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Mull, Iona, Harris

Hey all

So I am planning a trip back to Scotland in 2021. We went in 2019 and saw so much of the Highlands and the cities that we wanted to focus more on the herbedies. I would love to do Iona again (we were only there a day) and the travel from Iona to harris and maybe a few things in between. I am wondering if the ferries are the best option?

To add a little craziness in we will be starting in Ireland for a about 4 days and then heading over to Scotland so we would have to start with mull and iona and then make our way to Harris. Anyone know of the best routes etc? We would prefer to do bus only and train and ferries. We drove last time and my husband missed a lot because he had to pay attention to the road! Thank you !

Posted by
21317 posts

You can explore options on Don't trust the fares, travel times or frequencies it displays. Keep digging down until you find the name of the ferry or bus company providing the service you're interested in; go to that website for accurate information.

I used to plan my 2019 trip. I noticed some train-schedule anomalies when I compared its results to, so I used the latter when I was contemplating a train.

Posted by
514 posts

That is a very ambitions itinerary if you are relying on public transport...It is doable but not easy.

You don’t say how you are getting from Ireland to Scotland.

For convenience, I am starting from Glasgow.

To reach Mull you need to catch the train to Oban and then catch the ferry to Mull. There is a bus that takes you from Craignure ferry terminal to Fionphort where you catch another ferry to Iona.
Calmac timteables here.

There is no direct ferry from Oban or Mull to Isle of Harris and to be honest this is a nightmare journey. The easiest way is to get the ferry back to Oban and then train back to Glasgow. The 916 bus goes from Glasgow to Uig on Skye which is the ferry terminal for Isle of Harris.

Leaving Mull, catch the ferry back to Oban. You then have to decide how to get to Isle of Harris. The easiest is to catch a train back to Glasgow and then catch 916 bus which takes you to Uig on Isle of Skye which is the ferry terminal for Harris. This will involve an overnight in Glasgow and very early start in the morning. It is 6.5 hours on the bus too.

The other alternatives involve catching a bus to Fort William and then train to Mallaig, ferry to Armadale, public transport across Skye to Uig for the ferry.

OR catch a train from Glasgow to Inverness, then train to Kyle of Lochalsh and then bus to Portree and onto Uig ...

Bus services on Skye aren’t brilliant and more geared to getting people to and from work.
Once you get to Harris the bus service is better.

Rather you than me. I would seriously rethink this plan....

Posted by
2949 posts

I agree that this plan sounds rather impractical, unless you have your own boat or can afford to hire your own private boat with captain & crew.

It's tempting to look at islands on a map and think that hopping from one to the next would be easy, but in fact the ferry routes are driven by demand. There aren't large numbers of people who want to island hop (think of how few people live on each island and this will make sense); residents mostly need a way to get to the mainland cities for things like advanced medical care and major shopping.

This site may be useful as you consider your options.