Plenty to see & do in the area

Our favourite places to visit and things to do:

Isle of Harris Distillery: Impossible to miss when you depart the ferry in Tarbert. There’s a shop where you can buy the uniquely-flavoured Gin and a café to relax in. The whisky isn’t ready yet, but you can take a tour of the production process, but do make sure you book ahead. Isle of Harris Distillery 01859 502212.

Eagle watching at the North Harris Eagle Observatory: take a 30 minute stroll out along Glen Miabhaig to the Observatory. It’s an amazing place, even if the eagles are not flying. It’s open all day, every day.

Trip to the beach: The west side of South Harris has some spectacular beaches, some which have been mistaken in pictures for the Caribbean. Luskentyre is the most popular, but we park next to the old Seilebost School and walk through the dunes to the shore. Horgabost is a popular beach, with a pontoon to dive off in the summer.

Wild-life watching boat trip: We have a friend who takes small groups out on a boat from Keose, on the way to Stornoway. He can access the wilder parts of South Lochs where he regularly spots Sea Eagles. Our aunt caught her first Pollock within 2 minutes of dropping a line, with Lewis the skipper’s help.http://www.hebridesfishntrips.co.uk/ Booking is essential.

Tea at The Temple: At the south end of Harris, there’s a couple of lovely beaches, a bit of a hill to climb and a fantastic café close by. Sit outside and watch the waders in the bay whilst sampling Gail’s baking. On your way back, stop off at Croft 36 to pick up some freshly baked bread and dinner for the evening.

https://www.facebook.com/TheTempleCafe/

http://www.croft36.com/

Fish & Chips on a Friday: On the pier in Leverburgh, sits The Butty Bus. Open for take-away meals each day, on a Friday night Chris serves up the best fish and chips on the island.

https://www.facebook.com/buttybus/

Places to walk

In Scotland, there is a right to roam. So unlike England, we don’t have many marked footpaths – because you can walk anywhere! There are Ordnance Survey maps in the lounge, but some of the defined paths are:

Huisinis – Cravadale: Huisinis is the western-most township in Harris. You can park next to Huisinis Gateway (which has toilets) and walk round the north coastline to Cravadale. The path is a bit rocky to start with as it climbs the cliffs. The view down on the seabirds and over the sound to Scarp is worth the hike, before you reach the long white Mheilin beach. This is a 40 min walk and requires a reasonable level of fitness. If you carry-on up Cravadale, you can make a day of it and come back on the road from Amhuinnsuidhe.

Scalpay light house– There’s an easy 30 minute walk from the end of the road on Scalpay, out to the lighthouse. The path gives wonderful views out over the Minch, before dropping down to the lighthouse. This is a good location for spotting Whales and Dolphins.

Urgha – Rhenigedale– The Postman’s Path. Before the road was constructed to Rhenigedale, this was the route the postman used to take to deliver the mail from Tarbert. There’s plenty of parking by the lochs at Laxdale. It’s a long climb, with great views from the top. Time it right and you can get the bus back to Tarbert.

Scaladale MilleniumWoodland– Located next to the main road to Stornoway, there’s a good path that leads up the hill from the carpark. There are good views over Loch Seaforth and up the island to Lewis. If you want to get into bigger trees, then the Aline Community Forest is just a little further up the road to Stornoway.

Hebridean Way: the Hebridean Way stretches along the length of the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay in the south to the Lewis in the north. It passes through Harris and can be walked or cycled.

https://www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk/see-and-do/activities/hebridean-way/walking-hebridean-way

For those who are perhaps not as confident walking out into the wild land, the North Harris Ranger delivers a program of guided walks throughout the year. See details online at:

http://www.north-harris.org/what-we-do/land-management/education-and-interpretation/

 

Places to eat

Ardhasaig House - Ardhasaig, just up the road. Restaurant and guest house using locally sourced produce. Booking is essential.

Harris Hotel– Tarbert HS3 3DL 01859 502154. Open year-round with a cosy snug bar where you can sample a wide range of malt whiskys. There is both a bar and restaurant menu in the summer, and it’s just round the corner from the cottage in Tarbert.

Hotel Hebrides– Tarbert HS3 3DG 01859 502364. Open year-round with a bar and restaurant overlooking the pier. It’s just round the other corner from the cottage in Tarbert.

North Harbour Bistro– Scaplay HS4 3XX 01859 540218. Seafood Restaurant. You need a reservation to dine in the restaurant, but there is a separate area set aside as a café where bookings are not required. George’s reputation means you may have to book well in advance in high season. Some of the best seafood available. Located 20 minutes away by car.

Machair Kitchen– Niseabost HS3 3HR 01859 550333. Part of the Talla na Mara centre offering lunches as well as full evening meals overlooking the Sound of Taransay.

Scarista House– Scarista HS3 3HX 01859 550238. A small hotel located overlooking the beaches of West Harris. One of “The Times top 10 best places to eat by the sea”, this restaurant uses locally-sourced produce and has an excellent wine cellar. Booking is essential.

The Anchorage– Leverburgh HS5 3UB 01859 520225. Good mid-range food in a larger restaurant with bar. Fantastic views of the sunset, over the Sound of Harris. 

The Temple Café– Northton HS3 3JA 07876 340416. Our favourite for lunch and tea. An excellent choice of light meals including the best vegetarian soups and quiches.

Hebscape Gallery– Ardhasaig HS3 3AJ 01859 502363. Cakes and light lunches available, with a great view out over West Loch Tarbert and within walking distance of the cottage.

Skoon Café– Geocrab HS3 3HB 01859 530268. Soup, cakes and coffee amongst Andrew’s paintings. We go for his amazing chocolate brownies.

Blas bhon Iar– Horgabost. A catering van that serves gourmet burgers, and some. I go for Richard’s Cullen Skink soup. https://www.facebook.com/blasbhoniar/

Island Bites - Tarbert. A catering van serving breakfast, lunches and dinner. 

Tarbert

Tarbert is the largest village in Harris and the cottages are conveniently located close to most of the facilities. Tarbert has all the essential shops, but for a wider selection, you need to make the trip to Stornoway. The main supermarkets are in Stornoway, however Tarbert offers the following:

Groceries:

  • AD Munro – just along Main Street, includes butcher and off-licence
  • J Morrison (Brownies) – just along Main Street, includes newspapers 

Gifts

  • Harris Tweed Hebrides - next to the distillery
  • Hand-made Harris – Craft Markets, on a Friday and Saturday at the Community Centre on Pier Road
  • Essence of Harris – almost next door on Main Street
  • Island Stitches – next to the garage on Scott Road

 Eating

  • Island Bites – catering van just along Main Street
  • Harris Hotel – round the corner on the Stornoway road
  • Hotel Hebrides – round the corner overlooking the ferry port

General

  • Post Office – just along the Scalpay Road
  • Petrol Station – next to the Harris Hotel on Scott Road
  • Hardware Store – Pier Road overlooking the Visitor Information Centre
  • Akrams – A General Store that has everything - just along Main Street
  • Bank of Scotland - just along Main Street
  • Visitor Information Centre – in the carpark on Pier Road
  • Cash Machine – behind the Visitor Information Centre
  • Bus Terminus – in the car park on Pier Road - see timetables at http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/travel/busservice/current/indexh.asp
    • W10 – Stornoway – Tarbert – Leverburgh
    • W12 – Tarbert – Huisinis
    • W13 – Tarbert – Bays – Leverburgh
    • W14 – Tarbert - Scalpay        

 

Travel Information

Had a fabulous time here, saw a couple of otters and golden eagles. For once the 5 star rating is absolutely justified.