Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
The Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides has it all, from dramatic sea cliffs and white sandy beaches to rugged mountains and mysterious standing stones. For a low budget adventurous trip, run, walk, surf, swim and ride to explore this remote and beautiful island.
The Isle of Lewis is only accessible by boat, and the ferry crossing is part of the adventure. Enjoy views of the Scottish Islands from the deck, and have a drink in the bar during the 2-3 hour crossing from Ullapool on the mainland to Stornoway. The ferry even has a dedicated area for sheep dogs!
An adult return costs around £18 in the winter, and bikes are free. A car costs around £99 return. Crossings are limited, especially in the winter, so check the times and book in advance.
With a little exploration there are plenty of secluded places to camp. Perch by a cliff, choose your sea view, and feel like you have the island to yourself. If you prefer a campsite with facilities, there designated camping spots including Reef Beach at Uig, and Eilean Fraoich camp site at Shawbost, but bear in mind they aren’t open all year round.
Beaches and coves
With soft white sands and clean water, the beaches on Lewis are world class and it’s often possible to have an entire beach to yourself. There are sandy coves to discover all along the coast and larger beaches in the west at Mangersta and Uig. There are a good range of beaches, points, and reefs along the west of the island for surfing all year round.
This tiny stone bothy clings the sea cliffs at Mangersta. It has a woodburner, wooden slats with space for one person to sleep, and windows that look out off the edge of the cliff. Anyone can stay in the bothy, you can’t book, it has limited facilities, and you never know who else will arrive when you’re there!
Callanish standing stones
The Callanish stones are a series of mysterious circles and avenues of standing stones. One of the best examples of prehistoric standing stones in the UK, there is a visitor centre, but the stones are accessible at all times.
Stornoway is the only town on the island, so take the supplies that you need. Since it’s the Scottish Highlands, be prepared for the weather which could be wet, windy, cold, cloudy sunny or clear, probably all in the same day.
Maps: OS Explorer Map 458 West Lewis