Situated on Europe’s Atlantic edge, the Scottish Western Isles of the Outer Hebrides are a diverse set of interconnected islands. The Isle of Lewis and Harris is just one island but enjoys vastly different landscapes; from immense white beaches to heather covered mountains, lunar like boulder-strewn hillsides to sea and freshwater lochs and peatlands.
Situated on Europe’s Atlantic edge, the Scottish Western Isles of the Outer Hebrides are a diverse chain of interconnecting islands, each with their own way of life and landscape. The Outer Hebrides is known for its rich island history with a carefully preserved Gaelic culture.
The Western Isles are isolated, windswept, treeless places where Gaelic is a working language. We stay in both parts of the principal island, Lewis in the north and Harris in the south, so we can see the best of both and what they have to offer without too much travel.
Our aim is for you to experience the peace and tranquillity of this isolated environment with traditional Hebridean hospitality. Be inspired by the stunning sea views and endless skyscapes, the wonderful coastal scenery, ancient stone monuments, traditional turf roofed ‘blackhouses’ and learn about the famous Harris tweed.
We stay on the outskirts of Stornoway for the first three nights for our explorations of Lewis and then we transfer by private coach to our hotel in Tarbert for the remainder of the holiday (4 nights), to explore Harris.
During our holiday we will make use of private coach transportation to take us to the places we want to see and walk to and from. Gentle walks will be provided each day so you can really get to know Lewis and Harris.
On the Isle of Lewis, highlights will include a visit to the Callanish
standing stones, a walk at the Butt of Lewis and Lews Castle. On the
Isle of Harris walking highlights include visiting the island of Scalpay
with a chance to see minke whales, walking in the remote hamlet of
Huisinis to overlook vast sandy beaches and a walk right across the
peninsula of South Harris on the ‘Coffin Road’.
Transport will take you to the places we need to go to each day. Everything is arranged, all you need to do is relax and enjoy the scenery.
- Services of a dedicated Adagio leader
- Half board accommodation in two hotels
- All local transport costs & airport transfers
- All entrance fees stated in the holiday programme
What's not included?
- Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary tips
- Optional excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
To fully enjoy the walking on this holiday you should be able to walk along uneven undulating paths at about 2 miles per hour for distances of between 3 and 6 miles with walks lasting up to 3 hours. Some walks have shorter alternatives that you can choose. Usually, half of each day will be devoted to sightseeing.
On the places we visit there may be paths that are uneven in places with some short sections of rocky surfaces. Each of the walks will be taken at a relaxed pace. Proper walking shoes or boots (not sandals) are therefore essential for this holiday, especially in wet weather when the ground can be boggy on some walks.
Our itinerary is expected to follow the daily schedule outlined below but please bear in mind that the order of the days may be amended, or walks substituted, due to weather conditions or changes beyond our control. Distances, ascent/descent and timings are all approximate and refer only to the countryside walking element of each day.
Arrival in Stornoway
The Cabarfeidh Hotel
We fly to Stornoway Airport and travel the short distance by
minibus to our hotel on the outskirts of the centre of Stornoway. If
time allows, your Adagio Leader will provide you with a short
introductory walk before dinner.
Transfer Time = 10 minutes
The Butt of Lewis
The Cabarfeidh Hotel
We are driven by bus to the Butt of Lewis, which is as far north as you can go in the Western Isles, where we will take a walk round the cliffs past Stevenson’s Lighthouse. We then drive down the west coast to visit the Ness Historical Society Museum, then on to visit a blackhouse. We finish the day with the visit to view the impressive Callanish standing stones, known as the Stonehenge of the north
The Cabarfeidh Hotel
A morning walk in the wooded grounds of the nearby Lews Castle where on a clear day, you will see fine views over Stornoway and beyond to the sea. There will be time to visit the museum and free time for you to visit the town in the afternoon.
Transfer to the Isle of Harris
We check out of our hotel and leave the Isle of Lewis to transfer to the Isle of Harris. We’ll see stunning views of the Uig peninsula en route. With its stretches of Atlantic coast bordered by windswept sand dunes and machair grasses, the views on our way to Tarbert will be energising. We take a walk through Gleann Lacasdail past the loch on the way into our next base, Tarbert.
A short drive is taken to the island of Scalpay where we take a walk to Eilean Glas lighthouse with views to the Isle of Skye and perhaps even a chance to see minke whales. We return to Tarbert to visit the gin distillery and the tweed warehouse.
After travelling west, we spend the day at the remote hamlet of Huisinis taking in two short walks; one to the eagle observatory and the other to a spot overlooking sandy beaches and views of the uninhabited Isle of Scarp.
Our bus takes us travelling around South Harris and we view the different scenery on foot from east to west. We’ll stop for a visit at the isolated St Clement’s Church at Rodel, praised as the grandest medieval building in the Western Isles, lunching in a restaurant overlooking Berneray and North Uist. We follow this by a drive along the Golden Road through the Bays area with basking seals.
Check out of our hotel and transfer to Stornoway Airport for our flight back to the mainland. If you are making your own travel arrangements, check out of the hotel is by 11am.
Walks & Excursions
We use a mix of privately hired vehicles, taxis, and public transport which gives us some flexibility in our itinerary. We have a wonderful programme of walking, sightseeing and visits planned to let you fully experience the area along with opportunities to relax at our wonderful hotel and enjoy your surroundings.
Local transport costs, entrance fees and tips to local providers are included in your holiday price. You may wish to budget for any meals and drinks not included in the holiday arrangements, non-included entrance fees and any optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Local Transport Costs
We include the local travel costs using private hire coaches each day.
Our Adagio Leader will arrange everything. You just need to be at the right place at the right time.
The currency is in the Outer Hebrides is the British pound. There are
limited ATMs on both Lewis and Harris so we advise you to bring
money with you prior to arriving. There is a Bank of Scotland in
Tarbert and other branches in Stornoway.
We include tips in the holiday cost and your Adagio Leader will take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. If you feel that someone has gone out of their way to make your holiday enjoyable or help you in anyway, please feel free to give a personal tip to the person should you wish. If you are having an independent lunch or other service not included in the holiday arrangements, tipping is at your own discretion.
We believe that the best things come in small packages, and our Adagio holidays prove just that. We limit our groups to a maximum of 18 persons, plus the Adagio Leader, so that everyone has the opportunity to mix, share their love of travel and return home with new friendships. Small groups also have less detrimental local impact, allows us to use public transport on some days, eat at small local restaurants and, we believe, offers a better experience.
An Adagio Leader will accompany you throughout the holiday. They are all experienced travellers with a love for exploring and will help capture the true essence of the destination with their stories, knowledge and insights. They are well-organised, pay great attention to detail and enjoy being with people. They are there to help make your holiday as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
Leaders Evening Briefing
Your Adagio Leader will discuss the programme for the following day with the group at each evening briefing. This will be your opportunity to find out more details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. Also, if you have any questions or concerns on clothing or lunch arrangements, this can be discussed then. If you wish to opt out of the organised group programme, this is fine, just let your Leader know.
Getting to your Holiday
We fly from Glasgow to Stornoway and return with Loganair. The flight takes approx. 55 minutes. Direct Flights are also available from Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen with Loganair if you wish to book your travel arrangements independently, however we offer only a flight from Glasgow.
If you prefer not to fly, a ferry service is available to Stornoway from Ullapool with Caledonian MacBrayne. They provide one, each way crossing on Sundays. For more information, visit www.calmac.co.uk.
Scottish Citylink coaches operate service number 961 from Inverness to Ullapool, with luggage handling through to Stornoway arrivals hall. Citylink connects with coach services from Glasgow and Edinburgh, which in turn connect with the National Express network. Booking for coaches is essential. Please see www.citylink.co.uk for more information. The nearest rail station is at Inverness, where railway passengers transfer to the coach service shown above.
To reach Glasgow …
Glasgow airport lies 8 miles to the west of Glasgow city and is within easy reach of the rest of Scotland. If driving, principal access is off junction 28 of the M8.
All public buses depart from the front of the terminal building. Charter coaches pick up and drop off passengers at the short stay coach park on Bute Road, adjacent to international arrivals. There are frequent services to Glasgow city centre operated by Citylink.
Paisley's Gilmour Street railway station is the nearest to the airport. It is only 2 miles from the terminal and can be reached by taxi or by regular bus services. There are direct rail services from Paisley Gilmour Street to Glasgow Central, Ayr and Clyde Coast destinations. There are five trains per hour on a Sunday from Gilmour Street to Glasgow Central.
Please see www.glasgowairport.com/to-and-from for more information to help you with your travel plans to Glasgow.
UK flights to Glasgow are available with British Airways from £150 supplement return. For further details please contact our travel department.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements
If you wish to organise your own flights from either a non-UK or UK regional airport, or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. If you choose to do this, before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at the hotel. Although airport/train station transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport/train station, depending on your flight/train arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight/train must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight/train to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight/train number, arrival time and departure point so that your Adagio Leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Tickets
When booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday with us, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
Please ensure that the personal details we have on file for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements.
Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to accurately manage your holiday booking are correct at the time of booking (including health and dietry requirements). You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.adagio.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 386700. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport page (with your photo on). Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country. Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Stornoway is the main town on the east coast of the Isle of
Lewis, with a population of around 11,000, making it by far the
largest town in the Hebrides. Home to the island’s airport, Stornoway
is a town with a wide range of facilities.
With a population of 800, Tarbert is the capital of Harris. The village dates back to 1779 when it was established as a fishing settlement. You will find a bank, two grocery stores, a post office and hairdressers here.
Nestled in a valley where north and south Harris meet and set against a backdrop of rugged mountain peaks, Tarbert serves as a focal point and transport hub for the area. Your hotel is located in the heart of Tarbert and the remainder of your holiday will be spent here.
This holiday is on a half board basis throughout. Breakfasts and
evening meals will be taken in each hotel’s restaurant. Lunches,
usually in cafes or restaurants, will be at your expense and we
suggest you allow at least £8 per day.
Footwear & Kit List
Comfortable, broken in, walking boots or shoes with a good sole are recommended for this holiday. Walking shoes or other comfortable footwear will be suitable for sightseeing days.
General Kit List
We recommend you bring the following items with you:
- Lightweight walking boots with ankle support (you may prefer walking shoes if you have strong ankles. No sandals.)
- Waterproof jacket and trousers. It can rain in Scotland!
- A sunhat, fleece and gloves… to cover all weather eventualities.
- Scotland is famous for its changeable weather so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities. Thinner layers are good as the weather in Shetland can change quickly.
- Swimwear should you choose to have a day off and visit the local Scalloway Leisure Centre
- Suncream & sunglasses.
- A water bottle.
- A simple basic first aid kit.
- A daypack to hold all the above.
- Walking poles if you are accustomed to use them.
- Deet insect spray to prevent midges bites.
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Travel Document Checklist
To ensure your holiday gets off to a good start, please make sure that you bring the following documents and information with you:
- Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
- Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
- Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
- Holiday currency
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
- Your travel insurance details
- Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
- Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Maps & Guidebooks
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
Tel: 01684 593 146
E-mail: [email protected]
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Find out more
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Avg. Rain: 70mm
Avg. Rain: 51mm
Avg. Rain: 51mm
Avg. Rain: 46mm
Avg. Rain: 49mm
Avg. Rain: 51mm
Avg. Rain: 58mm
Avg. Rain: 65mm
Avg. Rain: 62mm
Avg. Rain: 75mm
Avg. Rain: 74mm
Avg. Rain: 73mm
Staying Healthy on Holiday
Further Health Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
Although insurance is not compulsory for this holiday for UK residents, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in eventualities such as unexpected cancellation.
We're committed to operating responsible tours in all our destinations as best we can. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel Ltd’s (inc Adagio) profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public.
In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for future holidays. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
We suggest that you may want to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.