Any recommendations for tour guide companies or private drivers to transport four adults with luggage from Inverness to Oban on July 7th? Checked out busses and trains which take three to four times longer the the 2.5 hours it takes to drive but not interested in driving ourselves. Hoping someone had a good experience and can offer advice. Thank you!
I'm not sure where the 2.5 hours driving time comes from. Even the wildly optimistic Google suggests 3 hours. Personally (and I live here) I'd have allowed closer to 3.5 to 4 hours. The bus from Inverness to Fort William and then train to Oban would take about 4.5 hours, so the time differential is certainly not 4 times the driving time. I'm sorry not to be able to recommend any private drivers, but I'm certain the cost would be much higher than doing the trip by public transport. A regular sized taxi wouldn't be able to fit you and your luggage so you'd be looking at what we call a 'people carrier', which I think might be called a 'mini van' in the States.
Just to add to what Skyegirl already said, it would take about 3 1/2 hours to drive from Inverness to Oban, even more if you get stuck behind heavy traffic or large lorries on the A82. There are very few passing places between Inverness and Fort Augustus.
CityLink buses take 4 1/2 hours from Inverness to Oban, but there are only two per day, and you have to switch to a West Coast Motors bus in Fort William to continue your journey, so you'd definitely need to make reservations. You can take the train from Inverness to Oban, but there is no direct route, so you'd have to go all the way back to Glasgow to change trains. You could take a bus from Inverness to Fort William, and train from Fort William to Oban, but you'd have to switch trains in Crainlarich, adding an extra four hours to your travel time.
Unless you can find someone with a people carrier to drive you, your best bet would be CityLink, but please be sure to reserve your seats. You could check out this website: www.jajcd.com/inverness_private_tours.html There are probably several others.
p.s.: Your other options would be to hire a stretch limo out of Inverness, or contact some of the private tour companies to see if they could do a one way trip for you. As it would be a full day for the driver in either case (four hours down; four hours back), as Skyegirl said, the cost won't be pretty! For instance, Rabbie's operates out of Inverness. They do offer a seven hour tour of Loch Ness for 32 pounds per person, so they may be willing to modify a tour for just the four of you. Or they could recommend someone who could help you.
p.p.s.: PROBLEM! You said that you're travelling on 7 July, which is a Sunday. West Coast Motors do not operate the Fort William to Oban portion of the journey on Sundays, so you'd need to find alternate transportation from Fort William to Oban. But you may have already known that. Your choices for finding private transportation for your onward journey would be more limited in Fort William, but it may still be doable. Renting a car out of Inverness would not be an option, as there are no car rental companies that have a location in both Inverness and Oban. The good news is that there are seven buses per day from Inverness to Fort William on Sunday, even though none go through to Oban.
Once again, good luck!
As always you are correct! no train FW to Oban. I got interrupted while writing my post and didn't proof read before posting. It's possible to do bus all the way, but not on Sundays as you say. Train requires a diversion via Glasgow as you say. Unless the schedule is set in stone then I'd try to do the journey by bus either the day before or the day afterwards.
Thank you for all of the suggestions. I actually noticed on Trip Advisor that someone had used Inverness Tours for this route. I checked into it and was able to book a personal guide with transportation in a large comfortable van—great for my 6’4” dad and our luggage since we are four adults. We will visit Fort Augustus, Spean Bridge Woolen Mill, Inverlochy Castle, Falls of Lora, with stops for a lovely lunch and photos on the way. The price was about 790 pounds which I think is well worth it for the comfort, guide, tour and transportation all in one. I wound up using the same company and guide for a smaller excursion around the Nethy Bridge area where are ancestors are from and them on to Inverness. It’s all coming together!