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The Outer Hebrides

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The Outer HebridesThe Outer Hebrides : Lewis & Harris

This is one the most beautiful and remote places off mainland Scotland and it’s certainly my favourite. The Outer Hebrides, Lewis and Harris – it’s like arriving in a different world.

It is extremely remote and I had an amazing adventure when I was last there with my family.  My tip. “Be Prepared”.

We took a bit of a risk because traveling so far into the wilderness with a 13-month baby – all the way to the Outer Hebrides for a holiday in early March is, by anybody’s standard, a bit adventurous. If you’ve ever been to the rocky and treeless Hebridean islands in winter you’ll know what I mean.

The Outer Hebrides

One of the famous 12th century Uig chessmen, discovered on the island in 1831, pulling the same expression I had when I discovered the car had stopped working!

It’s a breathtakingly beautiful place and we were spectacularly rewarded as we had traveled all the way from London to celebrate my birthday. Driving up to Scotland it such an amazing thing to do. We love it.

We love the wild places of Scotland, but this time the car let us down good and proper.

It can happen to anyone with an old car but our jalopy usually ran better once it warmed up a bit, but this day was different.   We drove to a  beautifully remote beach,  (the one in picture above), and it conked out! After a lot of trouble it was confined to three whole long days in a garage while a spare part worked its way up slowly from the mainland and so we were confined to a very small bed & breakfast near the garage.

Don’t get me wrong the B&B was fine and the owners were very friendly, but we soon ran out of things to chat about and, given that it wasn’t a hotel, we preferred  to leave the house early in the morning and stay out all day.

What could we do to fill our days? We tried going out on a bus but it was one of the most dangerous bus rides ever! The driver was like a man possessed, driving as though his life depended on getting to his destination before the direction of the wind changed. We clung on to the seat handles with one hand and our baby with the other, and I had no hand left to stop my head from cracking against the window. The return was just as bad and so we didn’t do that again. There were no cars to hire.

We couldn’t take our baby trekking because the buggy wouldn’t hack it, so we trailed around Stornoway going from one shop to the other shop and back again for four whole long days. Phew what an adventure!

Be prepared for the wind in the Hebrides – it’s fierce – especially in March!

The worse thing about it was that it was very windy, but it did not rain so we at least kept dry. Well, I say we, my wife and I kept dry but keeping my son dry proved a little harder! His nappies needed changing, and he had to be kept warm for that.

In the end we had a brain wave andwashing-day took him to the launderette, and thank goodness for it. A little, sparsely furnished, Formica topped launderette turned a very bad situation into a bearable one.

We spent quite a few hours in there keeping warm and out of the wind. It solved our problem; we had some nice picnics in there, and actually met some lovely people. We probably had more contact with locals and got to know more about the place and its people than we would have driving around in our car.

One thing I learned was that the Boy Scout’s motto is not just a cliché and I realized that we had been lucky that there was more than just a phone box to shelter in.

When one of the group is vulnerable it suddenly dawns that you are as well, and that things can very easily and quickly go wrong. We are not fire, water nor windproof!

The Outer Hebrides

The megalithic Callanish Standing Stones

The Outer Hebredes - holdiays in Scotland

This is very near to the cottage we hired. I think you’ll agree it’s one of the most beautiful places one earth!

Holidays in Scotland use this link for more about Scotland.

Here are some wonderful walking and cycling holidays by Macs Adventures. if you scroll though and  you’ll find some really wonderful trips in Scotland and all over the UK.

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