What's on the Outer Hebrides?

Discussion in 'Scotland/Alba' started by Pwerus, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. Pwerus

    Pwerus Done here

    I'm going on holiday to the Outer Hebrides this August. I've heard there's not a lot going on, but I'm looking forward to going somewhere a little more remote. Nevertheless, does anyone have any recommendations for things to do, things to see, places to eat, etc? Should I be learning Scottish Gaelic? I'm really interested in seeing red squirrels if anyone knows a good place for finding them.[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw acknowledging ur soup leg

    I'm fairly sure there aren't any squirrels at all in the Outer Hebrides. There's some really great beaches - Luskentyre, Scarista and Horgabost are close to each other, all three are beautiful and all three are usually really quiet. The water may look like the Caribbean, but it's still the North Atlantic and fecking cold.
     
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  3. Pwerus

    Pwerus Done here

    I thought 80% of Red Squirrels in the British Isles are in Scotland, although maybe they're just the mainland.
    I'll live - I can probably stop by on the way there or back in the mainland to see them.
     
  4. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw acknowledging ur soup leg

    If you're driving then you'll pass through the epicentre of the red squirrel population, for sure. They are quite a bit more secretive than their grey cousins though, so it's not guaranteed you'll see any, unless there's a wildlife centre or something on the way.
     
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  5. Pwerus

    Pwerus Done here

    I'm driving, so that'll do fine. Thank you also for the beaches recommendation. I'm not much of a swimmer, but I'm fairly keen on beaches and seas as is.
     
  6. Sea Star

    Sea Star i no longer belong here

    I spent a few days on Harris and Lewis, but the weather was awful. Was there longer than planned too as ferry was cancelled on the day we were due back on the mainland.

    I remember this being a highpoint Callanish Stones - Wikipedia
     
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  7. Pwerus

    Pwerus Done here

    I'm not too concerned about the weather, since I'm visiting in the middle of August, but that seems like an interesting place to check out. I've been to Stonehenge and the standing stones in Northern France a few times, and I'm always a sucker for the embryonic Western civilisation!
     
  8. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw acknowledging ur soup leg

    :D I'd bring waterproofs and warm clothes anyway...
     
  9. Sea Star

    Sea Star i no longer belong here

    I seem to remember we mostly drove around looking for fantastic scenery - like this - but we couldn't get out of the car for long due to extreme rain, wind and cold.

    Hopefully you'll get better weather than we did.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Sea Star

    Sea Star i no longer belong here

    I honestly think we were there in July, maybe even into August. It was still terrible weather!
     
  11. Sea Star

    Sea Star i no longer belong here

    There's a castle near Stornaway which I think we visited. I remember everything - and I mean everything - shutting on Sunday. The people there were pretty hardcore about their religion. You couldn't even hang your washing out on a sunday.

    Also there not being many places to drink or eat. Mostly there were restaurants in Stornaway and maybe one pub in total on the whole island. That might have changed.

    The views across the rest of the outer Hebrides from south coast are to die for. I'd like to have done a bit of hill walking too but the weather was not going to let us.
     
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  12. TheHoodedClaw

    TheHoodedClaw acknowledging ur soup leg

    Sundays aren't as restricted as they used to be in Stornoway, there's restaurants and hotels open at least. Elsewhere you'll be out of luck I suspect.
     
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  13. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    This thread is worth a read:

    Visiting the west coast in August - midge mayhem?

    You won't need to learn Gaelic and Squirrels are IME best found in Highland Perthshire/Rothiemurcus.

    If you want the full Western Isles Sunday experience, go to Scalpay. The playground still gets chained-up and you will be scalped if you have a meal in the only cafe there.
     
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  14. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    The Outer Hebrides are absolutely beautiful with incredible beaches. The character of the islands changes -- very strictly religious and presbytarian in Lewis and Catholic (and way more relaxed) by the time you get down to Barra.

    They say you get all four seasons in one day so going in August doesn't guarantee anything. I was there once in July though and it was 25 degrees and the pictures look like I was in the Caribbean...

    Where are you going? And have you sorted out accommodation as it can be quite limited.
     
  15. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    I've a photo songwhere of the chained up swings (and the sign) from maybe five years ago. :thumbs:
     
  16. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Was that not the Stornoway swings? IIRC that picture going popular was the final straw that made them stop - Now there is even a Sunday cinema in the metropolis.
     
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  17. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    It hit 30+ in the afternoon when I was at Callanish last July - hottest day of the entire trip.
     
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  18. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    Nope, was a photo i took on Scalpay -- we were staying on Harris. (I took a few others of 'respecting the Sabbath' signs on Lewis.)
     
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  19. Pwerus

    Pwerus Done here

    I imagine that'd be amid last year's colossal European heatwave.
     
  20. Pwerus

    Pwerus Done here

    OK thanks for the advice. I've heard midges aren't something to worry about until 6:00 PM, and I don't smoke. Should I just try to avoid going out then, or is it worth being cautious?
     
  21. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

    Er, nope :D they get worse at dusk but you get them all day. They don't like wind, or sun much so tend to dissipate if the weather's like that. If it's still and overcast, or raining, there's loads of them. They're awful around water (lochs/ponds etc). I didn't find them too bad in the western isles though, they're much worse on the mainland. They like forested areas best and there's not a lot of trees on the western isles.
     
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  22. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

    This was Barra in July last year, I think it was 27 degrees. People were swimming, in the Atlantic :eek:
    IMG_20170724_144045375.jpg
    IMG_20170724_142426737.jpg
    South Uist has beautiful machair flower grasslands all up the west coast
    IMG_20170730_195502.jpg
    IMG_20170725_120839037.jpg
    IMG_20170725_150530285.jpg
    Eigg is not really the Outer Hebrides but if you can add a day to visit it from Mallaig or Arisaig it's stunning and prehistoric looking
    IMG_20170729_121803640_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20170729_125721272.jpg
     
  23. Pwerus

    Pwerus Done here

    Sounds like a tempting idea. I'll be on the mainland anyway because I'll be driving there and back, and I love some good scenery.
     
  24. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

    It has good caves too. With a grisly history, if you like that sort of thing

    Bones linked to island cave massacre

    And it's entirely community-owned and populated by good guys.
     
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  25. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

    Oh, and you probably won't see red squirrels on the islands because they live in Scots Pine forests, of which there are none (see above re trees). But you might well see seals, dolphins, golden eagles, stags, white-tailed sea eagles etc etc :)
     
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  26. Sea Star

    Sea Star i no longer belong here

    I saw plenty seals, both from the island, bobbing about in the sea, and following us on the ferry across from Skye.


    ETA - I seemed to be immune to midges for some reason, but the guy I was there with had a lot of problems with them. He got through a lot of midge repellant!
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  27. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Some people are ok with midgies, others not and a few suffer very badly - You will just have to see how you fair.

    But as Weepiper said above - Near the sea, with a bit of height/breeze and you should do ok. Which is why I tend to choose coastal/Machair camp sites over inland/peat bog. You can't always avoid the midgies completely but they do tend to be a lot better. :)

    Machair sites also tend to have truly staggering insect populations - along with orchids and other intersting plant life but IME, you can coexist quite happily with them as they rarely if ever bite you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  28. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Apart from the day I arrived when it was chilly and wet, the whole trip barely dipped under the mid 20s during the day - IME it is always possible to get glorious hot sunny days in the height of the West/North West's short summer and July/August are the months most likely.
     
  29. Sea Star

    Sea Star i no longer belong here

    I was told there was a sweet spot in spring or early summer where the weather in western isles is always great. First time I went up there was when I was advised to and I came home with a tan. Unfortunately the second time I had to go later in the year and it was awful!! We were going to camp but our tent blew away so we had to do B&B instead.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  30. pogofish

    pogofish Testicle Hairstyle

    Yes - that's more for longer periods of consistent good weather. High summer can me more up and down - good or bad. :)
     

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