Route 780, the Hebridean Way, is a 184-mile on-road route through the remote and spectacular islands of the Outer Hebrides. Using ferries and causeways to hop between islands, this popular route begins on the Island of Vatersay and ends on the northernmost point at the Butt of Lewis.
The route is accessible by ferry from the Scottish mainland and from the island of Skye at several points along its length.
One of the ultimate get-away-from-it-all cycling trips, the route runs the full length of the Outer Hebrides, over remote moorland (remember to pack water and food), past wide, white beaches and over a few memorable hills.
You hop from island to island on ferries or over long causeways. Because of the prevailing winds, it is usually recommended to cycle the route from south to north. On a fine day, the Western Isles is a glorious place to be, but they also receive the full lash of storms from the Atlantic, so be prepared for all types of weather.
There are various route options you can choose along this route, just remember that many of these islands are remote so make sure you have enough food, water, and warm and waterproof clothes. It’s also advised that you check the ferry times (some of them vary seasonally) and plan to arrive with plenty of time before the ferry departs.
As you cycle along the route you’ll be rewarded with wild and stunning scenery and opportunities to spot seals, birds and other wildlife.
You’ll be treated to natural wonders like wildflower meadows on the sands near the sea, moorland, lochs, wetlands, and of course stunning views of wild seas and serene white sand beaches.
As well as the gorgeous landscapes you can enjoy some of the rich cultural and man-made heritage of the area such as chambered cairns and stone circles, a restored crofting village and the 15th century St Clement’s Church, said to be the finest medieval building on the Western Isles.
You can visit the Hut of the Shadows – a grass-roofed, stone tumulus surrounded by sea and sky and built by land artist Chris Drury in 1997. A lens and three mirrors built into a wall project an image of the landscape outside on to the opposite wall. It’s a lovely place to relax after a day in the saddle.
This area is rich with stories, tradition and legends. On Eriskay a slight diversion takes you to the Am Politician pub, named after the ship the SS Politician which ran aground off Eriskay in 1941 with its cargo of over a quarter of a million bottles of whisky. Rumour has it that the locals helped themselves to more than a few bottles and their attempts to evade the officers of the law became the genesis for Compton Mackenzie’s famous book ‘Whisky Galore’.
The Hebridean Way is a wild and remote cycle route which takes in the awe-inspiring landscapes of the islands off the west coast of Scotland. It’s a true adventure.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.