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Scottish Islands

danm99danm99 Posts: 22
edited July 2012 in Tour & expedition
Got a three week trip in August coming up, touring the islands, westcoast, Skye etc......anyone have any experience?

Posts

  • gloomyandygloomyandy Posts: 520
    Did a weeks tour of Oban/Barra/Uists/Harris/Skye/Ardnamyrchan/Mull/Oban about a month ago. Used hostels and camping. Had a great time. Love that part of the world and the ferries make it all seem like a real adventure... Is there anything specific you want to know?

    Pics here:
    http://www.gloomy-place.net/photo/index ... nd%202012/

    Andy
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,290
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I have done a lot if touring around Orkney and it is one of my favourite places to rid. Been up there several times and would go again at the drop of a hat. It is very beautiful and the roads are quiet. The islans themselves can be busy in August as that is peak holiday time (back roads still quiet!) so it would pay you to organise your accomodation in advance. Rooms etc really are in short supply up there.

    It is not too hilly, although it can be windy (no trees) but the wind at least keeps the midges at bay. The scenery is lovely and the people up there are very nice. Mainland (the big island) is probabl the best fo cycling as there are more places to go, but it is also fun to get the ferries from Kirkwall out to the smaller islands.
  • I have just completed a route from Edinburgh to Iona and loved the island and coast lines. I agree with Gloomyandy when he said the ferrys make it a real adventure. The trip however for me was organised and we stayed in a a hotel, hostel and B&B.

    Bill Honeywell has just come off a tour of all Scottish islands. Might be worth a read: http://billhoneywell.blogspot.co.uk/

    Andrew
  • ReesAReesA Posts: 62
    Is it always best to go south >>> north? I am unsure whether to go from Ullapool or start in Oban.

    My plan is to wild camp near the beaches for a while and so bought water filtration gear which will hopefully make this easier.

    Having never been to Scotland in midge season I plan on getting the Smidge stuff but have also been advised to get a head net.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,290
    ReesA wrote:
    Is it always best to go south >>> north? I am unsure whether to go from Ullapool or start in Oban.

    My plan is to wild camp near the beaches for a while and so bought water filtration gear which will hopefully make this easier.

    Having never been to Scotland in midge season I plan on getting the Smidge stuff but have also been advised to get a head net.
    Away from human habitation (i.e. no septic tanks upstream) pretty much any moving water is safe to drink.
    If you try on a head net at home you will feel very silly. You won't when the midges are so thick it's hard not to breathe them in.
  • gloomyandygloomyandy Posts: 520
    To be honest I've never had problems in getting water when in the hebrides. I normally just fill up a water bladder late in the day at a shop or other tap. I guess if you are staying in the same place for a few days this may be more of an issue.

    One thing to be aware of is that on some of the islands there has been a huge increase in the number of camper vans visiting them and the locals have got a little fed up with the situation. Unfortunately this means that anyone wild camping may get lumped in with the camper van crew and you may get some hassle. Certainly there are places that now have no camping signs which in reality may not really mean what they say, but which may make you feel uncomfortable if you ignore them and camp.
    see the following thread on the south uist forum...
    http://www.southuist.com/forum.php?acti ... pic_id=292

    Andy
  • JamesBJamesB Posts: 1,184
    Good luck with your trip and go South > North, and buy a midge hood too (used mine on mainlands eg Torridon camping very effective at partially maintaining sanity).

    As an idea for your route a few year back did a tandem route---with accompanying SW gales a lot of time hence glad south > north:;

    Oban ferry to Lochboisdale, ride up to N Uist , Lochmaddy ferry to Harris, then Tarbert ferry to Uig Skye, you could of course extend time on Harris, Lewis here, on Skye cycled around and then took Armadale ferry > Mallaig and back around Ardnamurchan to Kilchoan ferry to Tobermory, Mull, then Craignure, Mull ferry back to Oban. About 300 miles and easily extendable; bought a CalMac `rover` ticket I think which gave fairly unlimited use of ferries so coudl link up islands and mainlands. didn`t camp, B&B / hostels though.
    Whatever good luck with waether :):)
  • gloomyandygloomyandy Posts: 520
    Most people recommend south to north and that is the route I used... Problem was no one had told the very strong winds that were blowing north to south for the entire trip! Oh well that's how it goes. Was still a great trip...

    Andy
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    bompington wrote:
    ReesA wrote:
    Is it always best to go south >>> north? I am unsure whether to go from Ullapool or start in Oban.

    My plan is to wild camp near the beaches for a while and so bought water filtration gear which will hopefully make this easier.

    Having never been to Scotland in midge season I plan on getting the Smidge stuff but have also been advised to get a head net.
    Away from human habitation (i.e. no septic tanks upstream) pretty much any moving water is safe to drink.
    If you try on a head net at home you will feel very silly. You won't when the midges are so thick it's hard not to breathe them in.
    So true. The midges can be truly horrible. I have some very memorable memories of evenings in the Hebrides...
  • andrew_sandrew_s Posts: 2,511
    ReesA wrote:
    Is it always best to go south >>> north? I am unsure whether to go from Ullapool or start in Oban.

    My plan is to wild camp near the beaches for a while and so bought water filtration gear which will hopefully make this easier.
    Oban is easier to get to, and south to north on the Western Isles is more likely to be tailwind. The return leg on the mainland is less exposed to wind.

    Bear in mind that a water filter won't remove salt, and that seawater will contaminate streams that are too close to the beach. Filter a small amount and taste it before filtering a whole bottle full.
  • gloomyandygloomyandy Posts: 520
    A little late I know, but I've just managed to finish writing up the details of my trip to the Hebrides and west coast. You may find it of interest...

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Hebrides2012

    Andy
  • humey53humey53 Posts: 14
    gloomyandy wrote:
    Did a weeks tour of Oban/Barra/Uists/Harris/Skye/Ardnamyrchan/Mull/Oban about a month ago. Used hostels and camping. Had a great time. Love that part of the world and the ferries make it all seem like a real adventure... Is there anything specific you want to know?

    Pics here:
    http://www.gloomy-place.net/photo/index ... nd%202012/

    Andy

    At the risk of being nosey, what do you reckon your total costs for such a trip were (excluding bike and cycling gear).

    Inspiring pics by the way
  • gloomyandygloomyandy Posts: 520
    Hi,
    Good question. I think it goes something like this....
    Ferry tickets: £42
    Hostel fees: £24
    Camping: £20
    Food: £120
    So approx £206 for the week. You then need to add on the cost of getting there. Note that I actually spent more than this as I had a night in a hotel, but in the above I've substituted in a nights camping. The food costs are just a guess. Most days I had at least one meal in a cafe or whatever, if could have been much cheaper had I not done that...

    Andy
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  • Dr U IdhDr U Idh Posts: 324
    I can thoroughly recommend Ardnamurchan and Mull. I did North-South and had a tailwind most of the way.

    http://www.blog.scotroutes.com/

    7570001986_683543b0b1_z.jpg
    West Coast Route by druidh_dubh, on Flickr
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