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Isle of Mull ferry question

There are two ways to access the Isle of Mull via ferry. The more obvious one is the Oban-Craignure ferry. This takes about 45 minutes, and (if I have figured correctly) costs about $180 round-trip, at current exchange rates, for a car and two persons. The less obvious one is to take the 5-minute Corran-Argour ferry (on the A82 about 9 miles south of Fort William), then drive what seems to be about 35 miles to Lochaline, taking the 17-minute ferry trip from there to Fishnish on the Isle of Mull. I think this route would cost about $95 round-trip, plus gas for the extra 70 or so miles of driving.

So, the alternate route would save maybe $70 or so. For me these savings are not decisive (as I thought they might be when I got into this), but I am still intrigued by the alternate route as an adventure, and as a way to avoid Oban, which sounds both crowded and unlovely. Has anyone done the 2-ferry route? I am especially interested in the scenery, and the quality of the road, from Corran-Argour to Lochaline. If the road is decent, and the scenery anything like the jaw-on-floor beauty I'm seeing in pictures of the highlands/islands, then I am leaning strongly toward the alternate route.

Thank you.

Posted by
9110 posts

I've done both, but not on the same trip.

Your Route 2 (through Fishnish) is the better drive, but the roads are twisty and skinny (mostly one-lane with pull-offs to let opposing traffic pass) and it will take a lot longer. On the other hand, traffic ranges from minimal to none. The country is desolate and stunning. That'd be my choice.

Oban's not horrible, but if you're coming from the south you'll hit the ferry place before you get very far into the city. I think you'd still be able to see McCaig's Tower, maybe. Oban has a pretty good little waterfront if that appeals.

For me, a forty-five minute ferry is exactly the wrong amount of time. You can walk around a bit and maybe get a coffee, but then you're just twiddling your thumbs. A longer ride gives you time to get a meal (which often isn't that good, but it does the job). Short rides get it done and over with.

You'll want to have a full load of gas prior to the ferry no matter which way you go.

With enough time, if you really wanted to knock your socks off, hang a west at Fort William then turn south after Loch Eilt and work your way to Fishnish. A good portion of those roads are two-lane.

Posted by
667 posts

Thanks Ed, that seals the deal. We'll be coming from Edinburgh via Stirling/Callandar/Crianlarich, so we will not see Oban at all.

Unfortunately there is not time to follow your Fort William suggestion, which sounds great. I have a feeling that we will be coming back, though, so hopefully next time.