ALL YOUR OPTIONS
HOW TO GET TO THE ISLE OF HARRIS
There are two ways of getting to the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides – Caledonian MacBrayne ferry or by plane. On the ferries, you can travel as a foot passenger, or with a car. Harris and Lewis are connected islands and you can drive between them in about 1.5 hours. It is best to book your car on well in advance although out of season it is easy to switch onto later or earlier ferries if you wish. Adverse weather can delay or cancel the service altogether.
Daily return flights operated by Loganair arrive in Stornoway from Benbecula, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Inverness multiple times a day; an additional flight service operates five days a week between Southend, near London, and Stornoway.
The main routes to Harris are Uig (Skye) to Tarbert (Harris) and Ullapool to Stornoway (Lewis). Many of the holiday homes on the islands rent from Saturday to Saturday, if you want to take these routes on a weekend book as early as possible if taking the Skye to Harris option
Uig to Tarbert (Skye to Harris)
The most direct route to the Isle of Harris is to drive to Kyle of Lochalsh on the Scottish mainland, cross the Skye Bridge and then head up to Uig at the top of the Isle of Skye. From Uig, you then take the direct ferry to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris. The service runs once or twice a day depending on the day of the week and you can find the summer timetable online.
The ferry has room for approximately 90 cars and over 600 passengers. There is a shop, cafeteria and a deck area for fresh air and wildlife spotting. This is a short comfortable sailing of about 1 and a half hours.
Ullapool to Stornoway (Lewis)
The other direct route to take the ferry to the Outer Hebrides is Ullapool to stornoway on the MV Loch Seaforth . The journey takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The ferry is modern and comfortable with a shop, bar and cafeteria and outdoor seating. This journey tends to be the slightly rougher of the two options as there is often swell in middle part of the journey.
WHERE TO STAY
ISLE OF HARRIS ACCOMMODATION
Sandy Bay Croft Wigwams are located on a working croft in Scarista on the West coast of the Isle of Harris. Two Wigwam cabins sleep up to four adults. To add to the atmosphere and enhance your stay, each cabin has its own picnic table as well as a mini Broch, where you can light your own firepit and BBQ.
The Sound of Harris is situated in Borrisdale, close to the southern tip the island at Renish Point, about three miles from the port of Leverburgh.The self-catering accommodation comprises two separate adjoined units (The Big House and The Other House), both with private access and separate outside seating area. Each is based around a light and spacious open plan kitchen/living/dining area linked to a single en-suite bedroom with king size bed. The seaward facing aspects are fully glazed, to make the most of the uninterrupted coastal views.
The Bothy is a traditionally built one bedroomed cottage situated to the side of the owners’ home, built by themselves Alan & Ellen McDougall. It is situated in the small coastal village of Scarista on the stunning west coast and overlooks one of the most beautiful white sandy beaches around.
Sleeping a family of up to six, it is ideal for couples or small family groups. A modern interior, open plan space, wood burning stove, king size four-poster bed with overhead bunks, and the living room sofa transforms into two bunks, so there are plenty of options for sleeping arrangements.
Ceol na mara guest house
Ceol na Mara is a luxury, guest house, located only a few minutes by car from the Tarbert Ferry Terminal. Within a few minutes drive are several fine restaurants, yet is surrounded by croft land. This is a secluded, quiet place to stay with wonderful views over the sea loch.
WHERE TO EAT
WHERE TO EAT ON THE ISLE OF HARRIS
Croft 36 is a real find on the island -Specialising in produce from the Hebrides including seafood, rabbit, mutton and venison.
Meals are available in the shack for collection, along with pies and homemade bread rolls, patisserie style baking which includes bread, tarts, quiche and cakes, with some gluten-free or vegetarian. Operating on an honesty box system just drop in and see what’s there, but don’t leave it too late as everything usually sells out!
The Butty Bus is something very special! It is a static bus park at Leverburgh by the harbour servings some amazing soups, sandwiches and fish n chips. It is a must to try!
The Temple Cafe in Northton
Northton’s Temple Cafe is a firm favourite on the island. This unique and quirky cafe has varied and delicious menu. Well worth a visit!
Try the Pierhouse Restaurant for more formal dining with local produce, the Mote bar is a great place for informal bar food and the take away pizza is particularly good if you are looking for take away! The Machair Kitchen restaurant opened in March 2017 and is operated from Talla na Mara Community Enterprise Centre by Hotel Hebrides. Overlooking the golden sands of Niseaboist beach and the sound of Taransay, the food is excellent and always something of interest in Talla Na Mara Centre.
You can also visit the distillery which is located by the shore of East Loch Tarbert and can take a tour of the distillery. The restaurant serves soup and cakes only but I hear the soup is very good and it is a lovely place to eat.
Scarista House is a small hotel that also has an award winning restaurant. It’s open to non-residents for dinner, afternoon tea and breakfast. Booking is essential.
This wonderful mustard company on Harris is a delight. The honesty box system is one of the things that you find dotted about the Scottish Islands.
As you drive between Leverburgh and Northton, you’ll find a blue wooden cabinet at the side of the road … Turn the key and open the door to ‘the wee mustard-hut’!