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how to get to Lewis and Harris?

Portsmouth, United...
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how to get to Lewis and Harris?

Hello,

I'm planning to visit the islands in late August, and admittedly I have not done my research on transport yet, but the flights seem out of my budget; are there any alternative ways of getting there, i.e. ferries etc? Also, getting around would also be an issue; is it possible to rent bikes anywhere?

Thanks!

8 replies to this topic
Bingley, United...
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1. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

www.calmac.co.uk/destinations/lewis.htm

Bikes or motorbikes?

Portsmouth, United...
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2. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

Motorbikes would be nice but we'ré leaving them at home, we want to do some cycling. Ideally, we wanted to be camping for a few nights. Right now I'm trying to figure out a relatively cheap way of getting there before we decide on accommodation.

Thank you for thé link!

Edited: 04 July 2014, 12:17
Dingle, Ireland
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3. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

I think you need to get sorted fairly quickly, accommodation on the islands is obviously limited and August is peak season. Calmac needs pre booking too.

Stafford, United...
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4. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

We have just returned from a north-south trip to the Outer Hebrides, taking the CalMac ferries from Ullapool to Stornoway, Leverburgh to Bernaray, and then Lochboisdale to Oban. The ferries were an essential part of the whole experience, but by the end of June were already almost full each sailing. With the schools on holiday expect a full load, though walk on may still be possible, but check with CalMac website first. There are lots of cyclists, as apart from Harris the terrain is made for bikes. There are B+Bs, hostels (very good to spartan), and of course hotels, but they all book up early so you may have to camp, which is fairly easy, certainly easier than on the mainland. There are lots of cafes and a few pubs. Stock up at the Coop whenever you are passing just in case its the last store for a day or so. We didn't get bitten once, but in August you might just be eaten alive, so take anti-histamine tablets and suitable anti-bug spray. So go to it and enjoy.

Scotland
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5. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

I've never known foot passengers to NOT get on a Calmac ferry. Obviously cars need to be booked well ahead

Herefordshire
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6. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

The Good Witch is right - as foot passengers, you can pretty well turn up and go on the ferry. By booking ahead, you may get reasonably cheap rail tickets from Portsmouth to Glasgow or Inverness - I did Hereford to Inverness return for just over £100 a couple of years back. There's a bus from Glasgow to Uig (Skye) which meets the afternoon boat - or you could do what we did and stay in Inverness, then take the morning train to Kyle of Lochalsh (very scenic), and pick up the same bus from there. Incidentally this train leaves Inverness after the "Sleeper" from London gets in - but I don't think you'll get a good deal on that train in August..! Arriving on Harris (Tarbert) there are several buses which meet the boat, and head in different directions - so you don't really need a car (though we hired one in Stornoway). Our return journey worked just as well - again with an overnight in Inverness. Of course, if you're camping, you may have a lot to carry....could be a problem...

Stafford, United...
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7. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

there are lots of sites for exploring the Outer Hebriders which often have comments on how best to reach the islands. You can go up Inverness and travel west to Ullspool for the car ferry over to Lewis (Stornaway). That's about three hours at sea. There are also ferries from Skye (longer to mainland ferryport but shorter crossings to Harris and/or North Uiist). Near the southern tip of South Uist is the ferry from Lochboisdale back to Oban (the most southerly port for accessing the Outer Herbrides). This takes about 5 hours, which is like a cruise across the sound and then through the Inner Hebrides to Oban. This can make the end of a great ciircuit. The ferriies are all CalMac, and booking on line is easy (as is checking in if you follow instructions about time and place). Driving around is easy. Get fuel as and when you can. Supplies with a car are easy. There are plenty of easily accessible B+Bs, hotels, campsites, youth hostels etc. Most roads are single track with passing places. Happy travels.

Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: how to get to Lewis and Harris?

Steve,

Check the date on posts.... Weve all done it!

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