7 days Barra & the Uists Wild Camp
What to Expect An expedition aiming to explore Barra and the uninhabited islands of Mingulay and Pabbay. This is a classic and very committing journey featuring some of the finest coastline in Scotland. It features everything that makes the Outer Hebrides such a special place to paddle - exposed cliffs and stacks, sheltered white sand bays, and islands packed with social and natural history. Over the course of 6.5 days paddling we'll experience all kinds of sea states and all kinds of coastline - making this trip one that will live on in the memory for a long time.
Trip Highlights An 8 day kayak expedition (6.5 paddling days), suitable for those with previous expedition experience, aiming to explore wild and exposed islands.
- Journey from sheltered bays past exposed headlands and tidal channels - the contrasts on this trip are incredible.
- Build advanced expedition experience and develop your sea kayak skill and confidence in wild and committing environments.
- Wild camp on uninhabited Hebridean islands above white sand bays.
Day 1 - Ferry across the Minch
We'll meet in Mallaig on the morning of day one, ready to take the Mallaig to Lochboisdale ferry across the Minch.
Once on South Uist we'll pack the boats and go for a short paddle before setting up camp in the evening.
Our expedition for the next 6.5 days of paddling will be very flexible and based around the conditions that are forecast - ideally we'll explore South towards Barra and Pabbay and Mingulay. In windier conditions we may choose to journey up the Eastern side of the Uists, or complete a combination of the two.
Day 2 - Crossing to Barra
The Sound of Barra offers a wonderful paddle with a mix of open water and islands to explore.
We'll meet the Atlantic swell here that will be present for much of the trip and crossing between Eriskay and Barra will be a good warm up for the exposed tidal channels between the islands further South.
The Sound features several islands that offer an inviting place to camp.
Day 3 - Exploring Barra
Barra can be described as the Outer Hebrides in miniature - white sand beaches, exposed headlands, coastal Machair and sheltered bays - we'll journey down the Eastern side of Barra and enjoy the varied coastal landscape and classic Hebridean paddling.
Castlebay offers our last piece of civilisation, we can stock up on food or visit the pub before journeying to the uninhabited islands that lie to the South.
Day 4 to 5 - Exploring Pabbay and Mingulay
To the South of Barra are four main uninhabited islands - Sandray, Pabbay, Mingulay and Berneray - each seperated by channels with tidal flow and exposed to the Atlantic swell.
Our aim will be to reach Mingulay, where a white sand bay on the Eastern side offers a wonderful landing and place to camp. The Western side of the island features stacks and cliffs to rival anywhere and exploring these will be a highlight of the trip.
Our exact route and timings will depend on the conditions that are forecast and our expedition allows plenty of flexibility to work around the weather.
Day 6 to 7 - Journeying to South Uist
We will return to South Uist via Barra, there is the possibility to explore the Western side of Barra should the Atlantic swell allow.
Eriskay and South Uist offer more white sand beaches and coastline to explore and we'll make the most of our final days on the water.
We will aim to be close to Lochboisdale on our final evening - a celebratory meal back in civilisation could be a possibility before our early ferry home on the final day.
Day 8 - Returning to Mallaig
Our trip will end with an early ferry back to Mallaig, where you can journey home full of memories of wild Hebridean paddling.
Accommodation We will be wild camping on this trip.
Food No food is included. There is some chance of passing a shop at Castlebay on Barra on this trip but you should bring 6 days of expedition food.
Start and Finish Meet in Mallaig at 09.30. Trip ends at Mallaig on the final day (time tbc once ferry timetable is published), but likely to be late morning. 6.5 paddling days.
Kit List Our kit list applies to this trip. All specialist kayaking equipment can be provided.
Frequently Asked Questions
Individuals, couples or small groups of friends.
Yes - a lot of learning about sea kayaking comes from experience and is best done as individuals on the move and in context. We won't spend time on long instructional briefings or static group skills practice during an expedition but will give you hints and tips on the journey to make it easier for you and suggest improvements to your technique as we go along. We'll help you develop your knowledge and sea kayak handling skill throughout the trip but also allow plenty of time simply to enjoy the journey and the experience of sea kayaking.
The weather on the West coast of Scotland can vary through the course of the season and from area to area - Scottish islands and coastline can see dramatically better weather and more sunshine than more mountainous areas on the West coast. The wind speed and sea state are the primary factors that affect the trip - if the conditions are difficult then we will seek out a more sheltered section of coast to run the trip. You should note that it is very rare that we have to stay off the water on multi-day trips and the vast majority of trips run as planned. For full terms and conditions see the link below. You can read more about the weather/cancellation/booking on our FAQ page.
A 25% deposit is required at the time of booking, the balance is due 6 weeks prior to the trip, for cancellation policy please see our full terms and conditions.
Other Trips to Consider
Full list - Sea Kayak Expeditions