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Walk the Hebridean Way with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of The Hebridean Way
10 May 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.2cm
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The Hebridean Way

Long-distance walking route through Scotland's Outer Hebrides

by Richard Barrett
Book published by Cicerone Press

Guidebook to walking the Hebridean Way, a 155 mile (247km) walking route along the length of the Outer Hebrides. From the island of Vatersay to Stornoway on Lewis, the waymarked route can be walked in 8 to 13 days and crosses a variety of terrain including shell beaches, rugged hills and wild moor. Also includes an extension to the Butt of Lewis.

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Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.2cm
Weight: 240g

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Launching in 2017, the Hebridean Way offers walkers the opportunity to experience the magic of Scotland's Outer Hebrides in one inspirational journey. The waymarked route stretches 247km (155 miles) from Vatersay to Stornaway, linking ten major islands of the archipelago by means of causeways and two ferry crossings: Vatersay, Barra, Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, Grimsay, North Uist, Berneray, Harris and Lewis. Suitable for most walkers with a moderate level of fitness, it can be completed in 8–14 days and is rich in natural, historical and cultural interest.

This guidebook presents the Hebridean Way in 10 stages of 16–35km (10–22 miles), plus two additional stages to extend the route to the Butt of Lewis in line with future plans. Detailed route description is accompanied by 1:50,000 OS mapping, stunning photography to whet your appetite and a wealth of information about local points of interest. The introduction offers an overview of the islands' geology, history, plants and wildlife as well as comprehensive practical advice for walking the route, such as when to go, how to get there (and back) and what to take. Accommodation listings can be found in the appendices.

The route is a celebration of the diverse landscapes of the Hebrides, from dazzling white shell beaches to wild moorland and flower-strewn machair. It visits Neolithic and Bronze Age remains, ruined forts and castles and monuments commemorating Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highland Land Struggle. The islands are also a great location to spot seabirds, raptors and a number of migratory species. Informative and inspiring, Richard Barrett's guidebook is an ideal companion to discovering this captivating route.

  • Activities
    Walking, trekking
  • Seasons
    Best walked between April and October, when the days are longer; the weather is at its best and the ground underfoot is likely to be drier.
  • Centres
    Starting at Vatersay, the routes crosses Barra, Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, Grimsay, North Uist, Berneray, Harris and Lewis to its current end in Stornoway.
  • Difficulty
    The Hebridean Way is mostly a low-level, waymarked route that never ventures far from a road. However it requires careful planning as it crosses stretches of wild moor where there is no clear path and there are limited facilities near the route. As yet there is no baggage transfer provider.
  • Must See
    247km (155 mile) waymarked trail over rugged hills and along dazzling white shell beaches the length of the Outer Hebrides, from Vatersay in the south to Stornoway in the north, passing through 10 islands linked by causeways and ferries.

Nov 2017

Vatersay –
There is no obvious sign to show where to leave the road to go up round Beinn Tangabhal at NL642 977. It might worth mentioning that it is just before a stream that is ~250m along past the quarry.

Barra –
Signs peter out at around NF 701 046 with no obvious way to deal with the barbed wire fence by the roadside. Again there is no roadside sign to assist those going the other way.

South Uist –
The turn off at West Kilbride is not clearly signed, and people would be best advised follow the coast round to the left shortly after the café at the camp site.
At Loch Carnan community wind farm NF 820 421, the description is fine for going north. But for folk going south they need to know that the path across the moor is near the most easterly turbine.
Descending down the windfarm track to the road to turn left; the quarry is ~100m along not 250m. On turning right past the quarry, there are no signs between there and the next road; the track mentioned swings right to a lochan but walkers need to go straight ahead at that bend. This section is particularly soggy / boggy. Towards the end, on approaching an obvious house, it is important that people swing left to find a gate about 50m along, otherwise they will end up going through someone’s garden.

Benbecula –
At Lionacleit the sign to the left is immediately after the Dark Island Hotel.
From the top of Rueval there are no waymarkers at the moment. In misty conditions people should follow a compass bearing of 350° which will take them towards the east end of Loch Olabhat, to pick up a rough track leading to a gate and onto the road. This is where the road-side sign is (NF 821 555) and not at the traditional thatched cottage.

North Uist –
On approaching Carinish, there is a road-side sign at ~NF 832 601, pointing right into a small wooded area. A signed path goes from there to intercept the other towards the NW end of the woodland shown on the map (but not yet all there in reality). So those folk who don’t need to go to Carinish can reduce the road walking by taking this option. At Carinish, there is no road-side sign pointing to the route described and once the route is found (by following the description) the signage is disintegrating.
At Balthaisbhal water treatment plant there are currently some works going on in the immediate surrounds of the plant. The high security fence prevents people easily accessing the signed route from there. If this is a temporary blockage, perhaps on your web updates, people could be advised to follow the high fence round to the left, carefully cross over the new fence that abuts it, and continue following the high fence until the waymarkers can be spotted. Signage from here across the moorland isn’t great and would be difficult to rely on in misty conditions. If it is very misty people could follow the road.


 Thank for the updates from  Margaret Porter at C-N-Do Scotland  -


How the Hebridean Way came into being
Planning your trip
Selecting a schedule
When to walk
Getting there
First and last nights
Money matters
Baggage transfer
What to take
Planning day by day
Using this guide
Weather forecasts
Phones and Wi-Fi
All about the Outer Hebrides
Plants and flowers
The history of the Outer Hebrides
The Hebridean Way
Stage 1 Vatersay to Ardmhor
Stage 2 Eriskay to Howmore
Stage 3 Howmore to Baile nan Cailleach
Stage 4 Baile nan Cailleach to Lochmaddy
Stage 5 Lochmaddy to Berneray
Stage 6 Leverburgh to Horgabost Township
Stage 7 Horgabost Township to Tarbert
Stage 8 Tarbert to Aline
Stage 9 Aline to Laxay
Stage 10 Laxay to Stornoway
Additional stages to the Butt of Lewis
Stage 11 Stornoway to New Tolsta
Stage 12 New Tolsta to the Butt of Lewis
Appendix A Useful contacts
Appendix B Accommodation
Appendix C Common Gaelic and Norse name elements
Appendix D Further reading
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