I intend to fly into Barra via Glasgow but then I need to leave on the ferry from Lochboisdale to Mallaig, but obviously I will not have a vehicle, is it possible to make this trip with no car. I will then take the Jacobite steam train from Mallaig to Ft. William to climb Ben Nevis, has anyone done this trip?
You'll need to get your head round the bus services
Thank you for that link, it definitely looks like I can do it, ill just have to figure out where I'm staying exactly.
You'd need to take the ferry from Barra to Eriskay, then catch a bus or hitch a ride to Lochboisdale. There are five services daily from Barra to Eriskay, but only one ferry daily from Lochboisdale to Mallaig. And it leaves at an ungodly early morning hour. So you'll have to plan on staying overnight in Lochboisdale in order to catch the ferry. Back in the old days of ferry travel, you could actually sleep overnight on the larger long-haul ferries. That way, you could be assured of never missing your ferry.
Siar buses operate the Barra to Lochboisdale route. There are several buses daily (none on Sunday). Some buses operate on schooldays only. The bus goes on the ferry. You'll need to take a taxi from Traigh Mhor (landing site) to Ardmhor for the ferry. If you don't plan to spend an overnight on Barra, you could time your day to catch the 5:30 p.m. bus from the Ardmhor ferry slip, which will take you to Eriskay, and thence to Lochboisdale.
I'd advise making accommodation arrangements in Lochboisdale, unless you're camping. Lochboisdale is a very small place! Plus you're going to need accommodation which is within a short walk of the ferry.
It sounds like an exciting journey!
p.s.: The buses are small, so with some runs, you need to phone ahead for a reservation. Check the Siar schedule for the telephone numbers. You may have to reserve before you leave Glasgow, unless you're staying overnight on Barra.
Thanks for that info, super helpful. We plan on staying the first night in Barra then heading over to Lochboisdale for the next so we can catch the ferry. I was unaware of the small busses so I look into reserving a spot. Does anyone know how far it is to the train station from the ferry landing Mallaig?
Hi again, ocean_barrel,
It's about 300 yards from the ferry terminal to the Mallaig train station. If you have time, there's a great little bookshop in the seamen's mission, which is right across the street from the train station.
Be sure to make a reservation for the Jacobite, if you haven't already done so. It fills up fast, especially the First Class seats. If you don't have time to have a sit-down meal before hopping on the Jacobite, there is a fish & chip shop right in the train station. However, the current ferry/train schedule should allow you at least three hours on the ground in Mallaig.
The inter-island buses are used for transporting schoolchildren, which is probably why you need to make reservations for certain buses. Every bus leaves Castlebay in time to coordinate with each of the five per day ferries. There is also a scheduled bus which meets each Glasgow to Traigh Mhor flight, so you can disregard my previous post about having to take a taxi (unless you want to, of course!).
p.s.: The Lochboisdale Hotel might be a good option for your night there. It's close to the ferry, and they probably have arrangements for early breakfast for ferry passengers.