Adventures on Harris and Lewis

Harris up

Travelling from Lewis from Harris gave me the perfect opportunity to explore some more of the island on my Western Isles road trip. One of the many things that I have fallen in love with in the Outer Hebrides, is that there always seems to be lots more to explore!

exploring more of Harris and Lewis
exploring more of Harris and Lewis

Lewis might have been today’s destination, but as always, the journey itself is just as important. There are still plenty of opportunities to make the most of every mile travelled. Its not everyday you get to experience this kind of rugged beauty!

Wild coastal views across the Isle of Harris
Wild coastal views across the Isle of Harris

Road trip perfection

The weather was great, the roads were clear. Perfect road trip conditions. You even had perfect coffee break locations en-route to take in the amazing panoramic views over Harris’s undulating rocky landscape. Not a view I would tire of anytime soon. In the distance I could see the mountainous region that acts as the Harris/Lewis boarder area.

Not a bad coffee break view over Harris
Not a bad coffee break view over Harris

Having crossed over the ‘boarder’ into Lewis, as I wasn’t in a rush, I thought I’d use the afternoon to head over to explore the South Lochs area of Lewis. Another stunning area of the island. I found a fantastic stopover for the night so decided to call it a day for driving and just enjoy the location as it was so beautiful and I had it all to myself!

Small world

Woke up the next morning to find I had company on the little jetty! A motor home had arrived during the night to also stopover. I noticed some stickers on it that seemed to indicate it was also from East Sussex. I got to chatting with the couple driving it, and sure enough they lived just a few miles away from me near the town of Battle, in East Sussex! It’s a very small world sometimes. It was their last day on the Island before they began to head home. I guess I should be thinking of doing this soon as well… just not yet!

Jetty Loch side camping spot for the night
Jetty Loch side camping spot for the night

Now that I was back in Lewis, I thought I would take the opportunity to fill up with diesel and get a few more supplies in the main town of Stornoway. Once topped up with fuel and food, I decided to head across to the most easterly area on Lewis, called Point (or the Eye Peninsula). It’s a 6 or 7 mile long peninsula that’s connected to the rest of the Isle of Lewis by a narrow 1 mile long isthmus, that at one point narrows to just 100 metres wide. (apologies for mixed units, I was a child of metric/imperial transition!) The peninsula acted as a natural ‘causeway’ to drive across this time. It wasn’t long before I settled on a good seafront spot to stop over for the night.

Stop over on Point (or the Eye Peninsula)
Stop over on Point (or the Eye Peninsula)

Wanderlust

In the morning my wanderlust took me back up to the Butt of Lewis/Ness area for the day. Its a nice drive out from Stornoway across the moorland of Lewis. Very different to the rocky and mountainous terrain of Harris. I think in part, it’s this variety and changeability of the landscape that I have enjoyed so much. It feels like you’ve explored more, even on a relatively small land mass as this.

Crystal clear turquoise sea with dramatic cloudscape
Crystal clear turquoise sea with dramatic cloudscape

With new day, another new destination to wake up too. Once again, it was an early start to the day. Nothing nicer than a sunrise breakfast by the Butt of Lewis lighthouse with views out over the North Atlantic Ocean as the sun broke over the horizon. I had decided it was time to start making my way back south to Hastings. Over breakfast of porridge and tea, I made sure to soak in the view. I will miss this. No better way to start the day!

sunrise breakfast at Butt of Lewis
sunrise breakfast at Butt of Lewis

Last Ferry

So one last drive back down through the landscape of Lewis to Tarbert harbour on the North/South Harris divide. It’s not a long drive, but I took my time to make sure I made the most of these last moments on the island. I arrived with enough time to actually book a ticket in the ferry office for the next afternoon crossing. Look at me, finally I have actually booked a ferry ticket! Now I can get a place in the booked lane, rather than the ‘hope and see’ lane that I had grown accustomed to!

my last ferry from Tarbert back to Uig on Skye
my last ferry from Tarbert back to Uig on Skye

The beautiful weather I had been experiencing over the last few days seemed to change as the ferry got nearer to the port of Uig on the Isle of Skye. It seemed like Skye had been consumed by clouds… rain clouds! So as it was getting dark soon, time to avoid Skye’s ‘road congestion’ and find a spot for the night! This weather didn’t look like it was going to clear anytime soon.

Traffic congestion on Skye
Traffic congestion on Skye

Cool Cafe

I was right about the weather. It literally rained solidly all night. No point in hanging around in this weather, so I made another early start in the morning. Today was mostly going to be a driving day as I worked my way back down south. However, I cant visit Skye and not visit the coolest little cafe that is Cafe Arriba in Portree. We had some superb food here on our last road trip in the Split Screen bus, so I was hoping they would be open for a full Scottish breakfast to help me on my journey.

The fantastic Cafe Arriba at Portree, Skye
The fantastic Cafe Arriba at Portree, Skye

Happy days! Once again Cafe Arriba delivered a delicious start to the day. Their coffee is also great, and really worth trying. I normally only make my own on road trips, but I know that theirs is well worth having, so I make an exception when visiting. Once again, no disappointments. Love this place. Well fed for the day, it was time to continue on my journey back down south.

Glencoe waterfall in full effect
Glencoe waterfall in full effect

Waterfall wonders

I pretty much had the windscreen wipers on all day as I was driving south down through Skye and through Glencoe and the Highlands of Scotland. Today was very much a rainy day. One good thing about that though, it really does make for some pretty spectacular waterfalls!

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2 thoughts on “Adventures on Harris and Lewis”

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading your trip reports. We went to the OH in June this year so it’s nice to see what you did on your visit. In June it was much busier than I thought it would be and a lot of campsites were full. The Uists were our favourite part. On instagram I’m mikethehiker if you want to look.
    Thanks for posting your reports.

    Reply
    • Hi Mike, glad your enjoying it 😊

      Yeah I’d heard it was much busier earlier in the year. I was trying to imagine what the roads/beach areas were like with all the people! Must have felt pretty crowded at times?

      I’m on Instagram too as @vdubxs

      Reply

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