Five Fantastic Outdoor Adventures in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Editor’s Note: Last November we had the pleasure of spending 10 captivating days in Scotland. Below is but one adventure of many from our stay. We hope the joy we experienced comes through in all our posts and missives from our adventure, which no doubt read better with a wee dram in hand.
The view from our flight from Edinburgh, Scotland, to the archipelago of the Outer Hebrides was what we would imagine it’s like flying to Middle Earth. Foggy, rocky with broad-brush strokes of neon green hills and cerulean blue seas. A friend noted that the Hebrides are the Alaska of Scotland and he is spot on.
After spending a day on the very remote and rural island of North Uist, landing at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis was akin to dropping into a bustling metropolis. Granted it is the largest town in the Outer Hebrides but the population is a tiny 8,000. Founded in the 9th century by Vikings, the town was and still is a prominent port. Our first stop in Stornoway was a visit to the design studio and shop of Rosie Wiscombe of By Rosie.
Hailing from Devon, England, Rosie took a year off after school and traveled to New Zealand where she met her partner Shawn who is from Stornoway. She decided to move to his hometown with him in 2010 and, after surviving one very harsh winter, she was hooked. Rosie also discovered the wonderful world of Harris Tweed, which is produced nearby on the island. Her company began designing hats, bags, and outerwear with the handsome woolen cloth and her business started to boom.
When Wiscombe isn’t behind a sewing machine, she and Shawn love exploring the wild rough landscape of the Hebrides. They are both avid outdoor lovers and a kayak or camping tent is always at the ready.
We asked Rosie to give us her top favorite adventures in the Hebrides. Read on and get inspired. Note: The whiskey seems to be key to keeping the cold at bay.
Skim boarding the length of Traigh Mhor, Lewis
So many beaches and so much sky. Seeing the mountains of the west coast of Scotland in the distance. The light and color at the this beach is my favorite on the island. The sense of space and freedom is unmatched.
Winter camping at the hop of the Harris hills
There’s nothing like the blue black winter skies- full of stars and the chance of seeing the aurora. Huddling up together in your sleeping bags, watching countless shooting stars and the distant twinkling of the tiny villages below you. A wee nip of whiskey to keep out the chill, of course.
Wild swimming at Tolsta head, Lewis
A big group of friends, a thick wetsuit and a high tide make for a wild, exhilarating and noisy excursion! Exploring caves, jumping into crystal clear pools and discovering the bizarre and colorful flora and fauna of the seashore.
Sea kayaking off Tiumpan head on Lewis
Launching from a village slipway on a sunny evening, in search of whales and dolphins. Paddling out far from shore, feeling small in the emerald ocean, and being surrounded by a pod of Risso’s dolphins. Exhilarating and humbling.
Colonizing a desert island for a weekend
The beauty of sea kayaks is the freedom to explore the many wee islands just off shore. Crossing a sound in a fair swell and arriving on pure white sands. The never-ending dusk of summer nights around a fire, in the pure solitude of your own island. Heaven.