Walking holidays in the UK


Walking the Outer Hebrides

Scotland at its wildest

Taylor St. John
By Taylor St. John

In the westernmost reaches of Scotland, embrace Gaelic culture, archaeological wonders, and remote and wild landscapes.

The Outer Hebrides island chain stretches from Barra in the south past North and South Uist, to Harris and Lewis in the North, with smaller islands dotted throughout. This is Scotland at its wildest, and makes for some excellent walking holidays.

UK Northton Taobh Tuath Isle of Harris Outer Hebrides western isles Scotland

Wild landscapes on the Isle of Harris


If you feel an urge to go further west still, take a boat to the island of St. Kilda where a 3.5 mile loop walk takes you to the highest point on the Hebrides—1,410-foot Conachair—passing abandoned villages, and surrounded by Europe’s largest seabird colony.

Visit the Callanish Stones in Lewis, dating back to 2900 BC, and don’t leave without sampling Stornoway Black Pudding, so coveted it now has its own protected status.

Need to know

Calmac ferries depart from Oban, Mallaig, Ullapool, and also from Uig on Skye. You can then travel the 130-mile length of the islands by connecting ferries and causeways. An easy way to island-hop is with Calmac’s Island Hopscotch ferry ticket, running from Oban up through the islands and back to Ullapool.

Like the Inner Hebrides, island accommodation and car spaces on ferries books up extremely quickly, so it’s best to make your plans well in advance. Travellers can fly with Loganair to Benbecula, Stornoway or Barra (the only airport in the world where scheduled flights use the beach as a runway.)

Where to go walking in the Outer Hebrides

While the Western Isles offers walks for all ages and abilities, the most mountainous terrain can be found on Harris.

Challenge yourself to climb Clisham (An Cliseam) via the more moderate direct route or the far longer (7-9 hours) and tougher horseshoe. The Hebridean Way stretches 156 miles across ten islands from Vatersay to Lewis.

The walking route threads through open moorland, past bald and rugged hills, across machair and white-sand beaches that appear tropical until your toes touch the cold North Atlantic water—a truly Scottish experience.

About the author

Walking the Outer Hebrides

Taylor St. John

Taylor is a freelance travel journalist based between Glasgow and the east coast of the U.S. She writes for publications like HuffPost UK, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Country Walking, easyJet Traveller and Orkney.com.

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