The Outer Hebrides
4 min read

The Outer Hebrides

Went off on our hols a few weeks ago, up to the Western Isles of Scotland.

Quite a lot of our pals think we're bonkers doing trips like this.  

Driving 1200+ miles and eating up time on ferries to stay somewhere colder and wetter than where you already live isn't for everyone, but it is what we like and frankly, it's kind of the point of having a campervan.

(btw, the weather was awesome)

We're well seasoned roadtrippers, and have driven all over the world in all sorts of things. Indeed, we have been to the Outer Hebrides in this exact van before on a 10 day tour when the kids were both under 2.

On that trip, we went to Harris via Skye, and we packed a lot in. It was great fun, but looking back we did too much.

A view from the hills above the very northernmost point of Barra.

So this time we decided to find somewhere that looked good, head straight there and stay for a solid week+.

The criteria were simple. Middle of nowhere, mostly avoiding other people, be as close as possible to those 🏝 Hebridean beaches, needs 'leccy and internet.

The isle of Barra, ticked all the boxes.

The view from our van

Barra is off the west coast, a 5+ hour ferry from Oban. It's a long time on the boat, but you don't have to go that far north of the border to get on it, so it works out.

It's beautiful, I got that weight-lifting-off-my-shoulders feeling the moment we drove around the corner off the dock and up the hill.  The campsite we found at the northern end of the Island was great. Only 4 other vans there the whole week and it was less than a minute to go from bed to beach.

Days consisted of mulling about, flitting between beach and van, drinking the odd beer rum or gin (or 10). We swam in the nippy, but crystal clear waters and watched the kids make friends. We also cooked a lot.

Most of the weather was sunburn territory which was fantastic, though whe end of the week was the lead-up to and recovery from storm Ellen, which was also fantastic. At least in my opinion.

At peak Ellen, the absolutely unhindered gales and horizontal rain came right off the Atlantic and barrelled into the van at 45mph for 12 hours straight. Easily the wettest & windiest conditions I've ever camped in. That includes some fairly challenging time spent in tents pitched up on Dartmoor.

A late evening on the beach, looking out to sea

We never once thought "I wish it were ...<something else>" it was just so easy and so relaxing. We ate seafood, drank every kind of hebredian gin available, took the dog kayaking and thanks to some pals we met, did a bit of paddleboarding.

When you're in the middle of a good holiday it makes you question your whole life. "Why don't we all live like this all the time", "Remind me why we are going home again?" it was idyllic. I was the most restored and rosy-cheeked I've ever been after returning home from a getaway.

We were in a very lucky spot which also had epic levels of 4G connectivity. Both our jobs are completely remote, particularly now that COVID is here. Moving somewhere like that to live is not out of the question.

I felt so mentally sound. It was ace.  The sea does do that to people but this was more than just that feeling.

Anyhow, don't go to Barra, I want to go back and I don't want it to be full of non-PLU types like you. Piss off to Skye or Harris somewhere, spend a week on Horgabost beach it's lovely.