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Scotland's Hebrides Islands, off its west coast, offer a wonderful range of different sights and experiences.

Our Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour takes you 8 islands (via 11 ferry crossings and a steam train ride), giving you a great time seeing much of the Inner and Outer Hebrides as well as time in the Highlands.

Here is one person's account of her experiences on our 2010 tour.

 
 
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Scotland's Islands & Highlands Tour Diary

Day 9 :  Skye and over to Harris and Lewis
 

The Cuilins on Skye

After a lazy morning then some touring around Skye we took a ferry to our last two islands - Harris and Lewis.

Part of an 11 day/page trip diary - click the links on the right hand side for the other days in this diary.

 

 

Jeanette and her husband Ken were on our 2010 Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour, and Jeanette kept a detailed day by day diary of the tour.

She has very graciously allowed it to be re-published here, so as to allow you an unvarnished view into what the tour was all about.

The text is hers, which I've respected and not changed apart from a few subheadings and extra paragraph breaks and some Americanizations of her English spelling (they are from New Zealand).

I've sourced the pictures and their captions are also from me, not Jeanette.

You can follow along with her narration by tracking the tour on this tour itinerary page and the linked Google maps.

I hope this will encourage you to come on our 2011 Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour.

Day 9 – Tuesday June 22nd 2010 – Portree (Isle of Skye) to Stornaway (Isle of Lewis)

Google Touring Map for the Day

The alarm woke me with a start at 7am so I must have been sleeping well. We both had a shower and I felt a lot better and certainly cleaner after sweating half the night. The main impact of this 'bug' is that I have now almost lost my voice and I still have a headache. My sinuses seem clearer and my throat is not sore. We had breakfast about 8:30am and I managed to get my emails on the internet.


A view of the shoreline at Portree, taken from by the Bosville Hotel; the Royal Hotel is on the far right of the picture.

We did not have to check out of our room until 11am so Ken went for a walk after packing his bags and I had a sleep.

We were all loaded on the bus from the two hotels by midday. We left Jeannette and Billie Jo behind with Jeannette still in hospital with asthma and a chest infection. She expects to be ready to travel back home again in a day or two.

We made a quick detour to the Talisker Distillery, the only one on Skye, so Malcolm (and others) could get a photo.


The amazing emptiness of the landscape - this view is from Dun Beag looking back to the coach (the little white dot in the center) and beyond.

At 1pm we stopped at Dun Beag Broch, an ancient fort for those willing to walk to the top of the hill to explore the ruins. Ken said there were great views from there.

I stayed on the bus with a few others as it was getting rather chilly with heavy clouds overhead. Ken said the walk was worth it to see the defenses with a plaque describing the various layers of the 2000 year old fort.

It was our turn to have the front seat all afternoon so we got the best views of the rugged countryside. There were 2 flat top mountains that were called McLeods' Tables as Skye is the Isle of the McLeods. I did not know that the Piper is the 2nd in command in the clan, a very important person.


Dunvegan Castle.

We arrived at Dunvegan Castle at 1:30pm, the ancestral home of the MacLeod Clan. The sun was trying to shine as though under water (rather watery) and while we were inside the castle the mist descended so it became very wet outside.

We enjoyed the castle as there was a lot to see especially reading about Flora MacDonald, the clan chief.

We bought 2 books – Dunvegan Castle Guidebook (2.00) and Samuel Johnson & James Boswell (9.99).

By 3:45pm we were on our way to Uig, on the northern tip of Skye, to catch the ferry to Tarbart on the Isle of Harris.


A warning sign at the Duntulm Castle ruins, and one of our group fearlessly beyond it.

We drove right through Uig and took a single lane road to the ruins of Duntulm Castle. Some hardy people went out and braved the cold wind and mist but Ken and I, and most others, stayed in the warmth of the coach.

The rain set in as we drove back to Uig. There was a lot of traffic on this one lane road so the passing bays got well used.

We were at the pier by 5:20pm but the MV Hebrides did not arrive until 5:45pm. This was the largest ship we had sailed on so far as she could carry 110 cars and 600 people. We were able to stay on the coach until we were on the ferry, then we went upstairs to the observation lounge where the seats were suitable for lying on.

We had a muesli bar and a banana each then I stretched out and had a sleep. Ken woke me about 7:10pm with a lovely hot chocolate (2.10). By 7:30pm we could see the Island of Harris and the small town of Tarbert. We had a very smooth sailing all the way in the misty rain.

The ship arrived at 7:40pm (on time) and we were driving off by 8pm. We are now in the Outer Hebrides. Harris has a population under 2000 with Tarbert as the main port and capital village (no cities here). Lewis has a much larger population nearing 20,000. Lewis and Harris have always been one island, but with 2 names, connected by a small isthmus. Harris is very hilly while Lewis is much flatter. Harris tweed was first woven here in 1900. Unfortunately for some on our coach, there are no distilleries in the Outer Hebrides.


The Royal Hotel in Stornoway.

We crossed over into Lewis about 8:10pm on our way to Stornoway, an old Viking Centre. We arrived at the Royal Hotel by 8:45pm and settled into our room (28) which had a nice view from our bedroom and bathroom across a small inlet to the Stornoway castle.

The room was a good size with a large bathroom. We actually had a refrigerator and Internet wi-fi in the room.

I rang Mum (on Skype) at 11pm then lights out by 11:30pm. I still had a cough with the sore throat back again and a headache so not too well tonight.

Read more in the rest of Jeanette's Diary

See the links to each day of the eleven day tour/trip diary at the top right of this page.

 

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Originally published 7 Jan 2011, last update 02 Jul 2017

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 
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Scotland Trip Diary Day 7
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Scotland Trip Diary Day 9
Scotland Trip Diary Day 10
Scotland Trip Diary Day 11

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