What is the best way to do the Hebridean Way?

09 November 18

The Hebridean Way is the name given to the journey that links the southern most inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides - Vatersay with the northernmost point of the Outer Hebrides - The Butt of Lewis at the very top of the Isle of Lewis. The journey can be done north to south or south to north and it can be undertaken by any means of transport although for it to be done as a "long distance challenge event" it is normally undertaken on foot or by bike.

As a bike hire company my interest is in doing it on a bike.

In reviewing the transport options and logistics I am going to look at undertaking the Hebridean Way from South to North ... Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis. Most of the guidebook and website route descriptions are unanimous in recommending starting in the south and finishing in the north. This is in large part due to the fact that the predominent weather prevelant in the Western Isles during the summer months comes in from the south-west. Hence the winds and the main airstream is from the South West and heading to the North East meaning the wind is mainly on your back.   

So what is the best way of doing the Hebridean Way if aiming to do it by bike? Well as a keen cyclist myself I would say that given the optimum scenario I would most definitely do it on my own bike. Its a long way. I'm going to be sat in the saddle for at least 5 to 6 days over 185 miles plus and its a given that I would prefer to ride that sort of distance on a bike I am familiar with and used to riding. However that said the logistics of getting to the Outer Hebrides with your own bike is definitely not that straightforward. This is particularly so as the Hebridean Way is a linear challenge ride that starts and finishes in two different locations. So the first consideration is how are you going to get from your home location to the start of the Hebridean Way ... flight, train, coach, ferry and/or a car?

A flight into Barra (from Glasgow) at the southern end of the Outer Hebrides and a flight out from Stornoway (back to Glasgow) at the end of the Hebridean Way route having been to the Butt of Lewis (215 miles) is without doubt the cleanest and quickest way in and way out again. Options to get to Glasgow from your own location could be flight, train, coach or car. If you are planning well in advance and booking flights early there are some good deals to be had and certainly much quicker to get to the start and away again than other forms of transport.

[To be continued]