After a scenic ferry from Oban or a flight landing on the beach runway on Barra, your trip begins on arrival at your accommodation in Castlebay. This small village with two hotels is the largest settlement on the island.
Hotel in Castlebay (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 24km with 620m ascent, 620m descent
From Castlebay take a bus to Vatersay to begin the Hebridean Way. The walk starts with one of its most challenging days. There are three distinct climbs, and in good weather there are great views over Barra, back to the mainland and out across the Atlantic. With sections in the hills and the classic Hebridean beaches, this day offers a preview of all to come in the rest of the walk. From the Pier at Ardmhor, take the bus back to Castlebay for a second night.
Hotel in Castlebay (breakfast)
Blue 2 (grade) 18.5km with 50m ascent, 50m descent
After a morning bus back to Ardmhor, catch the ferry to Eriskay. Passing across Eriskay and over the causeway onto South Uist, the day has a feeling of moving through the islands. This extremely flat day of walking is split into 2 sections: the first is predominantly on roads, and the second is the Machair Way along the coast.
Hotel in Dalabrog (breakfast)
Blue 3 (grade) 23km with 35m ascent, 35m descent, 480m descent
Today's route stays on South Uist and begins by continuing on the Machair Way for 16.5km until Howmore. Views to the Right show South Uist's mountains, including the highest Beinn Mhor, and to the Left the Atlantic stretches out. The day ends with a short road section, passing through villages. From the main road at Drimsdale, travel back to Dalabrog for a second hotel night.
Hotel in Dalabrog (breakfast)
Blue 3 (grade) 23km with 80m ascent, 85m descent
Moving away from the coast, today showcases the moorland of the Hebridean Way, walking through a seemingly endless number of lochs. Stunning views accross the South Uist hills characterise this section. The day finishes with a road stretch to move on to our fifth island: Benbecula.
Hotel in Liniclate (breakfast)
Red 3 (grade) 27km with 250m ascent, 250m descent
Continuing across Benbecula and briefly crossing Grimsay before arriving onto North Uist, the highlight of today's walk is the ascent of Benbecula's highest hill. Although only 124m high, Ruabhal commands fantastic 360 degree views. On a clear day you can see St Kilda out to the West and to the South East, the Cuillin Ridge on Skye.
Inn in Carinish (breakfast)
Blue 2 (grade) 18.5km with 200m ascent, 200m descent
Today crosses North Uist and is a day of three distinct parts. Start the day with a stretch of moorland broken by a short section of single track road, before arriving at Langass Lodge, an old hunting lodge. Then head up the hill behind the lodge, past an old stone cirle. Lastly, finish the day with a flat stretch along the old road, and later the main road before heading into Lochmaddy. This is the largest village on North Uist.
Hotel in Lochmaddy (breakfast)
Blue 2 (grade) 18km with 250m ascent, 250m descent
The last day on the of the route takes you through flat moorland and over a small hill pass, before crossing the final causeway of the trip to reach Berneray. If time allows it's worth exploring Berneray a little more before heading back to Lochmaddy for your final night.
Hotel in Lochmaddy (breakfast)
Enjoy your last breakfast in Lochmaddy before departing from the trip. If you have the time, we'd also recommen visiting the Taigh Chearsabhaghthe Trust before taking the ferry to to Uig on Skye for the scenic journey onwards.
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.
Hebridean Way (Self-guided)
2 May to 17 September 2021
||Hebridean Way Full (Self-guided)|
||Hebridean Way North: Harris & Lewis (Self-guided)|
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.
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and a double room on a per person basis.
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.
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.
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
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.
- 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)
- 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 transferOur 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
Hebridean Way South enquiry form
If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!
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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.
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.