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help with booking car ferries?

I've got our wanna-do trip sketched out but I find booking ferries a challenge. Is there such a thing as a service that does this? Freight ferries won't do cars only vans and trucks. To me looks like it would be fro Big to Tarbert, Stornoway to Ullapool on Calmac, Scrabster to Stromness maybe on Northlink, or ;... but surely there is someone who takes an itinerary and does this. Any one had experience with such?

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Sylvia,

Booking CalMac ferries is extremely easy. As you know already where you're going (Uig to Tarbert; Stornoway to Ullapool), then all you have to do is go to the CalMac website (www.calmac.co.uk/tickets) look for your routes, pick the ferry times, pay your total charge, and Bob's your uncle! You can also call CalMac directly, and speak with one of their delightful and very professional ticket agents. The number from the U.S. is 011 44 1475 650397.

When you get to the page where they ask for your car registration number (license plate), just click on "Registration Unknown," as you'll be travelling in a hired car, and you won't know the plate number until you have the car.

You can print the tickets out at home, and bring them with you (don't lose them!), or you can have CalMac print them out for you at your first point of embarkation.

Uig to Tarbert only operates once a day on some days; twice a day on other days. They use the standard marine 24 hour clock in their scheduling, so 1410 means 2:10 p.m., etc. Make sure to arrive at the ferry slip at least 30 minutes before sailing. If not, your space may be given up to someone on standby.

I haven't taken Northlink from Scrabster, but I have to assume that their reservation procedures are the same as CalMac.

Please make the reservations yourselves. There's no need to pay to have someone do it for you!

Travelling on the ferries is one of the best things about visiting Scotland (other than Scottish tablet ice cream). You're going to love it!

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
625 posts

Hi, Sylvia,
I’ve booked on the Calmac website for 3 different trips in the Hebrides, and it was as easy as Mike suggests. There aren’t that many sailings between Uig and Tarbert, so the choice will be fairly easy. Once you have your Skye lodging confirmed, it’s a good idea to book your onward ferry to Tarbert. Car places are limited. (Same advice for the Stornoway-Ullapool segment).

Have a wonderful trip in the Outer Hebrides and Scotland!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank all of you who have sent encouragement that I can actually do this myself. I'll tackle it this weekend and report back. What good people you are to help. More later!

Posted by
518 posts

I’ve booked with Calmac as well as Northlink. It is very easy — just as explained above. If you run into any issue at all, just call them. They are very helpful. I suggest letting them hold the tickets for you so you don’t have to keep up with them. Just be sure to use the official site for each company as listed in a previous post. Scotland is wonderful, by the way.
Best regards,
Bioboy