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Outer Hebrides Expedition

7 days The Uists or the Sound of Harris Wild Camp

What to Expect An expedition aiming to explore the Outer Hebrides - focussed on the Sound of Harris or the Uists and Benbecula. 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 rugged coastline, sheltered white sand bays, and islands packed with social and natural history. Over the course of the expedition 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   A 7 day kayak expedition, suitable for confident intermediate paddlers, 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.


Dates and Prices

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Shown as an example, plans are always based around the conditions we encounter on a trip.

Day 1 - Ferry across the Minch

We'll meet in Inverness or Ullapool on the morning of day one, ready to take the Ullapool to Stornoway ferry across the Minch.

Once on Lewis we'll drive to where we intend to launch for our expedition - primarily we'll aim to set off from Leverburgh into the Sound of Harris but we'll maintain a flexible approach and paddle a route that suits the conditions best - we have the ability to drive anywhere on the islands to start our expedition.

Day 2 to 3 - Exploring the Sound of Harris

The Sound of Harris 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 the islands features some areas of stronger tidal flow that makes for interesting and varied paddling.

The Sound features several islands that offer an inviting place to camp.

Day 4 to 5 - Exploring North Uist

In ideal conditions we will aim to circumnavigate North Uist, using the tidal channels between the Southern end of the island and Benbecula to cross from the Atlantic to the Minch.

Often there is a split in sea conditions between either side of the Hebrides and in windier conditions we can often find more shelter on the Eastern side - which often means we can structure our journey around varied conditions.

Day 6 to 7 - Exploring South Harris

Our return through the Sound of Harris offers the chance to take a different route through this maze of small islands - teeming with brid and marine life in the summer months.

South Harris offers more chance to explore rugged coastline and the famous white sand beaches with the island of Taransay offering a spectacular place to camp for our final night.

Day 7 - Ferry home

We will return to the mainland on the Stornoway to Ullapool ferry in the mid-afternoon, giving the chance for either a morning paddle to finish the expedition or an explore of the historic town of Stornoway.

The ferry journey offers a great way to end the expedition - looking out for Minke Whales and Common Dolphins as the Hebrides fade into the distance.

Trip Information

Accommodation For this trip we will be wild camping. In adverse conditions we may use commercial campsites, this is not included in the fee.

Food Includes breakfast and dinner - Dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 7, you'll need to bring lunch and snacks. We can accommodate any dietary requirements if notified in advance.

Start and Finish Meet at Inverness at 07.30 or Ullapool at 09.00 on day one. Finish Ullapool at 16.30 or Inverness 18.30 on day seven.

Kit List Our expedition kit list applies to this trip. All specialist kayaking equipment and camping equipment can be provided (with the exception of sleeping bags).

Trip Grade The trip can be quite flexible and we'll work around the conditions that are forecast. The Hebrides are open to wind and swell from multiple directions and feature large areas of remote coastline with few landings. It is essential that you have experience in handling a sea kayak in force 4 winds and paddling in sustained chop, or waves of around 1m for sustained periods. You should have the fitness to paddle 25km in a day (actual daily distances will vary greatly).


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.

We have a much larger FAQ page that covers all aspects of sea kayak trips with us.

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Full list - Sea Kayak Expeditions