Hebrides – Four Day Tour – A Journey through the Isles – from Lewis to Iona – Itinerary
This Private Hebrides – Four Day Tour take in Lewis and Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, then visit Skye, Mull and Iona in the Inner Hebrides.
- Day One; Inverness to Ullapool ferry, Lewis by lunchtime, Callanish Stones, Dun Carloway Broch and other visits. Overnight Stornoway.
- Day Two; Stornoway to Isle of Harris with choice of visits including Luskentyre Beach. Ferry to Isle of Skye. Trotternish Peninsula. Overnight Portree.
- Day Three; Portree through Cuillin Mountains. Ferry to Mainland. Scenic drive through Ardnamurchan. Ferry to Isle of Mull. Overnight Tobermory.
- Day Four; Tobermory to Iona and Staffa (Fingal’s Cave and puffins) or Tobermory to the Treshnish Isles (puffins). Ferry to Mainland. Late return to Inverness.
On this journey we undertake an odyssey through the mystical islands of the west. We describe the locations we visit more fully below.
Day One – Inverness to Stornoway – Hebrides – Four Day Tour
Stornoway is an attractive port town and ferry terminal as well as being the main town in the Outer Hebrides and capital of the Isle of Lewis. As a result, we can find a wide range of hotels, restaurants and a great range of fine shops (including the Harris Tweed Shop). The Lewis Loom centre also offers guided tours.
The stone circles at Callanish have always been one of the most impressive and mysterious places on the Isle of Lewis. There are several stone circles in the vicinity, but Callanish I is the oldest, largest and most unique in terms of layout. Callanish I was probably laid out as an astronomical temple and is older than Stonehenge. These stones are also very popular because they are the inspiration for the stones in Outlander, and also the movie “Brave”.
Dun Carloway Broch
Dun Carloway Broch is one of about 500 brochs in Scotland and one of only a handful still standing to near its original height. It is the best-preserved Iron Age building in Lewis. These Brochs are round towers unique to Scotland. Dun Carloway is a fine example, because it is easy to see this tower in cross-section. The double-skinned wall with internal galleries is clearly visible. Although dating from around 200 BC, stories suggest that clan Morrison were still using it as a stronghold in the 1500’s.
An Gearrannan Village
Gearrannan was a living community until the 1970’s, when it was abandoned. Since 1989 a local trust has been restoring this thatched village to recreate an authentic settlement for visitors to see. As well as cafe and shop there are a number of other activities here. We can watch tweed being woven, take a walk to the bay, or just enjoy the information available in the film and displays.
Dalbeg Beach is one of the prettiest beaches in Lewis. It is a perfect crescent of sand, and looking seaward we can see a rock stac standing to the left of the entrance. A small freshwater loch lies just to landward. The bay itself is perfect for sunset photography because it looks to the northwest.
Arnol Blackhouse Museum
As at An Gearannan, the Arnol Blackhouse Museum offers visitors the chance to see and understand how the islanders lived, in this case until 1965. Smell the peat fire, which was the heart of every home and never allowed to go out. “Smooring” the fire preserved it through the night. Every Blackhouse provided shelter for people and their animals, and the lack of windows or chimneys kept the building cosy, although undoubtedly smoky!
Day Two – Stornoway through Isle of Harris to Skye – Hebrides – Four Day Tour
The Isle of Harris distillery is found on the harbourfront, in Tarbert, which is the main community on Harris. The distillery was founded in 2015, and is widely known as “the social distillery” partly because of the open, generous and hospitable nature of the island and its people. Isle of Harris Gin has become a much sought-after bottle, and the first whisky is on its way. Meantime, the distillery staff are delighted to offer tours or have folks stop by the cafe, bar and shop.
Luskentyre Beach is truly magical. It has won many awards, and as a result is lauded as one of the best beaches in the world by TripAdvisor. The Caribbean colours of the water and the miles of perfect sand make it a wonderful stop. The water temperature can be a little sharp, but that is not always enough to get in the way of a dip!
The Golden Road
The rock below our wheels on the east coast road is Lewisian Gneiss. This is the oldest rock in the world, and as a result, is very hard and contorted. The landscape looks almost lunar because the ice sheets in the last ice age have scoured the Gneiss back to bedrock. All of this makes road building difficult and expensive. It is no surprise, therefore that the communities here had to wait until 1847 for a road. And no surprise either, that they called it the Golden Road, due to the cost. The scenery is rewarding though, as the road wends its way past lily-covered ponds and round sea bays. Artists, crafters andweavers are also found along this route.
The chief of the MacLeods built Rodel (or more properly St Clements) Church in the early 1500’s. It found fame recently because it starred in the 2019 Christmas Special of “Call the Midwife” The church is the finest medieval building in the Outer Hebrides, and contains a large collection of impressive stone sculptures and carvings. The exterior of the church carries a number of well-preserved carvings too.
Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides. It is known the world over for breathtaking scenery and its rich body of myth and legend. Because we arrive by ferry from the Outer Hebrides we make landfall at the north end of the island. As a result, we have the chance to enjoy the most scenic of Skye’s attractions on our way through.
The Trotternish Peninsula
The Trotternish Peninsula is rich in mountain and coastal scenery. As we travel you will see the Quiraing, an amazing landslip resulting in fabulous landscapes beloved by filmakers. For a landscape, this location has an impressive back catalogue; The BFG, Macbeth, Stardust, The Land That Time Forgot, Snow White and the Huntsman, 47 Ronin, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Transformers: The Last Knight!.Farther on you can enjoy the famous Kilt Rock, Lealt – the largest waterfall on Skye, and the fantastic rock pinnacles at the Old Man of Storr which featured in the Wicker Man and Prometheus..
Portree, (meaning the King’s harbour) is the capital of the Isle of Skye. It has attracted an interesting range of people over the centuries, like Bonnie Prince Charlie, Turner, Tennyson and R. L. Stevenson. It is a very pretty town, popular with our visitors because it has a great range of shops and eating places, and has many brightly coloured houses along its harbour side.
Day Three – Isle of Skye – Tobermory – Hebrides – Four Day Tour
The Black Cuillins
Bucket list books often list the Black Cuillins as Scotland’s entry. We think that is due to the long, spectacular ridge of black, jagged peaks that, frankly, would be more at home in a fantasy novel. More so once you knowthey are the cold dead heart of an ancient super-volcano! Tales of olden times wreath round these peaks like mist.
Ardnamurchan is a wild and beautiful peninsula, remote because it is accessed only by a single track road. It is the most westerly point on the British mainland and clothed in magnificent native atlantic oakwoods. On our drive towards the ferry we will pass a distillery, a natural history centre and some nature trails. The vistas from the road are amazing, because of the scatter of islands in all directions but east.
Isle of Mull
The Isle of Mull is the second largest of the Inner Hebrides. It is well known for its wildlife, sealife, scenery, culture and food. We arrive in the main town, Tobermory, by ferry in the afternoon.
We love all the local craft and artisan shops here. If shopping or a visit to the Tobermory distillery is your thing then tell us. We can target an earlier ferry to ensure that you have time for these pursuits. Tobermory has even more of the brightly coloured houses than Portree, and a great range of eating places. We overnight here, and then embark next morning on your choice of adventure for your last day.
Day Four – Isle of Mull to Inverness – Hebrides – Four Day Tour
We can either take a boat from Tobermory to the Treshnish Isles, to visit Lunga, the main island for two hours with the birdlife, and a visit to Staffa for Fingal’s Cave or we drive to the south tip of Mull taking a ferry to the holy island of Iona. This can either be solely a visit to Iona, or can be coupled with a trip to Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. Puffins flock to both the Treshnish and Staffa between April and August. After the islands we drive back to Inverness.
Isle of Iona
The Isle of Iona is about three miles long and has a population of about 130. It is remarkably beautiful, has deep mystical significance and so has a very special atmosphere. The most famous site on the island is Iona Abbey, where Columba and followers set up their settlement in 563 AD. They came from Ireland to spread Celtic christianity throughout the kingdoms of northern Britain.
Isle of Staffa
The Vikings named the Isle of Staffa, and it means Pillar Isle. This is because of the six-sided basalt columns around it, just like at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Island. Mendelssohn visited in 1829, and the sound of the sea moving in and out of Fingal’s Cave inspired him to write his Hebrides Overture. In spring and early summer the island is a great place for watching guillemots, razorbills and puffins.
Lying west of Mull we find the Treshnish Isles. These are an uninhabited archipelago, and as a result the puffins and other nesting seabirds have little fear of humans. The waters in this area are rich too, with frequent sightings of dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks and minke whales.
Hebrides – Four Day Tour – A Journey through the Isles – Price
£1680 for the tour. Ferry tickets are separate online purchases for you. The ferry tickets price may vary slightly as a result of the number of people in your party, and there will be a guide lodgings supplement of £315 for 2021.
Hebrides – Four Day Tour – A Journey through the Isles – Departure
The tour departs from your Inverness accommodation, or any transport hub, such as bus station, train station or airport. You tell us, and we’ll be there.