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Inner Hebrides advice with rental car

My husband and I have rented a car for our Scotland trip and plan to visit some Inner Hebrides isles. We are traveling in the beginning of April and will drive from Eidenburgh to a logical destination to make the most of this part of our trip. I’ve read RS Oban and three island excursion but wonder about other approaches with the use of our car, although we are open to all ideas. Will spend two nights and have two full days available for this part of our trip. We’ve read recommendations for a night on Isle of Mull and visits to Staffa (weather permitting) and no vehicles allowed on Iona. Our interests lie with seeing the landscapes, sampling the food, visiting SOME “shouldn’t be missed sights,” not rushing or over planning and not over spending on lodging.
Suggestions for visiting these isles with the consideration of having a car? We are not opposed to tours for the informational component, but don’t want to come away wishing we had more time in one location and less time at others.

Feel free to provide any suggestions. We also want to make reservations for any tours and lodging as soon as possible. (Isle of Skye will not be on our itinerary if that is helpful to know.)

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Hi, slizwilkes,

You mention visiting "some" Inner Hebrides islands. Where else do you plan to visit other than Mull? Staffa and Iona can best be reached from Fionnphort, which is at the very end of the Ross of Mull. Iona is a short ferry ride from Fionnphort, and if you take the CalMac ferry, you can spend as much time as you like on Iona, without being tied to the schedule of a tour operator. As you noted, you would be on foot on Iona, as you have to leave your car in Fionnphort.

Staffa can also be reached by private tour boat from the pier at Fionnphort. (Staffa Tours) The total time aboard the boat and on Staffa is three hours, so basically it's a three hour tour. (Insert S.S. Minnow joke here.) There are also tours operated by Turus Mara, leaving from the Ulva dock. If you have time to spare before or after the Turus Mara tour, Ulva is a grand little island to visit. Turus Mara also sail to the Treshnish Islands.

Both companies allow you to spend at least an hour on Staffa. Unfortunately, due to weather erosion, you can't enter Fingal's Cave at the present.

If you're overnighting on Mull, your best bet for accommodation would be Tobermory, Fionnphort, Salen, or Bunessan. Your best area for choices of food would be Tobermory. But if you're travelling in early April, you need to make accommodation arrangements very soon.

If you're looking for spectacular scenery, take the B8073 out of Tobermory, through Dervaig and Calgary. You'll pass the Ulva ferry dock on the way, and if you're lucky, you may see an eagle at the eagle watch between Oskamull and Gruline, below Beinn nan Carn. The twitchers will gladly allow you to have a look through their telescopes.

Best wishes for your holiday plans. I hope that you have good weather!

Mike (Auchterless)