The sands of Luskentyre and the Golden Road, Isle of Harris

Ride level Regular cyclist
Distance 24 mi / 39 km
Type of bicycle Any
Traffic free
Circular route
Cyclist riding up from the sands of Luskentyre
The inaugural Fleet Flyer was enjoyed by hundreds of cyclists of all ages

Sam Jones is Cycling UK's Senior Campaigns and Communications officer, and writes here about his favoured part of the Hebridean Way that formed part of his Harris Tweed pilgrimage in May 2018.

I cycled this stretch when I rode the Hebridean Way with my partner, and this was one of our favourite parts. It takes in some of the world’s most beautiful beaches on the west of Harris before descending into the craggy coves of the east.


Starting at the exposed campsite in Horgabost which has its own fabulous white sandy beach, the road weaves its way around the western coast of Harris. A short climb takes you up to a viewing point over the fabulous sands of Luskentyre and the breathtaking blue green waters which fill the bay.


On a sunny day, as you coast down the short hill towards the causeway leading to the turn off on your left leading to the sands, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re not in the Western Isles. 


Along the road through the Luskentyre township that is a smattering of robust houses, just beyond the old cemetery you’ll pass the workshop of Donald John Mackay MBE, one of the most famous weavers of Harris Tweed on the island. Beyond his house, lies the new cemetery, a public toilet and the entry to further exploration of the dunes with a view over Taransay.


Leaving Luskentyre, head for the gap in the hills into the lunar landscape. A steady three mile climb on a newly laid road leads you into East Harris, and the rocky wonders lying ahead.


A sharp right turn on the descent signposted the Golden Road treats you too an eight-mile wander of undulating cycling, with lochs, sea views and small holdings. The Golden Road so named for the reputed cost of blasting a road through this Lewisian Gneiss-wrought landscape. Fans of Tweed must make sure to stop off at the Harris Tweed Company in Grosebay, if only to see Mackay’s cloth cut and on sale. 


A steep climb takes you off the Golden Road and back on to the main road where a swooping descent drops you off in Tarbert, where shops, restaurants, banks, accommodation and a port to Skye all reside. There’s also the relatively new Harris Distillery which until its scotch is ready sells a nice dram of gin instead.

What to bring: If planning to camp, then a storm worthy tent capable of battling the elements is a must, as are provisions for the day. There are no real refreshment stops from the start until the end. Don't forget your waterproofs too!