HEBRIDEAN WAY CYCLE ROUTE

Further inspiration - if you need more than peace and scenery varying from the lonely beaches to lunar landscapes - to bundle your bike onto a CalMac ferry and head for the Outer Hebrides has been provided by Mark Beaumont.

 

The former fastest cycle-circumnavigator of the globe helped to launch then new Hebridean Way cycle route, National Cycle Route 780. Needless to say, you don't need to cover the 185 miles from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis in under twenty-four hours. Why would you when you can lay down some good distances and still make time to dilly-dally on the beach or wait hopefully for otters to appear at dusk?

 

The Hebridean Way cycle route is on-road. in fact, in most places it follows the only road. One of the simpler signing jobs one imagines, though finding convenient posts to affix signs to might be awkward in places.

 

A few years ago a Hebridean Trail for MTB riders was pioneered. You can find tour companies that run multi-day trips. Wilderness Scotland, for example, run a six day trip with three departures in 2016. The road tourist should avoid any confusion between Way and Trail: there is some serious rough stuff on the Trail.

 

The Hebrides Tourist website interestingly states that the Hebridean Way uses quiet and main roads. All is relative; if you have cycled around a moderately-sized town you will find the Hebridean roads quiet, maybe with the exception of Stornaway town centre - which the route does not include anyway - shortly before or after the ferry comes in from, or heads out to, Ullapool.

 

Of course, the Outer Hebrides are not the whole of the Hebrides. Take a look at Richard Barrett's Cicerone guide to cycling in the Inner and Outer Hebrides (also the Clyde islands and Kintyre) published in March 2016.

 

For the Hebridean Way see http://www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk/see-and-do/activities/hebridean-way

 

For NCR 780 see www.sustrans.org.uk

PUBLISHED MARCH 13th 2016

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