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Isle of Mull or Isle of Skye or Both?

We were planning on being in Scotland at the end of May and had written the Isle of Skye off the list of possible places, due to no vacancies. However, we have had a major change in our travel plans and now going to be there in mid September.

When we had planned the trip for May, we were slated to go through Glencoe to Oban, then out to Isle of Mull for a few days to also see Iona and Staffa then proceeding to Inverness for a night and down to Pitlochry for another night before our final night in Edinburgh.

We have 8 nights/9 days total and we are booked in Edinburgh for our first night and for our last night.. However, now we are wondering if she should spend only one night in Oban, then proceed to Isle of Mull for 2 nights, then out to Isle of Skye for 2 -3 nights and possibly Inverness before the drive back to Edinburgh. Thoughts?

Should we bi-pass Isle of Mull completely and go for the Isle of Skye for a September trip OR are both doable?

We love castles, great little towns, quaint pubs, scenic landscapes. Okay with nature walks and light hikes but not interested in hiking any mountains.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, dacil31,

Both are very doable. There's a shortcut from Mull to Skye - take the ferry from Tobermory to Kilchoan (no reservation required), then drive along the Ardnamurchan Peninsula to Salen (not to be confused with the Salen on Mull). From there, turn north through Moidart, and the road deadends at the A830, not too far from Mallaig, where you can catch the ferry for Skye.

CalMac has hopscotch fares, so you could get a combination ticket from Oban to Craignure, Tobermory to Kilchoan, and Mallaig to Armadale.

Can you please pack me in your suitcase?

Best wishes,

Mike (auchterless)

Posted by
2122 posts

I agree you can do both as long as you are fine with just seeing the highlights. There is no need to spend more than one night in Oban; the only reason to go there is to get out to the isles.

I think Skye is more dramatic than Mull, but when you add in Iona and Staffa, it’s a close call. I would probably choose Skye, but if you don’t have two full days at the very least, you’d be better off skipping it this trip.

Posted by
8249 posts

Just add flex time in for the weather. Went to Mull and Iona yesterday with a storm blowing in. Only had a short time on Iona as ferry was expected to shut down after the 3PM back to Mull. This AM I noted on the ferry schedule the 830 from Oban to Mull was cancelled and all ferries to/from Iona were cancelled with a re-eval due at 0900. I didn’t look to see when they were able to go.

Im not sure what their criteria is but there were gale force winds this AM (39-45, I think).

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer here but our Rick Steves guide was worried about the weather for a day ahead and on the day of and was working out some Plan B possibilities. I have another friend who’s been on Mull for 3 days trying to get over to Staffa to see the Puffins and has gotten washed out.

My point is not to schedule yourselves too tightly. Fingers crossed you have lovely weather!

Here’s a link to the ferry service status page.

Beautiful area!

Posted by
2746 posts

I love the info Mike (Auchterless) gave about the hopscotch ferries. But Pam is right about weather risks, and more so in September. Also the days are shorter, giving you fewer hours of daylight to enjoy the scenery. The Isle of Skye is accessible by bridge, of course, so even if ferries aren't running you can get there and back.

While the isles are lovely, don't sell yourself short on the Scottish mainland. The scenery there is gorgeous too. You only have 8 nights, so you will not be seeing everything. Don't drive too many hours each day or you will come home with memories of the interior of your car instead of Scotland.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi again, dacil31,

If you do decide to visit both Mull and Skye, and take the CalMac ferry from Tobermory to Kilchoan, you'll be heading toward Salen on the B8007. On the way, you'll pass spectacular Glenborrodale Castle, which unfortunately is not open to the public. If there are any really wealthy people on this forum, it's for sale:

Once you get to Salen, take the A861 north to Lochailort, which will put you about 20 miles east of Mallaig.

Safe travels!

Mike (Auchterless)