Berneray is some 2 miles wide and 3 miles long. There is a road along the east side of the island, and another through the centre and across the machair. These and the roads approaching Berneray are mostly single-track with occasional passing areas. Driving is easy, with very little traffic. The main obstacle are sheep that run into the middle of the road, and the occasional otter crossing.
Walking or cycling are popular ways of getting around. There is a circular path around much of the island that is clearly signposted with blue waymarker signs. Alternately, a popular walk is to follow the shoreline around the island, which takes around 5 hours. Most of the walk is on beaches. There may be slightly boggy areas of land after rain, so waterproof footwear is recommended. However, there are no dangerous areas of land; mud is the walkers greatest problem.
The hills of Berneray are relatively small, each taking about 15 minutes to walk up by a reasonably fit person. Despite their height, the views from the top are truly spectacular; on a clear day, it is possible to see up to 30 other islands, including St Kilda, and many other beaches.
There are no dangerous or poisonous animals on Berneray. Sheepdogs may growl at passing people, but are generally harmless. Many people on Berneray keep cats, which are friendly.
When to Visit
The climate in Berneray is relatively mild, with the weather largely dictated by the Gulf Stream. Periods of sunshine can be quite extensive. The weather can change suddenly - at any time of the year - and it is possible to get "four seasons in an hour". Because of the location, deep snow and very cold weather are rare.
Being a northerly island, summer daylight hours can be very long; around late June, some nights are never completely dark. In winter there is the reverse, with very long December nights.
The busiest months in Berneray are July and August, when accommodation on the island can sometimes be difficult to find. July is also when many social events, such as Berneray Week happen.
Shoulder season months - April to June, and September to October - often provide the best weather and scenery. At this time of year, it is often possible to walk around the island in blistering sunshine and not see anyone on the beaches. Winter shouldn't be ruled out as a time to visit. Accommodation is more readily available, and you can often have the whole youth hostel to yourself. Winter wildlife is different from summer wildlife, and the more changeable weather has provided inspiration for photographers and artists. However, the one big draw of winter, and especially because of the geographic location, is that you are far more likely to see the Northern Lights.