My top five reasons to visit the Outer Hebrides, obviously there’s many more!

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The Outer Hebrides, located in the north west of Scotland

When you arrive to the Scottish isles, straight away you feel your pace slowing down. Experiencing island pace usually happens when visiting the isles and things just may take that little bit longer. Things don’t get rushed, you should try it, its good for you!

It had been over 12 years since we last visited, so were really excited to return and spend our summer holiday in this spectacular and breathtakingly beautiful part of Scotland’s most remote islands.

As with many of our great holidays around Scotland, they started off with a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry journey and this time the destination was the Scottish Western Isles, also known as the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

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Ullapool, where our journey started

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Crossing the Minch, the waters between the Western isles and the Scottish mainland

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We arrived late morning to Stornoway after our sailing from Ullapool

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We made a quick visit to the local beach by Stornoway

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From there we drove straight to the ‘Butt of Lewis’, the most northerly point of the Outer Hebrides, which we had not visited before. It was a spectacular sight and as we approached the lighthouse in the distance, the sun started shining through the clouds and this rocked landscape really stood out in the horizon.

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My Top Five reasons to visit the Outer Hebrides;

History, beaches, landscapes, big skies and amazing road trips.

We enjoyed an outstanding week on the isles and had the opportunity to stay in some of the most wonderful accommodation and also got the chance to camp by one of the most stunning beaches. Here is a taster of our visit and I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

HISTORY – It’s swamped with history from the days of Blackhouses that are still scattered throughout the isles, to standing stones and where the famous chessmen was found on the isle of Lewis, to beautiful churches such as St Clements. On this occasion we did not have the time to visit the unique isle of St Kilda, but did pay a visit to the fascinating Seallam visitor centre which tells the history of the St Kilda people. The centre is located in An Taobh Tuath (Northton) at the southern end of the Isle of Harris. There you will also find the Temple Café, tucked away at the end of the road, with some of the best views towards the bay.

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Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

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We had the pleasure of staying over in the amazing Gearrannan Blackhouse Village for a couple of nights at the beginning of our visit. There you will find self-catering accommodation from hostel to family Blackhouses. To find out more or even book your stay, visit http://www.gearrannan.com/

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Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis

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Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis

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The famous Isle of Lewis Chess Pieces http://www.isleoflewischessset.co.uk/

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Carloway Broch, Isle of Lewis

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One of many Blackhouses, this one was on the small of isle of Berneray

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Scolpaig Tower on the Isle of Uist

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The bridge to Great Bernera

Which crosses the Atlantic and takes you to an amazing and secluded Bosta beach and the Bosta Iron Age House.

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St Clements, by the southern point of the Isle of Harris near Leverburgh

BEACHES – You’ll be tricked into thinking you’re abroad, but no it really is Scotland’s beaches. The isles are bathed in some of the worlds most stunningly beautiful beaches. In reality I could have done a blog purely on their beaches, but thought you may not appreciate it!

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Bosta Beach on Great Bernera, Isle of Lewis

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Hushinish beach, Isle of Harris

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Hushinish beach, Isle of Harris

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Seilebost beach, Isle of Harris

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Horgabost beach, Isle of Harris

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Horgabost campsite by the beach, Isle of Harris. Campsites don’t get a lot better!

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LANDSCAPES – The unique landscapes that are found on the different isles, makes its ideal for things like filming moon landscapes, hiking small mountains, eagle watching and beautiful beach walks!

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Eagle watching on the Isle of Harris. Highly recommended if you enjoy watching these spectacular birds.

North Harris Eagle Observatory Walk

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BEAUTIFUL SKIES, SUNRISES & SUNSETS – There is something about these beautiful islands and something even more spectacular about the large and wonderful skies above you while travelling around the islands.

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ROAD TRIPS – Some of the best road trips we have ever had around Scotland, with its ever changing scenery. While you have your stops, this also means that you will get to taste the many beautiful foods and amazing local sea foods you find throughout the isles.

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Our campsite by Horgabost Beach, a truly outstanding location, with some of the best views from our tent.

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First Fruits Tearoom

When you are travelling around, make sure you take time to relax. For the best cakes and coffees on the island, we visited the First Fruits Tearoom in Tarbert, Isle of Harris. A friendly welcome and by far the best coffees and a great selection of teas on the island.

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Hebridean Smokehouse

When you travel around the Isle of Uist, I would recommend you pay a visit to the Hebridean Smokehouse. The Smokery is open Monday to Friday, where you can see the team prepare some of the most amazing smoked sea foods. One of my favourites would have to be the Peat Smoked Salmon. To find out more, visit their website Hebridean Smokehouse

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St Kilda Viewpoint

One of the highest points on the Isle of North Uist, on a good day you are able to see the St Kilda Isles in the distance. Those isles would also on the to do list, but for another visit.

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After we left the Outer Hebrides, we went home via the beautiful Isle of Skye and Glen Coe. As always a pleasure passing through this also wonderful part of Scotland.

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Our last sunrise from Lochmaddy harbour where we sailed across to the Uig on the Isle of Skye

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Thank you for reading and if you would like to follow me on my travels around Scotland and beyond, please follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kimkjaerside to see what I get up to.

If you want to plan your visit to the Outer Hebrides, for the best sites please visit Visit Outer Hebrides , Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries and Visit Scotland Outer Hebrides

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