (timings subject to the weather). Sailing with Kilda Cruises - https://www.kildacruises.co.uk/. If you are subject to travel sickness you may find the boat a challenge but once there you will feel it was worth it.
If you would prefer not to include the trip to St Kilda please mention this to the Tour Manager when registering your interest in the Tour. This would reduce the tour price by £235.
Accommodation & Meals
On most days we'll stop at a cafe or inn for a light lunch.
There are railway stations at Oban and Inverness at the start and end of the tour.
The maximum number of participants will be 20 excluding the Tour Manager(s).
Weather & Clothing
The weather in the Outer Hebrides can be quite variable. We have been very lucky in recent years having dry and often sunny weather. However, we are going quite far north, so warm clothing and waterproofs are essential - as well as sunscreen.
Cycles & Equipment
A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB is suitable for this tour. You should ensure your cycle is well maintained, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes. A low bottom gear (e.g. small chainring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended. If you are unsure about gears, please discuss with the Tour Manager. Mudguards are optional but show courtesy to those who are following you in wet weather. Lights are recommended but might not prove essential. New tyres are recommended of at least 28mm diameter. Participants will be expected to carry each day sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs. Helmets are your personal choice.
Maps & Guides
The Hebrides by Peter May and David Wilson is a beautiful photographic guide to the Hebrides. St Kilda by Colin Baxter is also lovely. The Cicerone guide to Cycling in the Hebrides is also very useful. The Philip's Red Books Leisure and Tourist Map Outer Hebrides (scale of 1:200,000) covers our route through the islands.