The long and spellbinding road through Scotland’s treasure islands
, 2022-09-24 06:28:01,
THE Western Isles attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year, many of them eager to see the ancient stone circle at Callanish and the white sands and turquoise sea of Luskentyre beach, named one of the best in the world. But there is so much more to this archipelago, as travel writer Brigid Benson reveals in her new book, Hebridean Journey, which uncovers the secret treasures of the Outer Hebrides.
“Most people arrive at Barra in the south and travel up through the islands, but my preference is to take the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway,” says Benson. “You will gain a better insight into the history of the islands at [Stornoway’s] museum and learn about the land raiders who fought the rich industrialist lairds for the right to have crofting land. It gives you a framework to understand the Outer Hebrides and the dreadful times that have left deep scars on the islands, from the Highland Clearances to the economic devastation brought by the First World War when so many men lost their lives.”
Benson also urges visitors to take their time and wander off to either side of the Hebridean Way, which spans 200 miles from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis with two separate routes for walkers and cyclists.
“It is a thrilling, physically challenging route but the cyclists I met on my travels all regretted not taking longer. There are amazing communities and wonderful places off the spine road and it’s worth stopping to explore either side of it as the east…
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