Cycling in the Hebrides

Island touring and day rides including The Hebridean Way

By Richard Barrett

Cycling in the Hebrides is a comprehensive guidebook of routes, day rides and suggested island cycle tours throughout the Inner and Outer Hebrides and the Firth of Clyde with ferry schedules and timings. Routes range from rides suitable for a weekend break to a challenging 600 mile tour covering the entire region.



the best time to go touring in the Hebrides is between April and October, when the days are longer and the weather is at its best, but even then wet and blustery days are inevitable, so be prepared for them


Clyde and Kintyre; Colonsay, Islay and Jura; Mull, Coll and Tiree; Skye and Raasay; Barra and the Uists; Harris and Lewis


catering not just for those who are cycle touring but also for those who simply want to get in a few rides while they are on holiday, the rides described in this guidebook range from a 12-mile (19km) day ride to a 600-mile (970km) tour
Must See

Must See

covers routes throughout the Inner and Outer Hebridean islands routes for all abilities and levels of fitness: numerous itineraries are possible island hopping in these islands is a magical experience: the guidebook visits over 20, each with its own interesting history, character and wildlife
4 Feb 2016
8 Nov 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.7cm
  • Overview

    37 day rides for all abilities, and 22 linking routes for more experienced cycle tourists, allow riders to visit all the essential sights in the Hebrides and the islands of the Firth of Clyde. The guidebook visits over 20, each with its own interesting history, character and wildlife: the cycling routes are as varied as the islands, ranging from short day rides suitable for weekend breaks to a challenging 600-mile tour (includes the 200 mile Hebridean Way / NCR 780 along the length of the Outer Hebrides). Whether you're putting together a fortnight's tour or just enjoying a few day rides from a single base, this guide is packed with useful information to help you make the most of your trip.

    The best time to go is April–October, when the days are longer and the weather is at its best, but even be prepared for wet and blustery days. The Hebridean islands offer a wealth of wonderful scenery: the majestic Cuillin mountains on Skye; the otherworldly palm trees on Bute; the marvellous white shell sands on Tiree and Harris. This guidebook features detailed custom mapping and elevation profiles for all routes, and comprehensive information of ferry and transport routes, accommodation, food and drink, supplies, cycle spares and repairs.

    Island hopping in these islands is a magical experience. The guide visits over 20 of them and each has its own interesting history and wildlife. Reasonably fit cyclists can enjoy these routes at their own pace; experienced cycle tourists will eat up the miles.

  • Contents

    Wildlife and plants
    History and culture
    Getting there
    Getting around
    The weather and when to go
    Where to stay
    Preparing your bike
    Preparing yourself
    Planning your trip
    What and how to pack
    Riding comfortably
    Riding in a group
    Using this guide
    Maps and itineraries
    Link Routes
    1A Gourock to Ardrossan
    1B Dunoon to Portavadie
    1C Auchenbreck to Rothesay
    1D Brodick to Lochranza
    1E Claonaig to Tayinloan
    1F Kennacraig to Oban
    Day Routes
    1.1 Circuit of south Arran
    1.2 Circuit of north Arran
    1.3 Circuit of Great Cumbrae
    1.4 Circuit of Bute
    1.5 Gigha
    Link Routes
    2A Port Ellen to Port Askaig
    Day Routes
    2.1 South coast of Islay
    2.2 Circuit of northwest Islay from Bridgend
    2.3 Circuit of central Islay from Bowmore
    2.4 Circuit of southwest Islay (The Rhinns)
    2.5 Craighouse and back from Feolin Ferry
    2.6 Circuit of Colonsay
    Link Routes
    3A Craignure to Tobermory
    3B Lochaline to Salen
    3C Salen to Kilchoan
    3D Salen to Mallaig
    Day Routes
    3.1 Slate Islands
    3.2 Kerrera
    3.3 Circuit across Lismore from Oban
    3.4 Circuit of central Mull
    3.5 Circuit of northern Mull
    3.6 Out to Iona
    3.7 Coll
    3.8 Circuit of west Tiree
    3.9 Fishbone ride in east Tiree
    Link Routes
    4A Ullapool to Armadale
    4B Stromeferry to Uig
    Day Routes
    4.1 Across the Sleat Peninsula from Armadale
    4.2 Elgol and back from Broadford
    4.3 A three-legged ride from Carbost
    4.4 Around the Duirinish Peninsula
    4.5 Circuit of the Trotternish Peninsula
    4.6 Circuit of central Skye
    4.7 Skye Bridge/Glenelg circuit from Kyle of Lochalsh
    4.8 Raasay
    Link Routes
    5A Castlebay to Lochboisdale
    5B Dalabrog to Clachan
    5C Clachan to Berneray
    5D Clachan to Berneray Junction
    Day Routes
    5.1 Circuit of Barra and Vatersay
    5.2 South Uist machair from Tobha Mor
    5.3 Circuit of North Uist
    Link Routes
    6A Leverburgh to Tarbert (west)
    6B Leverburgh to Tarbert (east)
    6C Tarbert to Stornoway
    6D Liurbost to Barabhas
    6E Stornoway to Butt of Lewis
    Day Routes
    6.1 Circuit of south Harris
    6.2 Huisinis from Tarbert
    6.3 Scalpay from Tarbert
    6.4 Callanish by the Pentland Road
    6.5 West Lewis from Gearraidh na h’Aibhne
    6.6 The Bridge to Nowhere from Stornoway

    Appendix A Link route summary table
    Appendix B Day route summary table
    Appendix C Ferry routes
    Appendix D Suggested tours
    Appendix E Day trips to islands
    Appendix F Cycle shops and cycle hire
    Appendix G Hostels
    Appendix H Tourist information
    Appendix I Further reading

  • Updates
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    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction

    May 2019

    The Heb Hostel in Stornoway allows walkers and cyclists to arrive any time during the day, drop off luggage and /or bikes and help themselves to tea and coffee. The hostel also has laundry facilities, a drying room and a bike shed.

    Aug 2018

    Oban : parking in Lochavullin Road and Longsdale Road in Oban are now both pay and display.

    April 2018

    Page 293 Appendix F Cycle Shops

    Section 4

    New Entry:

    Skye Bike Shack, The Old Croft House, 6 Carbost, IV51 9PD tel 07826 842160

    No Longer Operating:

    Skye Bicycle Hire and S S Donaldson.

    Section 5

    Barra Cycle Hire is now Barra Bike Hire and new address Vatersay Road, Isle of Barra, HS9 5XJ, tel 07876 402842 , N.B Provides bikes for collection in Barra and return in Stornoway.

    New Entry:

    Berneray Bikes, 13 Backhill, Berneray, North Uist, HS6 5BD tel 07340175276 N.B Provides bikes for collection in Barra and return in Stornoway

    Section 6

    Bespoke Bicycle Repairs now called Bespoke Bicycle Hebrides full address details The Hub, Glen House, Willowglen Road, Stornoway, HS1 2EP, tel 0787 657 0932 N.B Provides bikes for collection in Barra and return in Stornoway

    Bike Hebrides also provides bikes for collection in Barra and return in Stornoway

    Harris Outdoor Adventure no longer operating.

  • Reviews

    "I can't think of anywhere finer to cycle than the Hebrides... This book has it all, as well as good advice on equipment, preparation, [it covers[ travel to the islands and the weather. Highly recommended."

    Cameron McNeish, Scots Magazine

    For those who have not yet been persuaded to take their bicycles to the Hebrides and have a jolly good ride around, Richard Barrett's Cicerone guide might well just be the final push needed. The book covers an incredibly beautiful and fascinating area, one that is wild, peaceful and relatively remote compared to much of the UK.

    Cycling in the Hebrides will provide any prospective visitor with a host of good ideas and plentiful information. Take a look at some of the photos and put the islands of the west coast of Scotland on your destination list.

    Steve Dyster, Seven Day Cyclist

    "Cycling in the Hebrides" by Richard Barrett is a lovely little book that will prove an indispensable companion to anyone cycling in the western margins of Scotland: or, indeed, to others touring the area using less energetic and less virtuous modes of transport.

    The format of the book is a tried, tested and very effective one... Clear and helpful maps are accompanied by informative gradient tables, text descriptions, overview sections and excellent photography.

    Undiscovered Scotland

    "Well-researched, well written and copiously illustrated"


    "It's highly practical, with its wealth of maps and relief diagrams and advice on what to pack. But it finds room for plenty of anecdotal stuff too."

    Scotland Outdoors magazine

    An island-hopping guide aimed at regular cycle tourers or those who’d like to try a few bike rides during a Hebridean holiday.

    Scottish Memories magazine

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Richard Barrett

Richard Barrett spent his working life as a professional marketer, but still found time for climbing, winter mountaineering and sea kayaking. He first visited the Harris hills as a teenager and became a regular visitor. He lived in North Harris for a number of years, where he and his wife ran a guest house and, although now a city-dweller, he still makes frequent forays to the Hebrides, reconnecting with the wilderness and catching up with old friends.

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