Isle of Harris and St Kilda, Scotland

The Isle of Harris is spectacular but the small island of St. Kilda was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. It is a very remote island far the west of the Outer Hebrides, which are pretty far west of Scotland to begin with. A long boat trip (2-3 hours) across notoriously rough seas is the only way to get there but it’s highly worth it. Just do it, you won’t regret it.

It’s common for the boat trips to be cancelled due to weather. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened; my original booking was cancelled a week prior to the trip but as luck would have it, a week later while hiking I ran into a nice guy from Glasgow that was going with a different company, Kilda Cruises. I didn’t make a booking this time but showed up at their office in Leverburgh the day before and lucked out by getting the last spot on the boat!

I arrived on the Isle of Harris on a ferry from Ullapool and spent most of my time on the south side. It is a ruggedly beautiful, stunning place of rocky hills, long white beaches, ancient ruins and lots of character. I spent the first day walking on Luskentyre Beach and then camped at Lickisto Blackhouse Camping. An old blackhouse (stone farm house) was converted into a kitchen and common room for use by the campers. I really enjoyed my time there. Early the next morning, I drove to Leverburgh to take a boat trip to St. Kilda with Kilda Cruises.

The boat drops passengers off in a sheltered bay where the village ruins. Everyone has a chance to hike around the island for a few hours, which was enough to see it all. An active military radar base spoils the ambience a bit, but it was soon out of mind after hiking up hill to some of the highest sea cliffs in Britain. From the cliffs there is a view of Boreray, an incredible island that was our next stop. Boreray turned out to the highlight of trip. After leaving St. Kilda, our boat traveled to Boreray and slowly circled it, giving us a change to marvel at the huge, towering sea cliffs and thousands of sea birds nesting there. It blew me away.

Kilda Cruises departed from Leverburgh in South Harris. They were excellent, so I highly recommend them (by the way, I don’t get anything for saying that):

The next day was foggy and damp, so I drove around Harris checking out ancient ruins and more beautiful sandy beaches before catching a ferry to the Isle of Skye.


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