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The Practical


12 stages / 13 nights Self-Guided
£1,090 per person (2020 prices)
£325 extra for single occupancy

From/To: Vatersay - Stornoway
Distance: 156 miles (262 km)
Ascent : 3,475 m
Descent: 3,380m





Schedule for May 2022


Chelmsford to Oban 491 miles 9 hours driving
Ullapool to Chelmsford 600 miles 10hrs 23 min

Day From/To Distance Elevation in meters Hotel
    Km Gain Loss  
Tues 3rd May Chelmsford / Kirkby Stephen 265 miles / 4H29

Fletcher House
Kirby Stephen

Wed 4th May Kirkby Stephen / Oban 237 miles / 4H26 Hotel in Oban t.b.c
Thurs 5th May Ferry - Oban to Castlebay 13-00hrs / 18-10hrs Castle Bay Hotel
Fri 6th May
  • Stage 1.
  • Drive to Vatersay
  • Walk Vatersay to Ardmhor Slip
  • Drive back to Castlebay
24 620 620 Castle Bay Hotel
Sat 7th May
  • Stage 2.
  • Drive from Castlebay to Ardmhor Slip
  • Ferry to Eriskay
  • Walk Eriskay to Dalabrog
18.5 50 50 Borrodale Hotel Dalabrog
Sun 8th May
  • Stage 3.
  • Walk Dalabrog to Drimsdale
  • Drive back to Dalabrog
23 35 35 Borrodale Hotel Dalabrog
Mon 9th May
  • Stage 4.
  • Drive to Drimsdale
  • Walk Drimsdale to Liniclate
23 80 85 Dark Island Hotel, Liniclate
Tues 10th May
  • Stage 5.
  • Walk Liniclate to Carinish
  • Drive to Lochmaddy
27 250 250 Langass Lodge, Lochmaddy
Wed 11th May
  • Stage 6.
  • Drive back to Carinish
  • Walk Carinish to Lochmaddy
17.5 200 200 Langass Lodge, Lochmaddy
Thurs 12th May
  • Stage 7.
  • Walk Lochmaddy to Berneray
17 250 250 Brightwater B&B, Berneray
Fri 13th May
  • Stage 8.
  • Ferry to Leverburg
  • Walk Leverburg to Horgabost
  • Drive to Tarbert
18 400 350

Harris Hotel

Sat 14th May
  • Stage 9.
  • Drive back to Horgabost
  • Walk Horgabost to Tarbert
29 600 650 Harris Hotel
Sun 15th May
  • Stage 10.
  • Walk Tarbert to Aline Community Woodland
  • Drive to Shieldnish
15 290 170 t.b.c
Mon 16th May
  • Stage 11.
    Drive back to Aline Community Woodland
  • Walk Aline to Laxay
  • Drive to Stornoway
26 400 400 Hebridean Guest House, Stornoway
Tues 17th May
  • Stage 12.
  • Drive back to Laxay
  • Walk Laxay to Stornoway
24 300 320 Hebridean Guest House, Stornoway
Wed 18th May Ferry to Ullapool
Ullapool to Melrose 252 miles / 4H45
Waverley Castle Hotel
Thurs 19th May Melrose to Chelmsford 349 miles / 6H11  












Kisimul Castle, Castlebay

The Gaelic name for Kisimul Castle is Caisteal Chiosmuil, which loosely translates as ‘castle of the rock of the small bay’, which pretty well describes this scenic medieval fortress, perched on a rocky islet at the entrance to Castle Bay, Isle of Barra. The name Kisimul is pronounced with an 'sh', giving something vaguely like 'Kishmule'. Kisimul was the seat of the chief of the Macneils of Barra. 

According to tradition, the first Macneils came to Barra in the 11th century, but the first historical record of a clan chief here comes from 1427, when Gilleonan Macneil was granted the island by Lord Alexander MacDonald, Lord of the Isles. It was probably he who built Kisimul on the rocky island, with a small crew house beside the castle for his personal crew and galley.

The Macneils retained Barra until 1838 when they were forced to sell the lordship to repay heavy debts. In 1937 a descendant of the Macneils of Barra, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, purchased the estates once more and set to work restoring the castle. In 2000 Kisimul passed into the hands of Historic Scotland, who maintain the site today.

Most of the castle dates to the 15th century. It is built as a three-storey tower house surrounded by a curtain wall. Within the wall is a courtyard enclosing secondary buildings including a chapel, feasting hall, watchman's house, and heir's house (called a 'tanist').

Near a postern gate is a small well fed by an underground stream. The foundations of the 15th-century crew house can be seen beside the landing place. This was occupied by the sailors who served on the chief's galley.

Kisimul is open during Spring and Summer months, with access from via a small boat from Castlebay. This is a 5 five minute trip, weather permitting.

This has to be one of the most enjoyable historic sites to visit in all of Britain. The location in the middle of the bay is just stunning. There is regular boat service to the castle from the jetty, and you can purchase tickets from the nearby tourist information centre or at the castle after you've made the boat trip.

Courtesy of www.britainexpress.com