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Driving time across Skye

I have a trip planned to Scotland at the end of the month, and am planning to spend some time on Skye and Harris and Lewis. At the end of this part of the trip, I'm looking at taking a ferry from Tarbert on Harris to Uig on Skye, set to arrive in Uig at 1:20 p.m. I'm then hoping to drive to Armadale to catch a ferry to Mallaig, ideally on the same day. I will have a rental car, and I see that it's less than 60 miles, but I have seen a lot of postings about how crowded/busy Skye has become recently. What is a realistic driving time for this trip on an afternoon at the end of July? How much of a safety net do I need if I want to pre-book a ferry?
Thanks everyone!

Posted by
527 posts

Assuming you don't want to sight see or stop at all on your way across Skye, I would allow 2 hours for the drive, which should be plenty of time unless there is a road closure due to an accident. However, be aware that you need to pre book the ferries if you are bringing a car onboard. Book at then click on buy tickets. The website can be confusing if it's your first encounter with it. Be sure to book your journeys with the correct starting point and destination! I've known many people to turn up at Armdale hoping to sail to Mallaig to find they'd booked their tickets in the opposite direction!

Posted by
5022 posts

Some car hire companies don’t allow their vehicles onboard ferries, otherwise the insurance is invalidated, so check your terms.

Posted by
527 posts

Most cars rented in Scotland are fine with the ferries as it's pretty much taken as read that folks will likely be using calmac at some point in their holidays. So if you've rented with one of the big boys you probably be fine.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the help! Glad to hear 2 hours is a reasonable expectation for driving, that makes things easier. And I will definitely double check that my rental car is ok on ferries, that hadn’t even occurred to me that could be a problem.

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, Jenn,

I've hired cars from Avis, Hertz, Budget, Godfrey Davis (EuropCar), and MacKay Brothers (dating myself there!), and none of them have ever put a restriction on ferry transport. As Jacqui said, it's a given that you'll be taking Calmac (or Northlink) somewhere during your holiday, unless you just plan to drive up and down the East Coast.

It's easy to reserve your ferry transport on line, but it's more fun to speak with one of the Calmac reservation agents over the telephone.


Mike (Auchterless)