Book with confidence for 2021
The remoteness of the Outer Hebrides

Hebridean Way South
Self-guided trekking holiday


Key information Summer 2021

Start: Vatersay after night in Castlebay, Barra
End: Berneray followed by a night in Lochmaddy
Season dates: 2 May to 17 Sep 2021
Length: 7 days' walking
Typical walk: 23km, 210m ascent
Total distance: 150km or 93 miles
Highest altitude: 250m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups

The Hebridean Way South route is a week long hike over 8 Scottish islands, linked by 6 causeways and one ferry crossing. Hike around the remote hills on Barra, up the beautiful untouched coasts of South Uist and over the rugged moorlands on North Uist. Experience the charm of the small island communities and local hospitality surrounded by the iconic rugged scenery and wild seascapes that dominate the landscape.

The walking is steady going on the southern section of our Hebridean Way. The fairly long distances are balanced by mostly flat terrain, and the miles go by quickly with the ever-changing scenery. The exception to this is the first day over Vatersay and Barra, where rougher ground with more ascent and descent dominates the day. In spring and summer the islands are alive with wildlife, look out for oyster catchers, otters, seals, and even the giant white tailed eagle. The prevalence of Gaelic culture is also still visible from the road signs and town names; most settlements have an English and a Gaelic name.

We organise self-guided trips of the Hebridean Way South, giving you the chance to walk the route at your own pace and on your desired dates. Shorter and longer hikes are possible and we can adjust the holiday so you can complete the holiday in a way that suits you. Alternatively, if you want to hike with a guide, please just ask us for details.



Map

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip? Why not try one of these:
Hebridean Way Full - 12 stages, 13 nights
Hebridean Way North - 5 stages, 6 nights
Options
Our main route of 7 stages allows you to complete the entire route without any unduly long days. The limited accommodation along the route means that taxi or bus transfers are needed to get to and from the end points of the route to the hotels. This means it's quiet 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 do just get in touch 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. For 6 stages we suggest walking from Eriskay to Carinish in 3 stages, with an end point at Howmore and Baile nan Calleach. Please ask us for more details of shorter routes if you’re up for a challenge!

Make the trip longer
Walking days on the Hebridean Way are quite long. In part this is due to the location of accommodation, so it isn’t always easy to make the days shorter, however there is some flexibility. For an 8 stage trip we suggest splitting the 2 long days between Drimsdale and Carinish into 3 shorter days, with the end points being in Creagorry and Baile nan Calleach. Transfers may be needed to get to nearby accommodation as accommodation is very limited.

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and all 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. If your group would like a guide for your trip, please get in touch for more details.
Prices
Hebridean Way (Self-guided)
2 May to 17 September 2021
Hutty Classic Comfy
7 stages
(8 nights)
Please ask
GBP 780
Singles 200
Main Trip
Please ask
Hebridean Way Full (Self-guided)
12 stages
(13 nights)

Please ask
GBP 1,090
Singles 325
Please ask
Hebridean Way North: Harris & Lewis (Self-guided)
5 stages
(6 nights)
Please ask
GBP 640
Singles 150
Please ask
Options
Baggage transfer
All stops
Please ask
Baggage transfer
Direct
Please ask


Accommodation
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 some taxi or bus transfers to nearby accommodaiton are needed to get to accommodaiton. Your info pack contains full details of your accommodation including contact details 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 specialise your accommodation in either of these ways, 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
Footpath on North Uist
Footpath on North Uist
Our approach to the Hebridean Way
The Hebridean Way is a relatively new walk, launched in 2017. Our Hebridean Way South trip gives a complete journey on foot from Vatersay, to Berneray using one ferry and crossing six causeways. You will be staying in the comfiest accommodation as close to the route as possible, but buses or taxis will be needed to get to and from your next hotel or B&B on some nights. Every year we recce and update our routecards to inform you of any changes over the winter.

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 the moorland sections, peat provides a challenge for maintaining 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, but there is still a lot of road walking on the route, including, of course, all the causeways.

Is it for me?
The Hebridean Way South is a manageable trek for fit 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 for due the location of accommodation. However, the easy flat sections often let the miles pass quicker than expected. The Hebridean Way South will suit walkers who are looking for a week long adventure in a remote and 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 there are few refreshments stops or points of shelter on many stages. There is no climbing or scrambling, and very few sections of steep rocky paths. With little ascent and descent, the sometimes quite long distances are the key thing to consider, 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
A plane on Barra's beach airport
A plane on Barra's beach airport


Your holiday starts in the small village of Castlebay on Barra and ends in Lochmaddy, a small village in North Uist. The quickest way to arrive and depart is to fly directly to the beach airport on Barra. The ferries also work well, from Oban to get to Castlebay and back from Lochmaddy to Uig on the Isle of Skye.

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
  • Detailed Routecards HBW1-7 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 3 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 and we will make sure that it will be waiting for you at your next accommodation.

Booking form for the Hebridean Way South
2021

Your dates

Arrival day


First walking day


Departure day


Your party


Please add any more people in the Comments box below.
If you are adding to an existing booking, please give the main contact's details and just the new people. Thanks.

Number of people in your group


Main contact

Party member 2

Party member 3

Party member 4

Party member 5

Party member 6

Party member 7

Party member 8

Contact details


Address and post/zip code (For the delivery of your pack)


Email address


Telephone (Mobile)


Telephone (Home)


Party's details


Medical conditions relevant to a walking holiday?
(Please tell us in confidence. Thank you.)


Vegetarians, special diets or allergies?


Room types?


Dogs?


Please could we ask your dogs' type (breed or size?) Thanks


Baggage transfer


Baggage transfer?


Differences from the normal trip


Differences if any (extra nights, comfy or hutty mix, fewer rest days, etc.)?


Party's walking experience


Please may we ask for details of everyone's experience?
Especially helpful are names of trails, national parks, peaks or regular hikes. Thank you.


Main contact


Party member 2


Party member 3


Party member 4


Party member 5


Party member 6


Party member 7


Party member 8


Please add any more people in the Comments box below. Thanks.

Emergency contact


Please tell us about a friend or relative who we can contact in the event of emergency during your holiday.

Name


Telephone number


Relationship to you


Comments or questions?


Please ask any questions or tell us anything else:

Optionally, to help us


Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!



If a friend recommended us may we ask who it was? We might send a thank you!


Check and submit


Payment
We will reply to your booking form with a confirmation email giving the details of your balance and deposit amounts.
We'll send you instructions to pay your deposit by card, bank transfer, or cheque.
Your deposit will be 20% of the cost of your trip with a minimum of GBP 200 per person.
Your balance is due 8 weeks before your trip and we'll email you with a reminder.


Terms and Conditions
By submitting this form you confirm that you have read and agreed to Alpine Exploratory's Terms and Conditions (PDF).
In particular, as the main contact you confirm that:
+ Everyone in the group has read and agreed to the T&Cs.
+ Everyone in the group has the fitness and experience for the trip.
Please ask us if you have any questions. Thank you.



Got questions about the Hebridean Way South?
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 South enquiry form

Your name


Your email address


Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!


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


How many people will you be?


Any questions or preferences?


If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!

Contact Alpine Exploratory
Email info@alpineexploratory.com
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
Our times 9am to 5pm UK time
Monday to Friday
Australia 02 8319 2266
Canada 416-548-4819
Hong Kong 25 803 0282
New Zealand 04 889 4515
USA 646-757-1102

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.

Flowers on South Uist
  Flowers on South Uist    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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