Island hopping through the Hebrides by bike is a magical and varied experience. From the white shell sands of Tiree, Eriskay and Harris, to the majestic mountains of the Cuillins and the
awe-inspiring scenery of the Trotternish Peninsula on Skye, the islands each have a unique atmosphere.
The thrill of travelling by bicycle under your own steam heightens the physical senses and the spirit of adventure. The remoteness of these islands, sparsely populated and some traffic-free, means that cycling in the Hebrides offers tranquillity in the fresh air of unspoilt landscapes.
On Coll we use the island’s limited roads for a circular route which starts and finishes in the main village of Arinagour, whilst its relatively flat and fertile neighbour of Tiree makes an idyllic island for cycling as you gently roll along the roads which run behind the many sandy bays and take in distant views of other islands in every direction.
A linear ride on Barra allows us to observe the white shell sands and rugged inland scenery en route to Eriskay and the beach where Bonnie Prince Charlie first stepped onto British soil. On our full day tour of The Uists we discover these islands of contrasts; the soft, undulating landscapes of South Uist are a world apart from the low-lying bird-haven of North Uist, scattered with green-blue lochans.
Our final ride in the Outer Isles takes us from Harris, through traditional crofting and weaving communities, to its flatter and more fertile neighbour of Lewis. After sailing back across The Minch, we arrive at the Isle of Skye where we enjoy an invigorating pedal through the stunning yet bizarre rock formations of The Quiraing on the Trotternish Peninsula, before re-joining the ship in the island’s capital, Portree.
A linear ride on Raasay affords fine views in each direction, including a magnificent panorama of the Cuillins on Skye. Before a relaxing sail of the Small Isles, we set out from Armadale to explore the Sleat Peninsula, often referred to as ‘the garden of Skye’ where heather-clad mountains drop dramatically to the rocky shorelines and glittering blue sea, punctuated with lush gardens and dense forests.
We are delighted that this cruise will not only be accompanied by an experienced cycling guide, but also by Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman. You do not need to be an expert to enjoy the thrill of cycling through these stunning islands. The rides are on roads and the majority are gently undulating, with the exception of one steep incline for approximately a mile. Distances will vary from approximately 11 miles up to a maximum of 42 miles for the full day route on The Uists. Bicycles are provided on board or you are more than welcome to bring your own. Each day you have the option to join the rides or to enjoy a less energetic visit, the choice is yours.
Chris Boardman took Britain's opening Gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Britain's first cycling gold in 72 years. He then went on to lead the R&D team for GB Cycling in the run up to Beijing, where they became the most successful British sporting team of all time. Between Barcelona and Beijing, Chris won three stages of the Tour de france, set numerous world records (several of which still stand) and became arguably Britain's most successful cyclist to date.
>>Cycling over the Minch
Tuesday 9th to Tuesday 16th October 2018
Prices from £3,240 per person based on 2 people sharing an inside double/twin cabin.