Transport & Tours for the Uists & Benbecula
Western Isles / Outer Hebrides
Transport to the islands
The official Caledonian Macbrayne web site lists the current timetables in detail for the following vehicle ferries. Winter timetables usually have slightly fewer sailings than the summer ones. Vehicle reservation required on all sailings.
Vehicle ferry from the mainland to South Uist:
A ferry runs from Oban on the mainland to Lochboisdale on South Uist every day. Some sailings are via Barra.
A pilot scheme is operating until 1 April 2014 with ferry sailings from Mallaig to South Uist.
Vehicle ferry from Harris to North Uist:
It sails from the village of Leverburgh on the southern coast of Harris to the island of Berneray which is linked by causeway to North Uist.
Numerous trips a day during the summer, but less in winter (October to Easter). Journey time: 1 hour.
Capacity: 200 passengers, 32 vehicles.
Sound of Barra Ferry:
The island of Eriskay is now linked to South Uist by a causeway. A new service by Caledonian Macbrayne operates a small vehicle ferry on the 40-minute crossing between Eriskay and Barra. Daily sailings. Check timetable online.
This service replaces the previous locally operated ferries between Ludag/Eriskay/Barra.
Causeway to the Isle of Berneray
A 900-metre long causeway between North Uist and Berneray replaced the old ferry service and opened to vehicles in December 1998. The population of Berneray is around 140. The island was made famous in the late 1980s due to a documentary about the visits made by the Prince of Wales. Visit the Isle of Berneray community web site for information about the island.
Flybe (in conjunction with Loganair) operates flights between Inverness, Stornoway and Benbecula. Mondays - Fridays only.
Tours & Cruises:
Steve Duffield runs the Western Isles Wildlife web site which includes the latest sightings and photos of birds, mammals, insects and flora of the Hebrides. He also offers guided tours throughout the year. These can be 6-night all inclusive tours including accommodation, or simply book him for a day tour or a half day tour (mob: 07867 555971 / tel: 01876 580619).
Hidden Hebrides (based on Lewis) specialises in island walking holidays and tours of Lewis, Harris, the Uists and Barra. Contact Mick Blunt on 07724 150015.
Northern Light offers private charter, wildlife cruises, bird-watching and whale-watching cruises, dive charter, island cruising and research and survey services. 2 boats based in Oban.
Day-trip to North Uist from Skye:
Cruises from Uig (Isle of Skye) to North Uist and/or the Isle of Harris are available on certain days from April to October. Book your tickets at the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry office in Uig (tel: 01470 542219). View Calmac day cruises.
Car hire, bike hire, taxis:
Car hire is available from:
- Autotec Uist Ltd, 317a Kilpheder, South Uist (available from ferry terminals and airport) - tel: 01878 700357 / 700599.
- Laing Motors, Lochboisdale, South Uist - tel/fax: 01878 700 267.
- Ask Car Hire, Liniclate, Benbecula (available from ferry terminals and airport) - tel: 01870 602 818.
- Maclennan's Self Drive, Balivanich, Benbecula (available from ferry terminals and airport) - tel: 01870 602 191.
Ewen Walker runs A1 TAXIS (North & South Uist & Benbecula) - tel: 07899003777.
Coach, Mini-Bus, Taxi Hire and Self-Drive Vehicles available from Aitkens Island Travel, 9 North Locheynort, South Uist HS8 5SN. Tel: 01878 710333
Taxi and minibus hire is available from Alda's Taxis, 1 Kersavagh, Lochmaddy, North Uist (tel: 01876 500 215).
Bikes can be hired from Morrison Cycle Hire, Bonnie View, 19 Carinish, North Uist (tel: 01876 580211) and also Rothan Cycles at 9 Howmore, South Uist (tel: 01870 620283 / mob: 07740 364093).
Local bus service:
There are various bus routes through the Uists including those operated by
Royal Mail with the Postbus
Hebridean Coaches (tel: 01870 620345).
DA Travel (tel: 01878 700357 / 700599)
Grenitote Travel (tel: 01876 560244)
Bus timetables are available online via the council web site.
travelinescotland.com is the official public transport guide with online timetables and a journey planner.
You can generally pick up free sheets with timetables for each local route from tourist offices in the Western Isles and at Stornoway bus station. Buses generally run in time with the ferries and there are less in winter than in summer.
You can cycle across the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay/Barra via the Uists and Benbecula to Harris/Lewis on the Hebridean Way Cycling Route.