Around the Long Island: Bikerafting South Uist, Scotland (Video)

Annie Le’s latest video documents a summer bikerafting trip around Scotland’s exceptionally beautiful Outer Hebrides islands with her partner Huw Oliver. Find the video and a short trip reflection here…

Words and video by Annie Le, photos by Huw Oliver

When you don’t want to leave your small country to go on an adventure, how do you find inspiration? Our answer was to plan a trip that used unusual methods of transport and explored the fringes of land—places you’d otherwise miss. In August, we set out on a route that would circumnavigate South Uist, part of the Outer Hebrides archipelago that lies off the northwest coast of Scotland.

  • Huw Oliver, Bikerafting, Outer Hebrides
  • Huw Oliver, Bikerafting, Outer Hebrides

This long chain of islands sits exposed to wild Atlantic storms and is home to some of the hardiest Scots around. With Gaelic still commonly spoken and crofting still a vital part of the community, visiting these islands can feel like a world away from the Highlands despite only being a few hours away by ferry. Our route first took us down the panoramic sandy beaches of the west coast, where we rode fat bikes to eat up the many miles of soft sand and shingle. The booming Atlantic rollers kept us company and lulled us to sleep at night.

Huw Oliver, Bikerafting, Outer Hebrides

Once on the east coast, we unpacked and inflated our pack rafts and launched into the calmer waters of the Minch. Using the tides and wind to make progress north, we explored the many caves, cliffs, and hidden bays of the coastline. Curious seals and the odd secretive otter were our companions on this otherwise sparsely inhabited stretch of coast. Once again, Scotland proved that no matter how well you think you know it, there’s always more to see if you take the long way round.

  • Huw Oliver, Bikerafting, Outer Hebrides
  • Huw Oliver, Bikerafting, Outer Hebrides
  • Huw Oliver, Bikerafting, Outer Hebrides

For more from this trip, don’t miss Huw and Annie’s recent companion feature story, Finding Centre.

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