The weather in Scotland in summer 2018 has been pretty spectacular and there is no better place to spend a beach holiday in the British Isles than on the Isle of Harris. We spent 4 days during early May on the Outer Hebrides and the most memorable of these was a bespoke daytrip around the island with a new tour operator called Harris Scenic Tours (website, Facebook page).
We were absolutely blown away by the beauty of the island and Kathleen Duce was an exceptional tour guide. Not only did Kathleen set us up to meet a real Harris Tweed weaver, she was also super friendly and shared local island stories hard to find in a guidebook. We cannot recommend their tours enough, even if you are bringing your own car / campervan as they really show you a side of the island as only a local can.
Top tip: We cannot recommend driving down the underrated east coast (Golden Road + Bays Road) enough. We could see Skye very clearly and some of the views were pretty unbelievable.
Thanks to @harrisscenictours, this stunning view from the Bays Road on the Isle of Harris, Scotland was one of the many we experienced over the weekend that we had no idea existed. A lot more to Harris beyond the beaches, we highly recommend booking a daytrip with @harrisscenictours if visiting the Isle of Harris this summer. #isleofharris #outerhebrides #visitscotland 📌Bays Road, Isle of Harris, Scotland
Isle of Harris Daytrip Itinerary
Note: Our daytrip was roughly a combination of the Hushinish tour (£30pp) and the South Harris tour (£50pp) operated by Harris Scenic Tours up to the month of September (link to all tours). The trip legs below end at major stops.
- Beul Na Mara B&B Seilebost – Loch Miabhag
- Loch Miabhag – Hushinish Beach
- Hushinish Beach – Golden Road
- Golden road – Bays Road – Rodel
- Rodel – Anchorage restaurant Leverburgh (lunch)
- Leverburgh – Northton – Seilebost
Note: Both the Harris Tweed stops have been discussed in greater detail here: https://beyondourhorizons.com/2018/05/25/harris-tweed-outer-hebrides-a-behind-the-scenes-look/
Seilebost to Loch Miabhag
The road to Hushinish is pretty dramatic and we got to see a number of unique landscapes and buildings along the way. We passed by an erstwhile Nordic whaling station and one of the world’s most remote tennis court before stopping to take in the dramatic landscape behind Loch Miabhag. The path right in the middle leads to the Harris Eagle Observatory (Walkhighlands), home to 20 pairs of Golden Eagles! The day started off grey for us till we reached the viewpoint in the video below.
We also saw a helicopter(!) ferrying salmon from an inland loch to a boat that would that would essentially take it away along the supply chain. Now that is something that you’d be hard pressed to see anywhere else.
Loch Miabhag to Hushinish Beach
Often overshadowed by heavyweights like Luskentyre and Seilebost, Hushinish is absolutely one of the very best beaches in all of Scotland and one that should be on every Harris visitor list. Kathleen first took us towards the Scarp end and showed us a “secret beach” that is reachable after a short trail walk that was looking so enticing.
After seeing this lovely view (for which Kathleen drove over as very sandy road), Yoda and Dalek took a lovely walk down the beach. The description for the shimmer blue water was aptly put as “glittering diamonds” by Kathleen. We took a relaxing walk on the white sands and used the facilities in the modern Huisinis Gateway.
Public transport tip: Direct (non-request) buses run from Tarbert to Huisinis making this beach one of the very best to reach solely by public transport (timetable). Pack a tent, get some meal deals, take the bus and camp!
Hushinish Beach to the Golden Road
After thoroughly enjoying the sunshine, we left for our first Harris Tweed stop – the exhibition at Drinishader on the Golden Road. On the way back, we stopped by the unmanned honesty shop to buy crisps and real honeycomb at the Amhuinnsuidhe Castle shop.
It was past noon at this point and the skies were so clear, we could see the Trotternish ridge on the Isle of Skye! Clo-Mor in Gaelic means “The big cloth” and is the local name for both Harris Tweed and the wonderful exhibition centre and shop in Drinishader. This is the one place we’d recommend for anyone wishing to learn more about how Harris Tweed is made. More details in the Harris Tweed blogpost.
Golden Road to Rodel via Bays Road
This leg contains one of the most underrated parts of the Outer Hebrides and is essentially the Hebridean equivalent of the Bealach Na Ba / NC 500. We saw a number of seals sunbathing, birds dipping in inland lochs, fjords, dramatic hills and, our favourite part, stories from Kath about growing up in the eastern part of the island. Manish Hill, Geocrab and the iconic St. Clement church in Rodel are scenic spots of note.
Rodel – Leverburgh (Seafood Lunch)
It was a bit past 2 PM and our stomachs had begun to rumble so we headed to one of the best restaurants on the island – the Anchorage. The food was pretty spectacular with fresh langoustines (and chips ;)) being the star main and the sticky toffee pudding the perfect dessert. Great wine selection as well, highly recommended.
Leverburgh to Seilebost via Northton
The final leg of our journey had us visit Rebecca Hutton of Toabh Tuath Tweeds who is an award winning Harris Tweed weaver based in Northton (details in the Harris Tweed post). Here’s where we rounded off the day seeing some of the most spectacular beaches on the west coast of Harris including Northton, Scarista, Borve, Hogarabost and our home base of Seilebost. It rounded off a spectacular day of sightseeing, one that we would do again in a heartbeat.
Public Transport & Travel Logistics
Getting In by Public Transport
- Glasgow to Stornoway with LoganAir (arrives at noon)
- Short taxi to Stornoway bus terminal + lunch (langoustines again)
- 2:20 PM Bus W10 to Tarbert operated by Hebridean transport
- A short break at the Isle of Harris hotel (+ meeting a colleague randomly 300 miles away from office)
- Bus W10 to Beul Na Mara, Seilebost (review pending, the best B&B we have stayed at in Scotland, TripAdvisor)
All the pictures in this blogpost were taken on the same day travelling with Harris Scenic Tours. They run a tour 5 days of the week (not on Friday and Sunday) and also provide local taxi services.
If you’re short on time and have a day to spare while on Skye, you could take their South Harris tour during the summer by taking the first ferry to Harris from Uig on Skye as a foot passenger in time for the last ferry back.
Public transport timetables: https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/roads-travel-and-parking/public-transport/bus-services/harris/ (No buses on Sunday)
- Bring lots of cash from the mainland.
- Only EE & Vodafone work in Seilebost & Luskentyre.
- Don’t miss our next post on our favourite businesses on the island (Isle of Harris gin is unmissable, of course)
© 2018 Beyond Our Horizons