Hebridean Way Cycling Route Section A: Vatersay to Daliburgh (South Uist)

Vatersay, Outer Hebrides, HS9 5YW

Type:Hebridean Way Cycling Route

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Start point of the Hebridean Way in Vatersay.
  • Start point of the Hebridean Way in Vatersay.
  • Vatersay Hall
  • Cyclist heading to Northbay, Barra
  • Cyclist on detour to Airport
  • Ferry crossing
  • Waiting for the ferry
  • National Cycle Network 780 Sign at Eriskay
  • Eriskay Causeway - mind the otters!
  • Product Image
  • Cycling along the road at East Kilbride, South Uist
  • South Uist passing place at South Boisdale
  • Machair at South Boisdale beach, South Uist

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The start of the Hebridean Cycling Way is at the monolith in the village of Vatersay. The route follows the main road over the causeway to Barra and round the scenic west coast of Barra to the Ardmhor ferry terminal. Here is where you get the ferry to Eriskay and the ferry journey is 40 minutes. From the ferry terminal the route passes through the picturesque island of Eriskay over the causeway to South Uist. Here the route mostly follows the main road, but at South Boisdale (Leth Meadhanach) the route goes west towards the machair and goes through the villages of North Boisdale, Kilpheder and then rejoins the main road at Daliburgh. 


Vatersay and Barra have high hills, white sandy beaches, machair, deeply incut sea lochs and a castle – all neatly contained within 27 square miles. Kisimul Castle dates back to the 15th century and was once a stronghold of Clan MacNeil. A descendant rescued it from dereliction in the 1930’s and leased it to Historic Scotland for the annual rent of £1 and a bottle of whisky. You can visit it in the summer months.

Most likely you will spend your first night in Castlebay, so ride over the causeway to start the ride at the road end on Vatersay, before retracing your route to join the A888 along the west coast of Barra enjoying the views of the white sandy beaches and the wild Atlantic Ocean. There is some gentle climbing as the road turns inland, then follow the signs for the ferry terminal at Aird Mhòr where there are toilets and a shower. But before you do, make a short detour to Traìgh Mhòr - the only airport in the UK where planes land on the sand.

Immediately behind the airport building, which has toilets and a cafe, is the building that was the home of Compton MacKenzie, who found fame as the author of Whisky Galore—the book based on how the SS Politician foundered in the Sound of Barra, leaving a cargo of whisky as easy pickings for the locals. He is buried in the cemetery at Eoligarry.


Everyone enjoys ferry crossings especially when you get close-up views of seals, seabirds and occasionally porpoises and dolphins. None is better than the 40 minute ride across the Sound of Barra to the magical island of Eriskay, where there is a great community shop and the Am Politician, a pub named after the SS Politician which went aground offshore on 5 February 1941.

The road climbs above Coilleag a’ Phrionnsa, where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on his way to his disastrous defeat at Culloden in the 1745 Rebellion, then passes through the main settlement of Am Baile and over the causeway that links Eriskay with South Uist. It’s a good place to look for otters particularly if you are passing during a rising tide at dawn or dusk when they are most likely to be seen.

Enjoy riding above the sandy shores between Ludag and Pollachar, which was once the old crossing point to Barra. Once you turn north, you enter a terrain of moorland and lochs with only the hills to the east to break the empty horizon. Then the route heads west through the villages of South Boisdale, North Boisdale and Kilpheder near the fertile machair of the Atlantic coast, with its swathes of wild flowers, white sandy beaches and fresh-water lochans, which are smothered with water lilies in mid-summer. 



  • By Cycle
  • Route Information - Connection Transport - 1 ferry
  • Route Information - Route Status - Main Route
  • Route Information - Terrain - Single Track Road

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Route Guides

What's Nearby

  1. The Annie Jane Monument marks one of the most tragic events in the history of Vatersay,…

    0.18 miles away
  2. Vatersay is the southernmost inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides. It is now linked to…

    0.2 miles away
  3. The wreck of an RAF Catalina seaplane that tragically crashed on the hill killing three…

    0.52 miles away
  1. Neolithic people settled here around 4000 BC and built an artificial platform behind a…

    1.55 miles away
  2. Award winning Bunting Project bringing people together with connections to Barra and…

    2.6 miles away
  3. Kisimul Castle sits on a rocky islet just off the coast of Barra at Castlebay

    2.6 miles away
  4. Heaval is the highest point on the Isle of Barra at 383 metres

    3.69 miles away
  5. This is the only standing stone of any size still erect on Barra.

    4.05 miles away
  6. This site was investigated by Channel 4's Time Team in May 2007. Amongst other remains, a…

    4.42 miles away
  7. Watch the seals laze on the rocks off shore - you may even catch them coming for a cheeky…

    5.29 miles away
  8. A well preserved iron age galleried dun situated on hill to the east of Cuier cemetery

    5.3 miles away
  9. A great beach for all the family or a quiet walk. At low tide there are caves to explore…

    6.26 miles away
  10. Barra airport, famous for its beach landings.

    7.61 miles away
  11. The chapel at Cille Bharra was perhaps founded as early as the 7th century AD, being…

    8.65 miles away
  12. Stations of the Cross Interesting climb, following these images.© Copyright Barbara Carr…

    13.18 miles away
  13. Bonnie Prince Charlie first stepped foot on Scottish soil on this beach on 23rd July…

    13.29 miles away
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