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 on ferries to/from the mainland is highly advisable.
Vehicle ferry from Skye to North Uist:
A ferry runs from Uig on Skye to Lochmaddy on North Uist and takes 1 hour 30 minutes.
Due to work on the pier, this service will not operate between 16 January and 13 March 2023, and then from 30 October to 11 December 2023. Check with CalMac for alternative arrangements including a ferry from Ullapool to Lochmaddy, sailings on other routes and also shuttle bus services.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Car hire, bike hire, taxis:
- 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.
- Aitken's Taxi - tel: 01878 710333
- AM/PM Taxi - tel: 07957 798378
- Ken's Taxi - tel: 07887 842401
- Lindsay' Taxi - tel: 07780 548779
- HEB E-Bike Hire Uist, Kallin, Grimsay, North Uist - +44 7952 163080
- Bike Uist, Claddach Kirkibost, North Uist - 07375 847551
- Lasgair Bike Hire, South Uist - 07961 954533
Local bus service:
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.
Walking / Cycling:
You can walk or cycle across the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay/Barra via the Uists and Benbecula to Harris/Lewis on the Hebridean Way.