Mark Beaumont's Hebridean Way Cycle Challenge
The Outer Hebrides hold some of the best cycling in Scotland, and that is saying something, because we are spoilt for choice! Having pedalled across over 60 countries in the last decade, I still come home thinking that Scotland is the ultimate adventure playground, and it is a real delight to keep finding new parts and new routes. I wonder why it took me 33 years to discover the Outer Hebrides!
I completed the stunning Hebridean Way Cycling Route from Vatersay in the South to the Lewis in the North, crossing 10 islands that are joined by causeways and the iconic CalMac ferries. Whilst I raced the route in 24 hours, I would recommend a more leisurely pedal up the islands, soaking up the constantly changing views, the warm hospitality, the rich history, and of course fuelling yourself on the local food and drink.
The small, quiet roads make for perfect cycling, at whatever pace, and the islands split up the ride into perfect chapters, with a ferry crossing to look forwards to before carrying on. What struck me was how different the islands were in character, from the tiny, undulating lanes of Barra, the wide expanses of the Uists and Benbecula, the white beaches and mountains of Harris and onto the sea cliffs and standing stones of Lewis. Of course, you may prefer your own two feet, a motorbike or a four wheeled adventure, but I stand by the fact that the Outer Hebrides are best explored at the speed of a push bike!
About Mark Beaumont