The Main Points
Location – Horgabost Campground, Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris Scotland
SUP – SUP – Own Fatstick Inflatables, Pink Panther* and Blue Lagoon (*Pink Panther now has a new design – check it out here)
Cost – Free beach access
Conditions – Sea Loch/beach
Other users – Swimmers and kayakers
Entry Point – White sandy beach with gradual incline
Surrounding amenities/Bathrooms- Horgabost Camp Ground
Getting There – CalMac Ferries
The famous beaches of the Isle of Harris – just like the Caribbean only in Scotland! What more can be said, it is a truly beautiful area and a great spot for a SUP trip. We were lucky enough to visit in the shoulder season, it was a little breezy but this meant that the midges left us alone and it wasn’t too busy with tourists. The water was absolutely amazing and clear making the sandy bottom easily visible from aboard a SUP. There are a few spots to put in from, we stayed at the Horgabost camp ground which is around the coast a bit from the main part of the Luskentyre area that you see in photos but we paddled back around from there which we found to be pretty handy. The area is pretty sheltered by Harris and other islands but don’t underestimate the ability for the weather to quickly change in this area. Winds can whip in from the south west making for challenging paddling conditions.
Other than enjoying the magnificent outdoors there is blissfully little else to do in Harris. One of the highlights is a visit to the Harris Distillery. The distillery is located in the main town of Tarbert where the ferry comes in from Skye. We were lucky enough to visit on a day when there were 2 cancellations for the tour which meant we got to visit but in hindsight you really need to book ahead as it’s a pretty popular place. The tour is well worth it and really interesting, you get to learn all about how the distillery was created and how important it is to the local community economy. You are also lead through all of the different flavour notes that go into different types of gin which we found fascinating.
If you are coming to the Outer Hebrides without your own camping equipment but would love to have a Kombi Camper experience check out Isle of Harris Classic Campers. We saw these cuties out and about on Harris and were just a little envious. Not only are they really cool but would be quite a bit more comfortable than our Mountain Warehouse tent! We are not getting any kickbacks for mentioning them here, we just thought they were awesome 😊
Another area you might like to check out while on Harris is out along the B887 to the township of Hushinish (Huisinis). This is a really spectacular drive and depending on the weather conditions there are a few options for paddling along the way. The best is at Hushinish itself and if you are travelling in a camper there are a couple of options for overnight stops along this road. The Huisnis Campervan Site is one of them which is 400m before arriving at the beach. This link doesn’t really reveal much but will give you an idea where to find it. This overnight stop doesn’t have much in the way of facilities so is better for campers which are self contained. There is also more information if you click on the Huisines Gateway link below. Further along is the Huisines Gateway which has a nice indoor picnic area for eating with a huge window looking out over the beach. This is a welcome stop for when the weather is less than ideal. It also has toilets and showers with a small car park. Neither of these locations accomodate tents so Horgabost is most probably still your best option. These camper van sites aren’t able to be booked ahead and are on a first come first served basis. It’s best not to count on availability during the summer school holidays.
Our time in Harris was part of a larger 2 week trip of the entire Outer Hebrides chain of islands. We travelled by ferry from Ullapool on the west coast of Scotland over to Stornaway on Lewis. From there we travelled from the very top, the ‘Butt of Lewis’ all the way down to the island of Vatersay off the southern coast of Barra. From here we caught the ferry back to Oban also on the western coast of Scotland. We saw a lot but we could easily have spent twice as long spending more time relaxing and paddling some of the almost unlimited number of sea and freshwater lochs. All up we visited 12 islands, in order of appearance; Lewis, Great Benera, Harris, Scalpay, Beneray, North Uist, Grimsby, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay, most of which were joined by causeways only requiring us to go on 4 ferries. I’ll get around to writing about the whole trip in a future post but for now our other SUP adventures in the Outer Hebrides can be found here.