The Pier, Uig, United Kingdom
MV Hebrides Uig Reviews
MV Hebrides Jul 26, 2012
The Hebrides is the boat that does the run from Uig in Skye to the outer islands, to Tarbert in Harris and Lochmaddy on North Uist. Operated by Caledonian MacBrayne ( a company 100% owned by the Scottish Government), it has been in service since 2001, and is the third ship to ply this route, and the third to bare the name.
Normally sails three times a day fom Uig, alternating 2 and 1 to Lochmaddy and Tarbert ( Lochmaddy Mon,Wed,Fri and Tarbert Tue,Thu,Sat) and as of the end of June 2012 now sails to and from Tarbert once on a Sunday, as well as Lochmaddy and the crossing takes 1h 40m.
As a result of the introduction of Road Equivalent Tarrif, to help life on the Scottish islands, it is now a lot cheaper than it used to be. Cost £8-40 return for each passenger, and £52 return for a 'standard' car. Cars join the lanes at the terminal, but you still have to go into the booking office to exchange your reservations for tickets and boarding cards. Foot passengers also have to get tickets and boarding cards before heading along the pier.
Car deck is quite tight, and at busy periods they have a mezzanine deck, a ramp that takes cars and then lifts to allow more cars on the deck below it. Almost always it is best to book your car on in advance, though not necessary for foot passengers.
Plenty of seating the length of the ship, both inside and out, and has a licence to carry 600 passengers, but for all the times I've been on it I've never seen anywhere near that number of passengers, probably not even half of that.
The cafeteria towards the back of the boat. Tends to be busy as soon as the boat sails, but dies down after about 20 minutes if you can wait. Not extortionate by any means, but while the food is Ok it will never be in danger of winning any awards. Cost just over £20 for 3 meals and 3 drinks.
Also a shop/bar at the front of the ship, that sells crisps,sweets, postcards and soft drinks as well as beers and spirits. Used to be able to get a pint on the boat, but now only does bottles of beer :( and I had to make do with a few bottles of Bud. Has a seating area just outside the bar, though I prferred to take my beer out on deck as it was a nice night.
Ample storage space for luggage onboard, and if you are backpacking, or camping, take any electrical devices, and chargers obviously :D, that you want to top up as on the left hand side going towards the rear there is a bank of sockets that you can use ;).
There are three toilets onboard, for guys anyway, and the one in the middle of the passenger deck has a couple of showers.
Also has an observation lounge at the front where you can see where you are heading to. Quite nice as it features the bell from the original Hebrides (1898) and has a picture, that made me quite nostalgic of the second boat to carry the name, the ferry of my youth that sailed to Harris from 1964 - 1986.
If on board you will find it a fairly comfortable crossing, weather permitting, and if you are lucky and it is a good day you will get some wonderful views.
Timetables can be found, and bookings made, for ferries on the Clyde Coast and to the inner and Outer Hebrides,through the Caledonian MacBrayne website http://www.calmac.co.uk/
Part of the The Road To The Isles - Harris July 2012 travel blog
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