Project:
HEBRIDES TIP-TO-TOE

Project:
HEBRIDES
TIP-TO-TOE

PROJECT: HEBRIDES TIP-TO-TOE

 

The adventure will begin in the shadow of the famous lighthouse at the very northern tip of Lewis – the Butt of Lewis. 

You will set out on a breath-taking bike journey south, taking in some 140 miles of rollercoaster road riding, through remote villages, between mountains, past ancient standing stones and broch forts, beside vast fjord-like sea lochs and beaches, and in the Uist islands actually ALONG the beaches! Interspersed with the cycling there are dramatic trail-running stages through mountain passes and along ancient trails. Kayaking across the Sound of Harris is a rite of passage that takes you to islands where mountains rise dramatically straight from sea level. Conditions permitting, the next kayak stage gets us across the Sound of Barra (there is also a ferry) and one final run to the island mountain summit, before heading to our extraordinary finish with a swim (or kayak) to Kisimul Castle, in Barra Bay.

If you can’t make our scheduled departure, we can run this adventure on a bespoke basis for you and your mates. A minimum of 6 people is required to run the trip. Email us to find out more.

Trip Highlights:

– A full traverse north to south of the Outer Hebrides – a highly desirable objective
– The most stunning sea kayaking in the UK
– Cycle on miles and miles quiet roads and shimmering (and hard-packed) white sandy beaches
– Finish with a swim (or kayak) to a castle in the middle of the sea

 

 

 

The RV is Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. You can fly there or get the ferry from the mainland at Ullapool. This is a vehicle-supported trip and we will RV in town, then whisk you north to the starting point. We will stay in the mixture of guest houses and campsites on our way south, finishing up at the majestic Castlebay at the southern tip of Barra. From there you have the sensational choice of flying back to Glasgow from the World’s only airport that is a beach (!) or catching a ferry back to the mainland with us (or under your own steam) to get back to Oban. If you have left a car at Ullapool, we can re-unite you from Oban.

Thursday 20th September
Take the evening ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway, or fly to Stornoway, and stay in your chosen accommodation. We’ll see you in Stornoway the next morning, where you will meet the support vehicle.

Friday 21st September
Meeting at 0730, we will transport all participants to the Butt of Lewis, touch the lighthouse, and prepare to cycle southwards pronto. Our destination on this day is South Harris and may involve up to 70 miles of cycling and 10 miles of running. The road undulations escalate as you enter mountainous Harris, and beside you sublime beaches, envy of all tourism aficionados around the world. Accommodation will be B&B. 

Saturday 22nd September
Arising from our comfy B&B pits on the Saturday morning, our first objective is Leverburgh. We have a date with the kayaks and the Sound of Harris. The support vehicle will travel on the ferry. Who will land on Berneray island first? We will see. Once ashore, the bikes need winding up for the southward ride through the North Uist and Benbecula and onto South Uist. There is no running on this day, but that’s because we are giving you a western beach amazing to behold, and one that you can tackle on your bikes, perhaps with some walking at the beginning and end. In the south of South Uist we will gather in a friendly accommodation, and exchange stories of the wonders of the day. There might be a headwind, but on Day 2 you will be hardened to it. 

Sunday 23rd September
Another Day another Sound, perhaps reached by a short cycle ride from the accommodation. Kayaking this section is legendary, though once again we have the ferry as back-up. Once ashore, the small island of Barra will seem like a wee gem. Drying off after the kayak stage, you will cycle around to the west, and time permitting, complete a foray over the mountain and down to Castlebay. What awaits you is a swim or kayak to Kisimul Castle, perched on its own rock in the bay. It’s a setting of no equal. That evening will be a real treat when accommodated and nestled in a local Hotel, overlooking the bay, satiating your hunger and thirst. 

Monday 24th September
The ferry leaves Castlebay early for Oban, where the train back to Glasgow is a robust travel option. There also the option to fly from Barra’s famous beach airport to Glasgow. We would also repatriate any others to the car in Ullapool that evening.

The accommodation will be a sequence of B&B / Hotel / Bunkhouse accommodation to best suit the group size once bookings are in. A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

Rat Race will provide:

  • Vehicle support for the team when on the islands
  • Stable double sea kayaks
  • Transit back to Ullapool
  • Accommodation in Harris, Uist and Barra. A plan will be circulated as trip bookings conclude.
  • Food snacks and drink dispensed from the support vehicle for the cycle stages and transitions.
  • Accomplished guides that stay with you on the water, and who track you during cycling and running stages.

The participant will provide:
Own bikes (gravel, hybrid and mountain bikes are recommended, though some road bikes might handle the beach cycling), helmets, rucksacks, cycle clothing, safety equipment and waterproofs. A towel and a change of clothes for after the activities is also recommended. The season of this trip should not require bike lights, though these are recommended for daytime safety. You should be familiar with your bike and on top of its reliability. Additional meals to breakfast will be funded by yourselves.

A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 7/10 and Endurance rating 8/10. What does this mean?

Technical rating 7/10
This is generally straight-forward road cycling in a sublime environment. The technical grade comes from the kayaking and the trekking just making this more of a multi-sport adventure. You are required to be a competent cyclist – with sinew. We can get you up to speed with kayaking before setting off across the bay, and as always, weather permitting.

Endurance rating 8/10
Participants should expect cycle stage lengths of about 80, 60 and 20 miles, on consecutive days. Due to the nature of the exposure and the incorporation of the other disciplines within the same day, this should be considered as a stern challenge over long days. Whilst there will be variances in the groups abilities, we will manage the journey carefully to give the best possible day out. This might involve enabling the group to separate into smaller groups or pairs. Drafting is a useful technique by those practised with this.

Food and Bev

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Savoury and sweet snacks, sports drinks (isotonic and carb-based), water and hot drinks from flasks whilst on the route, provided from our mobile ‘pit stop’ vehicle.*
  •  Alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink for all group members in a pub/hotel at Castlebay, Barra at the end of the journey to celebrate a job well done.
  • Overnight B&B at the 3 overnight locations.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Breakfast prior to departure.
  • Dinners on all 3 evenings.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the final overnight during the trip, except 1 complimentary one that we will provide.

*Some Gluten-free and Vegan provision will be made although if you have food intolerances please do ensure you check with us on our provision as you may need to augment with your own supplies. Please contact us with any specific dietary requirements. Please note that the provision whilst on the route does not consist of ‘full meals’ and will be more snack-based grab n’ go options, to reflect the journey being undertaken. We would advise in all cases that you augment this provision with your own foodstuffs. We would also advise that if you have sports nutrition products that you know work for you, please bring them with you.

Accommodation

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Overnight B&B / Bunkhouse/ hotel accommodation at the 3 overnights whilst on the route.

Participants will provide costs for:

It is recommended that for those travelling, local accommodation is sought in or near to Stornoway for the night preceding the Challenge. It is an early RV on the Friday morning for transport to the start of the Challenge at the Butt of Lewis.

Transport

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Full on-course support by our vehicle, local to the Outer Hebrides.
  • Transit to get you to the start at Butt of Lewis from Stornaway.
  • Foot passenger + bike ferry travel from Barra > Oban (return journey to mainland, after event).
  • Road transit return from Oban ferry port to Ullapool ferry port on the mainland for those requiring this (ideal if you have left a car at Ullapool ferry port).
  • Transfer to Barra airport for those who wish to fly back to mainland instead from the World’s only beach airport (flight goes to Glasgow).

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to Ullapool area.
  • Foot passenger + bike ferry travel Ullapool > Stornaway.
  • OR air travel to Stornaway.
  • Onward return travel from Oban ferry port or Ullapool ferry – if using own transport.
  • There exists a first-come, first-served opportunity for transport from Glasgow all the way to Stornaway (via Ullapool ferry) and return to Glasgow (via Oban ferry), for a nominal fee. Please enquire.

How far is the route? The rides are in the realm of regular sportive cycle rides and the day distances will be in the region of 80, 60 and 20 miles. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing.

How hard is it and how fit do I need to be? The riding will be committing and you will need to be a seasoned road cyclist. The running stages are relatively short but rough underfoot. The kayaking will test some lesser used muscles and this trip is best suited for those that have some experience of kayaking up to five miles on open water. The kayaking will be completed as a group – a flotilla. You should be a reasonable swimmer.

What type of terrain is it? Undulating single lane tarmac roads and some unusual but firm sand beach surfaces. The trails are gravel, mud, grass and peat. Add onto that some water, and you will likely be getting wet feet on the runs.

What might the weather be like? That is hard to say until forecasting is available 10-days out. It can potentially be breezy, and the nature of the cycling routes is generally against the prevailing weather. Good weatherproof clothing is essential, just in case the breeze is loaded with rain. But we doubt that it will be cold.

What wildlife might we see? When you are not focusing on your front wheel, we hope to see deer, eagles, otters and other sea-life. Midges are unlikely. We will give expert advice and links on midge and tick defence and treatments.

What if I get lost? Unlikely, as you will be with qualified guides and support that will intend to keep the group together. If separations are required then the guides will have a plan for how to manage this.

What if I get hurt? Well, this is possible, as with any adventurous outing or venture on public roads with shared traffic. You can call 999 if it’s a true Emergency but our team will be close in the loop to affect best responses. We have First Aid trained staff on the trip with a medical kit. So if you need assistance we will be there; similarly if you need or wish to withdraw from the route, we will sort it. We’d rather you got to Barra under your won steam though, from tip to toe.

Where will you stay? The first stay is Stornoway. Then South Harris. Then South Uist. Then Castlebay on Barra. The whole trip is longer and might require other overnights, depending on your home location.

What is included? Check out the tabs above to see what we provide on kit/ equipment and what is included as far as food/ accommodation/ transport is concerned. You can download the full trip notes file HERE.

How do I get back after the Challenge is over? You could fly back from Barra, though we suspect that the ferry trip is the way. We will land at Oban on the Monday late morning and join cars and other transport to head homewards. We will be able to help the few that would like a lift to Glasgow transport links such as Airport and Rail Station, for a late evening flight or train.

 


21-24th SEPTEMBER
2018 OUTER HEBRIDES

A complete multi-sport traverse of the entire island chain of the Outer Hebrides.

Bike, kayak and foot: 3 days
(not including the terminus transits) Guided

  What do these mean?
Technical Rating 7/10
Endurance Rating: 8/10

£799

£799 price is per person

21-24th SEPTEMBER
2018 OUTER HEBRIDES

A complete multi-sport traverse of the entire island chain of the Outer Hebrides.

Bike, kayak and foot: 3 days
(not including the terminus transits) Guided

 
What do these mean?

Technical Rating 7/10
Endurance Rating: 8/10

£799

£799 price is per person

The adventure will begin in the shadow of the famous lighthouse at the very northern tip of Lewis – the Butt of Lewis. 

You will set out on a breath-taking bike journey south, taking in some 140 miles of rollercoaster road riding, through remote villages, between mountains, past ancient standing stones and broch forts, beside vast fjord-like sea lochs and beaches, and in the Uist islands actually ALONG the beaches! Interspersed with the cycling there are dramatic trail-running stages through mountain passes and along ancient trails. Kayaking across the Sound of Harris is a rite of passage that takes you to islands where mountains rise dramatically straight from sea level. Conditions permitting, the next kayak stage gets us across the Sound of Barra (there is also a ferry) and one final run to the island mountain summit, before heading to our extraordinary finish with a swim (or kayak) to Kisimul Castle, in Barra Bay.

If you can’t make our scheduled departure, we can run this adventure on a bespoke basis for you and your mates. A minimum of 6 people is required to run the trip. Email us to find out more.

Trip Highlights:

– A full traverse north to south of the Outer Hebrides – a highly desirable objective
– The most stunning sea kayaking in the UK
– Cycle on miles and miles quiet roads and shimmering (and hard-packed) white sandy beaches
– Finish with a swim (or kayak) to a castle in the middle of the sea

 

The RV is Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. You can fly there or get the ferry from the mainland at Ullapool. This is a vehicle-supported trip and we will RV in town, then whisk you north to the starting point. We will stay in the mixture of guest houses and campsites on our way south, finishing up at the majestic Castlebay at the southern tip of Barra. From there you have the sensational choice of flying back to Glasgow from the World’s only airport that is a beach (!) or catching a ferry back to the mainland with us (or under your own steam) to get back to Oban. If you have left a car at Ullapool, we can re-unite you from Oban.

Thursday 20th September
Take the evening ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway, or fly to Stornoway, and stay in your chosen accommodation. We’ll see you in Stornoway the next morning, where you will meet the support vehicle.

Friday 21st September
Meeting at 0730, we will transport all participants to the Butt of Lewis, touch the lighthouse, and prepare to cycle southwards pronto. Our destination on this day is South Harris and may involve up to 70 miles of cycling and 10 miles of running. The road undulations escalate as you enter mountainous Harris, and beside you sublime beaches, envy of all tourism aficionados around the world. Accommodation will be B&B. 

Saturday 22nd September
Arising from our comfy B&B pits on the Saturday morning, our first objective is Leverburgh. We have a date with the kayaks and the Sound of Harris. The support vehicle will travel on the ferry. Who will land on Berneray island first? We will see. Once ashore, the bikes need winding up for the southward ride through the North Uist and Benbecula and onto South Uist. There is no running on this day, but that’s because we are giving you a western beach amazing to behold, and one that you can tackle on your bikes, perhaps with some walking at the beginning and end. In the south of South Uist we will gather in a friendly accommodation, and exchange stories of the wonders of the day. There might be a headwind, but on Day 2 you will be hardened to it. 

Sunday 23rd September
Another Day another Sound, perhaps reached by a short cycle ride from the accommodation. Kayaking this section is legendary, though once again we have the ferry as back-up. Once ashore, the small island of Barra will seem like a wee gem. Drying off after the kayak stage, you will cycle around to the west, and time permitting, complete a foray over the mountain and down to Castlebay. What awaits you is a swim or kayak to Kisimul Castle, perched on its own rock in the bay. It’s a setting of no equal. That evening will be a real treat when accommodated and nestled in a local Hotel, overlooking the bay, satiating your hunger and thirst. 

Monday 24th September
The ferry leaves Castlebay early for Oban, where the train back to Glasgow is a robust travel option. There also the option to fly from Barra’s famous beach airport to Glasgow. We would also repatriate any others to the car in Ullapool that evening.

The accommodation will be a sequence of B&B / Hotel / Bunkhouse accommodation to best suit the group size once bookings are in. A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

Rat Race will provide:

  • Vehicle support for the team when on the islands
  • Stable double sea kayaks
  • Transit back to Ullapool
  • Accommodation in Harris, Uist and Barra. A plan will be circulated as trip bookings conclude.
  • Food snacks and drink dispensed from the support vehicle for the cycle stages and transitions.
  • Accomplished guides that stay with you on the water, and who track you during cycling and running stages.

The participant will provide:
Own bikes (gravel, hybrid and mountain bikes are recommended, though some road bikes might handle the beach cycling), helmets, rucksacks, cycle clothing, safety equipment and waterproofs. A towel and a change of clothes for after the activities is also recommended. The season of this trip should not require bike lights, though these are recommended for daytime safety. You should be familiar with your bike and on top of its reliability. Additional meals to breakfast will be funded by yourselves.

A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 7/10 and Endurance rating 8/10. What does this mean?

Technical rating 7/10
This is generally straight-forward road cycling in a sublime environment. The technical grade comes from the kayaking and the trekking just making this more of a multi-sport adventure. You are required to be a competent cyclist – with sinew. We can get you up to speed with kayaking before setting off across the bay, and as always, weather permitting.

Endurance rating 8/10
Participants should expect cycle stage lengths of about 80, 60 and 20 miles, on consecutive days. Due to the nature of the exposure and the incorporation of the other disciplines within the same day, this should be considered as a stern challenge over long days. Whilst there will be variances in the groups abilities, we will manage the journey carefully to give the best possible day out. This might involve enabling the group to separate into smaller groups or pairs. Drafting is a useful technique by those practised with this.

Food and Bev

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Savoury and sweet snacks, sports drinks (isotonic and carb-based), water and hot drinks from flasks whilst on the route, provided from our mobile ‘pit stop’ vehicle.*
  •  Alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink for all group members in a pub/hotel at Castlebay, Barra at the end of the journey to celebrate a job well done.
  • Overnight B&B at the 3 overnight locations.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Breakfast prior to departure.
  • Dinners on all 3 evenings.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the final overnight during the trip, except 1 complimentary one that we will provide.

*Some Gluten-free and Vegan provision will be made although if you have food intolerances please do ensure you check with us on our provision as you may need to augment with your own supplies. Please contact us with any specific dietary requirements. Please note that the provision whilst on the route does not consist of ‘full meals’ and will be more snack-based grab n’ go options, to reflect the journey being undertaken. We would advise in all cases that you augment this provision with your own foodstuffs. We would also advise that if you have sports nutrition products that you know work for you, please bring them with you.

Accommodation

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Overnight B&B / Bunkhouse/ hotel accommodation at the 3 overnights whilst on the route.

Participants will provide costs for:

It is recommended that for those travelling, local accommodation is sought in or near to Stornoway for the night preceding the Challenge. It is an early RV on the Friday morning for transport to the start of the Challenge at the Butt of Lewis.

Transport

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Full on-course support by our vehicle, local to the Outer Hebrides.
  • Transit to get you to the start at Butt of Lewis from Stornaway.
  • Foot passenger + bike ferry travel from Barra > Oban (return journey to mainland, after event).
  • Road transit return from Oban ferry port to Ullapool ferry port on the mainland for those requiring this (ideal if you have left a car at Ullapool ferry port).
  • Transfer to Barra airport for those who wish to fly back to mainland instead from the World’s only beach airport (flight goes to Glasgow).

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to Ullapool area.
  • Foot passenger + bike ferry travel Ullapool > Stornaway.
  • OR air travel to Stornaway.
  • Onward return travel from Oban ferry port or Ullapool ferry – if using own transport.
  • There exists a first-come, first-served opportunity for transport from Glasgow all the way to Stornaway (via Ullapool ferry) and return to Glasgow (via Oban ferry), for a nominal fee. Please enquire.

How far is the route? The rides are in the realm of regular sportive cycle rides and the day distances will be in the region of 80, 60 and 20 miles. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing.

How hard is it and how fit do I need to be? The riding will be committing and you will need to be a seasoned road cyclist. The running stages are relatively short but rough underfoot. The kayaking will test some lesser used muscles and this trip is best suited for those that have some experience of kayaking up to five miles on open water. The kayaking will be completed as a group – a flotilla. You should be a reasonable swimmer.

What type of terrain is it? Undulating single lane tarmac roads and some unusual but firm sand beach surfaces. The trails are gravel, mud, grass and peat. Add onto that some water, and you will likely be getting wet feet on the runs.

What might the weather be like? That is hard to say until forecasting is available 10-days out. It can potentially be breezy, and the nature of the cycling routes is generally against the prevailing weather. Good weatherproof clothing is essential, just in case the breeze is loaded with rain. But we doubt that it will be cold.

What wildlife might we see? When you are not focusing on your front wheel, we hope to see deer, eagles, otters and other sea-life. Midges are unlikely. We will give expert advice and links on midge and tick defence and treatments.

What if I get lost? Unlikely, as you will be with qualified guides and support that will intend to keep the group together. If separations are required then the guides will have a plan for how to manage this.

What if I get hurt? Well, this is possible, as with any adventurous outing or venture on public roads with shared traffic. You can call 999 if it’s a true Emergency but our team will be close in the loop to affect best responses. We have First Aid trained staff on the trip with a medical kit. So if you need assistance we will be there; similarly if you need or wish to withdraw from the route, we will sort it. We’d rather you got to Barra under your won steam though, from tip to toe.

Where will you stay? The first stay is Stornoway. Then South Harris. Then South Uist. Then Castlebay on Barra. The whole trip is longer and might require other overnights, depending on your home location.

What is included? Check out the tabs above to see what we provide on kit/ equipment and what is included as far as food/ accommodation/ transport is concerned. You can download the full trip notes file HERE.

How do I get back after the Challenge is over? You could fly back from Barra, though we suspect that the ferry trip is the way. We will land at Oban on the Monday late morning and join cars and other transport to head homewards. We will be able to help the few that would like a lift to Glasgow transport links such as Airport and Rail Station, for a late evening flight or train.