The Freedom of the Isles holiday sets you up with all that’s necessary for a one-way adventure by bicycle – there’s even an electric bike option (supplement £10 per day). During a leisurely 8 nights holiday, you’ll get to see nature and places that are virtually invisible to a car-driver or passenger. *From £544 after £25 discount for Stornoway start.
A holiday with bike hire included for a fantastic, pedal powered end to end island hopping experience
Starting and finishing in Stornoway (Lewis) and Barra, you can choose the travel direction according to your preference. Collect your bikes on arrival and leave them at your accommodation when you leave. All the bikes are regularly serviced during the season so that they can be expected to whisk you safely along the 140 mile route.
An enthusiastic, fit cyclist on his or her road-bike could easily cover the entire journey in 2 days – maybe even one – but we have designed this itinerary with the intention that it should be suitable for adults of all ages and who may have only the moderate level of fitness of a typical 50 year old. We do not consider that an end-to-end cycling holiday of this type is suitable for under-12s. There’s also plenty of time within the schedule to wander off down a side road to see what’s at the end, or to spend a sunny afternoon lying down on a sandy beach. If you want to do the journey faster or bring your own bike, just talk to one of our advisors, who will be happy to prepare a new quote for a lesser number of days or a holiday without bike hire.
We provide helmets, panniers and a mini-toolkit with each bike. Ideally, you should travel here with a foldable/rollable rucksack or soft bag, which you can empty into the panniers, then attach it with bungees to the rack top. Total capacity of the two panniers is about 40 litres. The bikes are all hybrid style, built for comfort, reliability and robustness. Wide range derailleur gears mean that you’ll be riding most hills rather than walking. The bikes have mudguards, rack and decent size tyres, with front suspension to help soak up the bumps.
At the end of each day, there will be a comfortable bed waiting for you at each accommodation of your choice – whether you have selected B&B’s, four-star hotels or a mix of properties, we’re certain you’ll enjoy wonderful hospitality.
What cycling experience is necessary?
Riding a bike in the Hebrides is much like riding a bike anywhere else. However, with a daily distance to cycle that may be 25 or 30 miles and confirmed accommodation to reach by late afternoon, you are making a commitment to yourself that you will achieve the day’s target. Although that’s easy on a sunny day with a tailwind, even if it’s rainy and the wind is against your travel direction, you need to be prepared to cover the distance (or find a large taxi and be prepared to pay the fare).
You’ll need to understand that occasional small tasks, such as adjusting a mudguard, changing handlebar/saddle heights or puncture repairs may be necessary during your travel (using the tools we provide with the bikes). If there’s a more serious fault with a bike, we’ll fix up a rescue, but it’s not practical to send a mechanic a considerable distance to tighten a nut or mend a puncture. So, before undertaking this holiday, you should have learned and practiced such minor repairs so that you’re confident you won’t be walking several miles, pushing a bike with a flat tyre.
A typical 8 night itinerary
Although you are at liberty to pick your places to stay and time to stay in each, we have produced this very leisurely itinerary to provide average daily cycling distances of between 20 and 30 miles, not counting diversions to explore side roads along the way. If you want to do it differently, one of our holiday advisors would be happy to discuss your plans with you, to help you create your own unique Hebridean experience.
Our accommodation example options 1 and 2 cover the following itinerary (approximately).
|Day 1||Morning departure from Ullapool for your crossing to Stornoway (Lewis). Collect your bike and have an easy day.||Lewis|
|Day 2||A gentle ride over rolling moorland to spend the night at a country inn, 17 miles south of Stornoway.||Lewis|
|Day 3||Today, tackle the steepest (and only significant) climb of the holiday as you cross the Clisham and then descend to Tarbert, the capital of Harris (22 miles – including a mile or so that you’re likely to choose to walk).||Harris|
|Day 4||An easier day today, ambling along beside the Harris beaches, taking time off along the way, to reach Leverburgh in South Harris. (19 miles)||Harris|
|Day 5||After crossing by ferry to Berneray, you have a choice of three routes through North Uist to stay the night a little north of Benbecula. (20 to 23 miles)||North Uist|
|Day 6||Today, make a diversion or two around some of the side roads as you travel to the south coast of South Uist to spend the night in a seaside inn. (30 miles)||South Uist|
|Day 7||You can reach the ferry from Eriskay to Barra in less than an hour from last night’s accommodation. It’s worth spending time on Eriskay to explore a little, before catching your ferry. Upon reaching Barra, all accommodation choices are within about 9 miles.||Barra|
|Day 8||Tour the Isle of Barra by making a full trip around the circular road – if feeling energetic, take the high road followed by the causeway to Vatersay, before spending a second night in your chosen Barra accommodation.||Barra|
|Day 9||An early morning departure from Castlebay for the scenic ferry crossing to Oban|
Travelling by ferry, you can choose to begin your holiday in Oban or Ullapool and foot passenger fares are included in the prices below. We can arrange air transfers between Glasgow/Barra (land on the beach) and Stornoway/Glasgow (or vice versa) – return cost is about £160.
If you are travelling by car from the south, leaving your car at Glasgow international airport, then making the rest of your journey to and from the Hebrides by air, train or coach is a good way to avoid having to return the length of the Outer Hebrides to collect your car.
You will need to mix and match between accommodation price groups, so please consider these prices as a guide. One of our travel advisors will be happy to work out a complete itinerary for you – please just give us a call.
We do not advise cycle holidays outside of April to September, due to the increased likelihood of stormy weather
|Example prices including pedal cycle hire
£25 discount p/p for Stornoway start
|01/04/15 – 30/09/15|
Brae Lea House
Croit na h-Aibhne
|Option 2Cabarfeidh Hotel
Loch Erisort Inn
charge for electric bikes.
Each bike per night
|Extra Nights: The extra night prices shown are for additional B&B only. Our holiday adviser will provide more information for you. Prices shown in this panel are per person, based on two adults travelling together and sharing a twin or double room. Per person prices will generally be higher for one person in a room and lower for three or more. Please ask our advisor for more information.|