This year’s tour was a little earlier than usual due to work commitments, and we were worried that the weather would be a bit adverse – cold and probably wet. As it turned out, we had pretty much sunny days all the way and it wasn’t at all cold. Indeed some of the weather was very hot indeed!

This trip began and ended in Oban, the main ferry terminal for the Outer Hebrides. In 9 days cycling, we managed nine ferry crossings. We used two of the Island Hopscotch tickets. These are convenient for cyclists, who don’t need to book crossings as motor vehicle drivers often need to do. Each Hopscotch ticket includes a collection of tickets appropriate for a ‘normal’ holiday route. One ticket covered Oban-Barra; Barra-Eriskay; Berneray- Harris and Stornoway-Ullapool, while the other ticket covered Armadale-Mallaig; Lochaline- Mull; and Mull-Oban.

We travelled lighter than usual, having decided not to camp but to stay in bed and breakfast accommodation.  We booked accommodation on Barra, North Uist, Harris and Lewis ahead of time and for most other nights arranged accommodation the previous evening via phone. The B&B on Harris, Lochedge, was particularly good, and was a place I found out about via Twitter, thus pointing out out to my sceptical stoker the benefits of social networking. We didn’t have trouble finding accommodation: the Rough Guide was pretty helpful, plus we’ve stayed in several places before, which helps. Lochmaddy can be a bit difficult, and our B&B on this trip (and previous trip) seems likely to close.

We took less food than on previous cycling holidays, but did take our trusty Trangia stove. But we find the huge fried breakfasts are enough to take us through to evening meal with only light snacks at lunchtime, so we didn’t really use the Trangia a great deal.

2012 Tour Day 0 – Oban
2012 Tour Day 1 – Oban to Barra
2012 Tour Day 2 –  Barra to Lochmaddy
2012 Tour Day 3 – Lochmaddy to Maraig
2012 Tour Day 4 – Maraig to Upper Shader
2012 Tour Day 5 – Upper Shader to Ullapool
2012 Tour Day 6 – Ullapool to Strathcarron
2012 Tour Day 7 – Strathcarron to Mallaig
2012 Tour Day 8 – Mallaig to Strontian
2012 Tour Day 9 – Strontian to Oban

Here’s a gallery of photographs from the tour.