Book with confidence for 2021
Looking back at the North Uist hills
Hebridean Way Highlights
Hebrdiean Way Highlights
6 stages . 7 nights

Hebridean Way Highlights
Self-guided walking holiday


Key information Summer 2021 and 2022

Start: Vatersay after night in Castlebay, Barra
End: Stornoway on Lewis
Season dates: 2 May to 17 Sept 2021 and 1 May to 16 Sept 2022
Length: 6 days' walking
Typical walk: 22km, 330m ascent
Total distance: 131km or 81.5 miles
Highest altitude: 250m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups

From GBP 890 per person

The Hebridean Way crosses the chain of ten islands off the West Coast of Scotland, from Vatersay on Barra to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Our Hebridean Way Highlights trip allows you to discover the best sections of the full walk in just one week! Hike along the flowering machair coast and sandy beaches and cross over wild moors and empty peatlands as you venture North.

Launched in 2017, the full route covers 156 miles and links up existing footpaths, road sections, causeways and ferry crossings to showcase the best the Outer Hebrides have to offer. Our Highlights trip option makes use of comfortable taxis to skip some sections and fully concentrate on the best stages of the full route. Enjoy the everchanging landscapes of these remote islands - from the carpet of flowers over the machair (the grass and sand by the beach) on Barra and the Uists, the turquoise sea surrounding Berneray to the stunning beaches of Seilebost and Luskentyre on Harris. You will finish your walk at Stornoway Castle, in the largest settlement in the Outer Hebrides. Watch out for eagles, seals and dolphins on your way, as well as for archaeological remains along the trail - standing stones, chambered cairns and the iconic blackhouses are scattered here and there and keep the unique island history alive.

Our self-guided trips give you the flexibility to walk at your own pace and on any dates within our season. We book your accommodation and taxis along the route, and provide you with our detailed routecards and the maps needed. Privately guided hikes are possible too, where you walk with our International Mountain Leaders; please ask for details.



Map

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different length of trip? Why not try one of these:
Hebridean Way Full - 12 stages, 13 nights
Hebridean Way South - 7 stages, 8 nights
Hebridean Way North - 5 stages, 6 nights
Options
Our Hebridean Way Highlighs trip allows you to see the best sections of the full route in just 6 walking days. We make use of buses or taxis to link up those sections and to travel to and from accommodation off-route if necessary. This makes it quite easy to make the trip shorter or longer, by changing the taxi pick-up points, and spending multiple nights in the same hotel. We advise on the main options below, but please ask up for further options.

Make the trip shorter
The stages on our standard Hebridean Way are already quite long; however, if you’re up for a quick dash across the islands it’s possible to shorten the trip a little. As you will have to take a taxi or public transport between most of the stages, the best way of shortening the trip would be skipping or shortening some of the sections. Please ask and we will be happy to advise.

Make the trip longer
Walking days on the Hebridean Way are quite long, so for anyone looking to shorten the stages of the trek, we are more than happy to advise about splitting up the longer days. For example, on Harris, the long day from Horgabost to Tarbert can be split onto 2, staying at Groesabhagh (or with taxi to Tarbert to stay) and it happens that this would reflect the contrast in scenery between West and East Harris. We advise that the shorter days might mean using more transport on the route, to get to and from the hotels, but that this need not put you off a less challenging pace. Or you could, of course, have a look at our full Hebridean Way if you are looking for a longer trip!

Hike with a leader
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs. Please get in touch for dates and availability on our private guided option. Thank you.
Prices
Hebridean Way Highlights
2 May to 17 Sept 2021 and 1 May to 16 Sept 2022
Hutty Classic Comfy
Self-guided
5 stages
(6 nights)
Please ask
GBP 810
Singles 200

Please ask
6 stages
(7 nights)
Please ask
GBP 890
Singles 225
Main Trip
Please ask
7 stages
(8 nights)
Please ask
GBP 970
Singles 250

Please ask
Private guided
6 stages
(7 nights)
Group of 4 or more
Please ask
GBP 1,590
Singles 225

Please ask
6 stages
( nights)
Group of 1, 2 or 3
Please ask us
Options
Baggage transfer
Please ask us
Accommodation
Where we stay
Our standard schedule of accommodation uses a mix of comfy and welcoming hotels, inns and B&Bs. Breakfast is included every morning and we book ensuite rooms whenever possible. Unlike in the rest of the UK, most villages don’t have a pub or a restaurant, so we make greater use of hotels (with restaurants) than on our other UK holidays. We book accommodation as close to the route as possible, but should any off-route travel be necessary to reach your accommodation, this will be included in your trip. Your info pack contains full details of your accommodation including contact details, any taxis booked, and directions.

Hutty and Comfy
Due to the more limited accommodation options along the Hebridean Way, we don’t currently offer trips using more basic, or more comfy, accommodation than our classic itinerary. If you’d like to customise your accommodation in either of these ways, or in any way, please contact us and we’ll advise on the small ways we can alter your trip.

Single Supplement
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and a double room on a per person basis.


Route
Traigh Iar Beach near Horgabost
Traigh Iar Beach near Horgabost
Our approach to the Hebridean Way
The Hebridean Way is a relatively new walk, launched in 2017. Our Highlights trip gives you the best sections of the full Hebridean Way from Vatersay to Stornoway on Lewis, using two ferries and crossing six causeways. After a careful review of the the route, we have chosen what we think are the 'Highlights' and then use comfortable taxis to connect those stages. Whilst you will still walk at least one section on each of the main islands, our Highlights trip will allow you to move along a little quicker, with more changes in scenery along the way. You will be staying in the comfiest accommodation as close to the route as possible. Every year we recce and update our routecards to inform you of any changes ahead of Summer.

People at Alpine ExploratoryPeople at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's 2020 research on the Hebridean Way was led by Hannah G and Simon Stevens in August


The Terrain
The Hebridean Way terrain comprises wild sections of moorland, narrow hillside paths, farm tracks, and roads. On South Uist in particular the route sticks close to the coast making use of the beaches and paths through the machair. Machair is the low-lying rich grassy plain found on the coast on the exposed North West coastlines of Ireland and Scotland, and in the summer it is covered in a carpet of wildflowers. On moorland sections, peat provides a challenge for maintainting paths, as rocks can sink into the soil, and raised turf paths have been built to show the way and keep feet dry. Old military roads, often running close to today's roads, provide good paths underfoot and are used where possible. There's also time spent walking on roads, including, of course, all the causeways. Many roads are narrow, single-track with passing places, and this includes the main road through the islands to the South of Tarbert.

Is it for me?
The Hebridean Way is a manageable trek for walkers who are happy to walk for between roughly 5 and 8 hours per day along a long-distance trail. Some of the days are a little longer than one might normally plan, due to the location of accommodation. However, the easy flat sections often let the miles pass quicker than expected. The Hebridean Way will suit walkers who are looking for a little isolation in quite a wild location. Shops, cafes and restaurants are few and far between, so planning where to buy food is more important than on other treks.

Difficulty
The challenge of the Hebridean Way comes not in high mountain days but in the general remoteness and wild atmosphere of the Western Isles. The settlements are scarce and on many stages there are few refreshments stops or points of shelter. There is no climbing or scrambling, and very view sections of steep rocky paths. With little ascent and descent, it's important to consider the distances, with the longest day in our normal schedule being 27km.

   For an even more detailed read, please see our Hebridean Way Walking Guide
How to get there
Landing on Barra beach
Landing on Barra Beach




Your holiday starts in the small village of Castlebay on Barra and ends in Stornoway on Lewis, the main town of the Outer Hebrides and a bustling harbour. The quickest way to arrive and depart is to fly directly to the beach airport on Barra and to return from Stornoway airport. Glasgow Airport is the typical hub for these flights to the Western Isles but other UK airports also have links: Edinburgh, Manchester and others. Flight routes, in good weather, show a large portion of the Scottish Highlands.

The ferries also work well: from Oban to Castlebay, then back from Stornoway to Ullapool. The ferries work in conjunction with trains and buses: assuming you reach Glasgow, you would take either train or bus to Oban for the Castlebay ferry. Then once at Ullapool off the Stornoway ferry, you would take the bus to Inverness and then onward bus or train to Glasgow or Edinburgh. Or, fly from Inverness airport.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Included
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Taxis to and from your accommodaiton when needed
  • Detailed Routecards HBW1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 12 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 5 topographical maps needed
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm in the UK)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Our baggage option on the Hebridean Way takes your bag to each night's accommodation. In the morning, simply leave your bag with your host or at reception. We then take it to your next accommodation while you walk.
Got questions about the Hebridean Way Highlights?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Hannah W, Hannah G, or Nicky will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.


Hebridean Way Highlights enquiry form

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Your intended arrival date on the Hebridean Way Highlights? (This helps us give you an idea of availability and doesn't need to be exact)


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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Email info@alpineexploratory.com
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
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Open to the world
Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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Beach on Berneray
  The Northern beach on Berneray is well worth a visit!    Photos from the Hebridean Way


Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.

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