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Late March Staffa Tour AND Isle of Skye

We are going to Scotland for two weeks in late March. I am trying to decide if we should do a one full day in Staffa out of Oban and then do two days in Isle of Skye. Or, should we just go to Isle of Skye for four days?

Thoughts? I'm leaning towards Isle of Skye for four days. My mom is 72 and I think it might be too much. But, at the same time are we missing too much by not going to Staffa to see the islands?

Posted by
1386 posts

Hi, c.miller9,

Personally, I'd spend the four days on Skye. But I think that a lot is going to depend on mum. If you take the tour out of Oban, you're going to be on the boat for about 10 hours. I don't know if the boats provide landing on Staffa in March. Perhaps another reader can provide that information. It's quite possible that the boat trips to Staffa don't start until April. Best to check the websites for the sailing season.

I'm assuming that you'll have a car. If so, you could take the CalMac ferry to Mull, drive out to Fionnphort, and take the three hour Staffa tour from there. You'd also be able to visit Iona, if you so decide. If the tour boats don't sail in late March, you could always just visit Iona. It's not as spectacular as Staffa, but it's definitely more spiritual!

A lot is going to depend on weather. It can be pretty wet and wild in late March, with even a bit of snow thrown into the mix. On the other hand, you could have sunny weather, with highs in the upper 50s (Fahrenheit). Again, check out the tour boat schedules. CalMac will be running the ferries, albeit on a more limited schedule through March 26th., so you should have no trouble getting to and from Skye and Mull.

Best wishes for your holiday. Be sure to bring some layered clothing.


Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
101 posts

Hi c.miller9,
Here's my perspective: we just returned from Scotland, where we went to Oban, from which we did a 10 hour tour that encompassed Staffa, Iona, and Mull. Following that we spent two days on Skye.
We did enjoy the Isle tour but my husband is 70, and though in decent health, struggled to get up the very steep stairs from the landing at Staffa and was not able to negotiate the route to the cave (nor was I, and I'm considerably younger). Additionally, while it was interesting, it was extremely windy and wet, and the trip from Mull to Staffa was very rough and wet (the boat only has enough shelter for 20ish people, less than half of what it can carry). Iona was interesting from an historical perspective, but I didn't appreciate anything mystical or spiritual or anything like that, nor did the other two in my group. YMMV.
Skye was definitely the star for us, and we wished we could spend a lot more time there - even a week wouldn't be enough time. It is stunningly beautiful, has a number of historic sites to visit, great places to hike, the fairy pools, and both Portree and Tobermory to explore.
If I'm lucky enough to go back, I will skip Staffa unless the puffins are nesting, skip Iona entirely, and spend a minimum of 4 days just on Skye.

Posted by
27416 posts

Tobermory is quite picturesque but is on Mull rather than Skye.

After I saw an online photo of the rocks one must clamber across on Staffa to reach the mouth of Fingal's Cave, I knew that part of the visit wasn't going to work for me; my balance is just not good enough to traverse uneven ground like that. I assume I'd have been OK on the steps up to the top of the hill to see the puffins, but I decided to stick to the two-island tour covering Mull and Iona. I made an independent trip over to Mull on another day to go to Tobermory.

I'm almost 68, and the balance thing is my only mobility challenge.

Posted by
101 posts

Of course you're right about Tobermory, acraven. Thanks for catching my error!

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you so much everyone. This has been the most helpful discussion for me. I am going to skip the island tour and do a night in Glencoe and three days at Skye. We are driving from Stirling and I wanted to break the drive up.