Wilderness Hiking Outer Hebrides and St. Kilda

007364 - R15

Explore the pristine Outer Hebrides island chain on Scotland’s far west coast, discovering its abundant wildlife, including some of the rarest wildlife to be found in Scotland. On this wildlife-focused holiday you’ll enjoy coastal and glen walks and, weather permitting, a boat trip to the incredible archipelago of St. Kilda.

Highlights
Details
Itinerary
Included
Not Included
Tour Notes
Map
Highlights
  • Explore by boat and on foot some of the most pristine, wild and spectacular seabird locations in Europe
  • Visit St. Kilda, a double UNESCO World Heritage Site (weather permitting)
  • Look for otters, red deer and golden eagles on the Isle of Harris
  • Discover Uists, stronghold of the rare Corncrake and famous for wildflowers and windswept beauty
Details

2019 Departures:
May: 25
June: 15

2019 Pricing:
US$2,699 – twin
US$2,699 – single willing to share
US$3,485 – single

Prices are shown in US$ per person based on two people sharing a twin room, one person willing to share a room and one person in a single room. Prices are approximate US$ equivalent of the British Pound rate and will vary depending on currency conversion of the British Pound at the time of payment of your deposit and re-calculated at the time of final payment. You can lock in the applicable US$ rate by paying in full when you make your reservation. CA$ prices are also available, please inquire.

Tour Code:
007364 - R15

Itinerary
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Day 1: Inverness

After meeting in Inverness, we catch the morning ferry across to the Isle of Lewis, the largest island in the Outer Hebrides archipelago. The ferry journey across the ‘Minch’ takes us through well-known seabird and cetacean feeding areas – so we should have some good sightings before we even arrive on the islands! Our first stop is a visit to the mysterious standing stone circle at Callanish before retiring to our hotel on Harris. (D)

Day 2: St. Kilda World Heritage Site

The plan for today is to take a boat trip to the famous archipelago of St Kilda. Over 40 miles offshore, visiting this amazing double World Heritage Site requires a boat crossing of about 3 hours each way. It is a challenging but vastly rewarding day. The crossing to St Kilda provides a great opportunity for marine life sightings, with mid to late summer being especially good for basking sharks. As we approach the islands we see, hear and smell the vast seabird colonies! We’ll have a few hours on land to explore – with some of the highest sea cliffs in Britain, and globally important colonies of gannets, fulmars and puffins, this is a spectacular place to see. Together with the thought-provoking story of the islanders who lived here, this is one of the most amazing places you can ever visit.

Please note that the visit to St Kilda is strongly contingent on good weather and sea conditions.Since this will be a highlight of the trip then if it is not possible to visit St Kilda on this day then your guide will try to schedule it for a different day during the trip. If the weather prevents us reaching St Kilda altogether then we’ll enjoy a wonderful boat trip in the Loch Roag area instead, exploring the remote west coast of Lewis and its plentiful wildlife. (B,L)

Day 3: Wildlife of Harris

We will spend the day exploring Harris hiking along some excellent glen or coastal routes. Home to vast expanses of moorland, this beautiful island holds nationally important breeding populations of greenshank and dunlin. Otters and eagles are known to regularly hunt in this terrain, and you may also see herds of red deer, which can often be seen grazing on the hillsides. (B,L)

Walk details: 8km, approx. 4 hrs

Day 4: Across the sea to North Uilt

After exploring one of Harris’s vast beaches we take an early afternoon ferry across the Sound of Harris to North Uist. This remote and windswept beauty is home to Scotland’s most well known dramas, played out in a landscape populated by birds of prey and strung with pristine sandy beaches. With intricate rocky shores and beautiful sunsets, we are in good otter and diver territory, with plenty of places to stretch our legs before enjoying a warm welcome at our hotel.  (B, L)

Walk details: 6 km, approx. 3 hrs

Day 5: South Uist and Benbecula, Raptors & Wildflowers

Like much of the archipelago, the west coast of South Uist holds empty sandy beaches and wildflower rich machair meadow, whilst the east coast offers rocky inlets and heather covered hills. We aim to explore on foot during the day, taking a packed lunch with us as we walk along the enticing coastline. We will take the opportunity to scan the hills for some of the local golden and sea eagles – soaring with a wingspan well over two metres. Other daytime hunters include the ghostly hen harrier and furious looking short eared owl, either of which could turn up almost anywhere during our time on the Uists. With otters, wildflowers, beachcombing and wildfowl all possible, there will be plenty for us to enjoy. We should also experience the endemic Hebridean song thrush! At migration times, these islands also tend to offer a stopover for exotic and lost migrating birds from America, the Arctic, Mediterranean – even the Far East! As long as we keep our eyes open, you never know what surprises we might find on this wildlife holiday…  (B, L)

Walk details: 8km, approx. 4 hrs

Day 6: North Uist and Benbecula, Corncrakes and Great Skuas

A key species in this region is the secretive corncrake, which skulks and calls in the fertile machair meadows and ancient farmlands. The corncrake is most commonly spotted in May and June. At places such as the RSPB reserve at Balranald, these rare habitats also provide vital homes for many rare species, such as the great yellow bumblebee, corn bunting, golden ringed dragonfly and many scarce wildflowers (not to mention photogenic highland cows!). The heather moors of North Uist and Benbecula offer more good raptor hunting habitats and we will spend time in the search of more birds of prey, returning summer migrants such as wheatear and stonechat and perhaps red deer. On the May departure, we may have the opportunity to witness one of the most thrilling wildlife spectacles in the UK – the northward passage of hundreds of skuas to their summer breeding grounds. (B, L, D)

Walk details: 8km, approx. 4 hrs

Day 7: Return to Inverness

We begin our journey back to Inverness today, but the opportunities to stop and take in some wonderful scenery and perhaps get more excellent wildlife sightings are still on offer! We depart by ferry across the Minch again, this time on the late morning ferry, heading for the Isle of Skye. From here, we head back to Inverness via Loch Ness, arriving by around 5.30pm. (B, L)

Included
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Most meals as indicated throughout the trip
  • Transport throughout the trip
  • Private boat and ferry transfers
  • The services of an experienced and knowledgeable guide/driver
Not Included
  • Airfare, train or bus travel to/from Inverness
  • Accommodation pre or post tour in Inverness
  • Personal equipment
  • Optional Tours
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
Tour Notes

Rating: Easy

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are physically fit enough to join our hiking holidays. Please note, however, that you can have an optional rest day at any time. If you have any questions regarding your suitability for any of our hiking holidays, please contact our office and speak to one of our team who can offer advice.

“Easy” hiking holidays involve straightforward hiking, following generally good trails with no major ascents. You will, however, be out hiking for around 5 hours each day so you will need a reasonable level of fitness.

The hikes will be conducted at a leisurely pace in order to allow more time for photography, nature study and looking historical features. The underfoot terrain will usually be on paths or hill trails. However, these trails may still be muddy, or a bit rough in places, so you will need good hiking boots.

Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.

 

Map