#OperationHebrides2020 – The Final Score

Photo montage baby

Statistics time, number fiends:

1340.5 miles covered. No issues getting fuel when we needed as we may have suspected, obviously we researched in advance where fuel stops were and when they were open (Sundays an issue) and kept on top of consumption, but you would, wouldn’t you?

16 days on the road. Loved (and needed) every one together.

Cadac used only twice. Perhaps to be replaced?

Canopy used more, but not at every stop.

Serious use of the Popaloo – more than 50 bags in 2 weeks, serious and then restrained use of the potette – about 30 bags.

3 ferries – 7 hours at sea in total. Total cost of crossings £191.50. Bargainous.

Total number of islands visited – 8

South Uist, Eriskay, Benbecula, North Uist, Baleshare, Berneray, Harris, Lewis

Windiest spots – South Uist and Stornoway.

All meals self catered except 1 x ferry butties, 2 x fish and chips, 2 x ice cream/desserts – a novelty! The abundance of small Go-ops and other mini markets was surprising, if only for the range of items in some places. Cross stores was my fave,with hardware opposite the fruit and veg and a whisky corner behind the toiletries.

Best anti-covid hygiene measures – Kilbride Campsite, but Moorcroft not far behind. Accommodation total comes in at just over £350. I did work it out, but lost the bit of paper. Cheapest (paid) was Moorcroft at £20/night, most expensive was By The Way at £30/night. Booking ahead was essential, as by the time we reached Harris, the islanders, via Calmac ferries, were begging visitors not to come without reservations, lots of people had similar ideas. There is an argument that you pay a lot even though facilities are off limits, but there’s also the point that at least they are still open and welcoming visitors in a safe environment.

Best holiday gadget – colapz shower, closely followed by anti-midge arrangements. Special mention goes to Colapz though, for excellent customer service, offering to send a replacement part out to us whilst we were on the road.

Favourite beach – Bonnie Prince Charlie’s on Eriskay. Just freezing water.

New word: scarecited, invented by the boy for when you’re scared and excited, mainly when climbing into the roof bed.

New phrase “got a Cocker Spaniel on board” 😆💩🙈

The much awaited top 3 islands visited, as voted by all 4 happy campers:

Before revealing, it’s worth noting the 2 which didn’t qualify for a top 3 spot from any of us are by no means rubbish.

Benbecula had interesting wildlife, a nice craft shop, internet and an airport, so you can watch the planes coming in and going out again.

South Uist was our first taste of the Hebrides and was a great place to start. The esteemed lonely planet says its best bits are well hidden, and I believe that. In 3 days of actually adjusting to being away at this weird time I think we only scratched the surface and there’s probably plenty of gems we missed. Had we taken the opportunity to walk or cycle, I’m sure we would have made tons of discoveries, but it was that beach at Kilbride and the campsite that were both just what we needed to start us off.

So here is the list, extended to 5 places, taking into account the voting:

1. Harris – unanimously voted in top spot.

2. Eriskay – not for the sheep on the football pitch or the whalebones by the roadside, but that beach.

3. This is where it gets a bit murky. Joint 3rd goes to Berneray and Baleshare. KB will be outraged and demand a recount, as Berneray was his joint 1st with Harris. The infants and juniors were both singing the praises of the wildlife, dead and otherwise of Baleshare, and so it was a close run thing. It is fair to say however, that Berneray is definitely on the list of islands to revisit and see more of.

4th and 5th spot go to Lewis and North Uist, Lewis marginally ahead. Given that one of the main reasons for this trip, certainly in my eyes, was to see Callanish, this result is unexpected, but it didn’t make my top 3 at all. Shocker.

North Uist had great scenery and wildlife, a great campsite and was instantly a favourite when we arrived, but, alas, was subsequently overshadowed. Again, it would make the list of islands for a revisit.

It’s definitely fair to say that we experienced an overload of nature and scenery at every turn, and by the end of 2 weeks were up to the brim with it.

So, home again, van emptied and cleaned and almost time for a return to (the new) normal for all.

No Ludlow this year, due to Covid, and currently all plans are soft for October half term and the long weekend, but recently thoughts have been turning to a bigger van, for the whole off-grid, self-sufficiency in style thing. Research is in progress, will have to do some saving!

Bring on the next #CampervanCaper


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