Highlands and Islands of Scotland

Hiking the Outer Hebrides and Isle of Skye

Trip Level

This trip is rated a Level 3+ (Moderate to Strenuous) according to our trip grading system. You will need to be comfortable hiking 5.5 miles a day, being on your feet for 7 hours a day, and hiking on uneven surfaces including downhill over loose scree. Trail conditions, weather, and the group’s level of fitness can affect hiking times and pacing.

Average Hiking Day
• 4-5 miles
• 3-4 hours
• 1,000 feet gain/loss

Challenge Days
• Day 7: 5.5 miles, 5 hours, 2,000 feet gain

Terrain

While many of the hikes follow recognized trails, they are not “groomed” and can feel quite rugged. There are sections that can be muddy and have loose rocks, but no scrambling is required. As is common in Scotland, we may hike off-trail where the terrain allows. Many hikers prefer to use trekking poles on the less groomed sections.

Weather

Even in the summer, Scotland is famous for its changeable weather. It is necessary to pack in preparation for cold rain, persistent fog, mist, and beautiful, sunny weather. The rule here is to be prepared for any eventuality by creating a layering system that takes you from shorts to warm rain gear, including waterproof pants. Note that waterproof ponchos are NOT recommended for hiking in Scotland, as the wind makes them less efficient.

Accommodations

Our accommodations are in small, quaint hotels that have been selected for their local history and charm. Since they are often in historic buildings, the rooms are not always of uniform or international size. Our leaders do their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Wifi is often spotty and limited. Air conditioning is not common, but it is rarely needed. Our hotel in Tarbert can be noisy as it is located near town, so bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper. Single rooms can be requested but are not always available, due to the limited space in the hotels. If you prefer a single room, please make your request as early as possible.

Cuisine

Lunches will either be at local cafes or a packed lunch during one of our hikes. Packed lunches typically include sandwiches, fresh fruit, snack bars, and other Scottish specialties like oatcakes and cheese. Cafes usually offer soups, sandwiches, and paninis. Dinners will be at a local restaurant or at the hotel. Please also note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

Transportation

Our van will transport the group's luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need for the day (rain gear, sweater, camera, water bottle, etc.). Trip members are always free to skip a day's hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle (or remain at the hotel if we are not transferring that day).

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.