An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

57.717627, -7.185380
Distance: 18.7 km
Difficulty: 2
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 9 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Outer Hebrides
  • Size: 1010 hectares
  • Terrain: Faint paths through machair and along beach
  • Access: Road causeway or ferry
  • Height gain: 200 metres
  • Map: Explorer 454
  • Starting point: Ferry terminal. Lat/Long 57.7025, -7.1802; GR NF 915 798
  • Accommodation/food:

    Food and supplies at Berneray Shop. The Bistro serves good locally caught seafood in the evenings. Variety of self-catering and B&B options, youth hostel (Gatliff Trust Hostel) and superb wild camping on the West Beach. Toilets at ferry terminal, youth hostel, and harbour.

  • Island Summary:

    Berneray lies south of Harris and a causeway links it to the northern coast of North Uist. Cottages and crofts are dotted along the east coast and around the harbour of Loch a’ Baigh. The Atlantic-facing half of the island is flat and rimmed by steep dunes, the backdrop to over 5 km’s of stunning white sand beach. Whales and dolphins may be spotted along West Beach or from the higher ground looking into the Sound of Harris.

  • Look out for:
    • Spotting whales and dolphins
    • Trail running
    • Cafes, local food and inns
    • A night under the stars
    • Glorious beaches
  • Route description:

    The wildlife certainly adds variety to a splendid clockwise walk along the machair and shoreline of this iconic Hebridean island. From the ferry terminal, the route crosses Loch Bhuirgh to reach one of the most magnificent beaches in the UK – rain or shine. From here there are options to climb to the high point of Beinn Shleibhe for bird’s-eye views of the islands of Lewis Sound. The walk finishes with an easy stroll along the east coast, passing traditional thatched buildings, seal-watching spots, and winding up at a great café.

  • Getting there:

    By road along short causeway from North Uist. Ferry from Harris and Lewis

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