On our last day in Scotland, we're coming off the Isle of Skye and heading back to Glasgow. As fans of Oban whiskey, we're trying to decide whether a side trip to Oban is worth the extra effort. We are relying on public transportation, so this side trip will require a train from Mallaig to Fort William, a bus to Oban, a train to Glasgow, and a taxi to our hotel, all for about 3 hours in Oban. The alternative is the 5 1/2 hour train straight from Mallaig to Glasgow. Thanks for any and all insights.
I didn't find Oban all that exciting; more of a hub to get somewhere else. My vote is more time in Glasgow which I think is underrated.
If your only reason for visiting Oban is to go to the distillery, I'd say go for it! The only caveat I would offer is this - if the distillery only has timed tours, and that is why you are going, you should call ahead to the distillery to find out if they can accommodate your schedule. You should do this before making travel plans. If you are just going for a brief visit and to pick up a bottle or two on site, then by all means do it!
The distillery is about the equivalent of four US city blocks from the bus station, and about five blocks from the train station.
Just having a cursory look at the transportation schedules, it looks as though there is a 10:10 train out of Mallaig, which arrives in Fort William at 11:34. The West Coast Motors bus departs Fort William at 12:30, arriving Oban at 2:03. The train to Glasgow departs Oban at 6:11 p.m., arriving Glasgow Queen Street at 9:25. This is assuming that you are travelling mid-week, and not at the weekend.
Acoording to that schedule, you'd have four hours on the ground in Oban. Perhaps Stuart (isn31c) can confirm this information for us.
Your other option, as you mentioned, would be to head straight through to Glasgow, and purchase a discounted bottle (or two) of Oban whisky at Tesco. :)
Have a wonderful time, and safe travels!
Yes those timings are right.
There is a bus stop almost right outside the Distillery- ask the driver to set you down outside the Distillery (the stop is called the Dolce Vita- it's an Italian restaurant)- saves you the walk back from the Bus Terminus.
What concerns me is that you say you are coming off Skye that morning. To be at Armadale early enough for the connecting ferry you will have needed a taxi, as there is no connecting bus from anywhere that early.
You are then depending on no problems on the road, a taxi turning up on time, and the ferry being on time (no technical, weather or tidal issues). My thought would be to either stay the last night in Armadale or come off island the previous afternoon and stay in Mallaig overnight.
The better alternative to me would be to catch the Glasgow bound coach over the Skye Bridge from Portree which connects with the bus to Oban.
If you look at the Oban Distillery website you do need to pre book a tour, on this third party website- https://www.malts.com/en-gb/distilleries/oban/tours
Thank you all for your input, and for confirming our research on the connections. I failed to mention that we'll have a car for our three days on Skye, so making the ferry won't be an issue.