Hi, I’m planning a trip for 4 in late September/early October without a car. Idea is to take train to Mallaig and then ferry to Armadale for a couple nights. Is Armadale walkable? Can you walk from lodging to castle and Clan Donald center? If not, are taxis available? We’d be booking a day tour with a tour company to get a tour of Skye. Would it be better to stay in Portree? Thanks in advance!
Where would you plan to stay? There's not much at all at Armadale. It's a tiny place where the ferry docks and that's about it. There is holiday accommodation at the castle, which is walkable from the ferry, but honestly you'd be much better staying in Portree, although you'd have issues even getting to Portree as the bus service is sporadic - here is a link to the timetable.
Taxis are not routinely available and need to be booked in advance to meet the ferry. I'm not au fait with the taxi companies as I live here and have a car, but a quick google search brings up a few options.
Thanks so much for your reply! I’ll look at staying at Portree instead. I had thought seeing the Armadale Castle would be easier if we stayed there. Would both Armadale and Dunvegan castles be interesting to see in the fall? Would you suggest one over the other?
Skyegirl (or others) may say this is a bad idea, but it might be possible to time ferry arrival with a bus to Broadford if you wanted to stay a night or two there before catching a bus on to Portree. It is easier than trying to time busses all the way to Portree upon arrival - and I think you have to change in Broadford anyway.
You CAN rent a car and arrange to have it available for you when the ferry arrives, for an extra fee. Driving from Armadale to Portree is not difficult.
You are going to struggle without a car. Much better to rent a car than rely on the sporadic bus service. Personally I think Dunvegan castle is the more interesting, as it's intact. Armadale castle is a ruin. The gardens at Dunvegan are also very nice. Again while there is a bus service from Portree to Dunvegan it's not frequent and you'd need to walk from the village to the castle (about a mile).
I'm not saying Texas Travel Moms idea is a bad one, just a very self limiting one. Almost all the Armadale buses are school day only. If anyone is arriving at Armadale by ferry chances are they have come from further afield than Mallaig, by train. There is one morning bus which connects in theory with a train from Fort William, and one in the afternoon that connects from Glasgow and Oban (by bus). It leaves you hostage to fortune of the trains and the ferries- which latter have their own well known vagaries.
The other connections at Broadford are all into the long distance City link coaches.
It all needs perseverance and a good helping of luck, but can be done, just.
I have decades of experience of doing all but impossible journeys by public transit in the UK and elsewhere.
But I would take a long hard look at this route before doing it, as the timings now stand and the recent performance of CalMac.
For an overseas tourist the story is different again.
The very best of luck if you still want to do it.
I think that there are easier ways to get to Skye than this.
If I wanted to visit the Clan Donald Centre/Armadale Castle I think I would stay at Mallaig overnight, day trip over by ferry, then backtrack to Portree via Fort William and the bridge.
Well, I totally agree with isn31c that my above idea isn’t great. LOL. But without a car all your options are very limited. I had one meet me in Armadale last summer after looking at everything carefully. It worked much better.
Thank you very much for all the advice. We’ll rethink our plan. We had really hoped to do this without renting a car as we’re worried about driving on the left side. Our other thought is to set up taxis ahead of time.
Please also note that the winter single vessel timetable on the Armadale route will be starting 3 days early on 20 October due to lack of vessel availability during the winter overhaul programme, so connections need to be carefully checked when timetables are released on 23 August.
Thanks for this suggestion. We're booking car services to get from Kyle to Mallaig.