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Public transportation newbee

Going to Scotland June 2 to June 12 2020
We are flying into Glasgow and staying there for 2 days, on the 3rd until the 6th we have reservations at Roskhill Croft House B & B in Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. We leave there to head to Fort William June 6 to 8, from there to Edinburgh until the 11th when we head back to Glasgow for our flight back to the states on the 12th.
My travel companion and I live in very rural North Dakota USA, no public transport or even a stop light. We have no idea how to use or even begin to figure out public transportation.
Any help will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance!!

Posted by
6788 posts

Good news and bad news...

For much of your trip, the public transportation options will be about as good as what you're used to at home, so you know all you need to. Well, there actually is some public transportation in rural Scotland, but it's not efficient for tourists on a short trip. Within Edinburg, it's fine. But getting out to the hinterlands...that's best done with a rental car. Are you considering doing that? If's going to limit your ability to get around (just like in North Dakota)...

Posted by
27434 posts

Dunvegan will be fine with a rental car (driven on the left side of the road, naturally). I don't think it would work to stay there if you were depending totally on public transportation.

I have a feeling there's a reason you mentioned public transportation...

Posted by
4351 posts

David, I laughed out loud and scared my cat.

Loves2go, here is the site for train travel. I picked a random day a month from now and it shows about a 5 hr trip by train from Glasgow to Mallaig. Then you could ferry to Armadale. Ferry schedule: From there it gets a bit iffy. There aren’t many busses to get you even as far as Broadford or Portree, at that point of the day.

Both the train and this ferry trip can be booked before you go. But there doesn’t seem to be public transportation that will get you to Dunvegan on that same day.

One option would be to rent a car once you get to Armadale. One other thought would be to find accommodations in Broadford or Portree that are more central, if a car is out of the question.

The best idea is to read through the Scotland section of this forum and to get a good guidebook.

Posted by
5837 posts

Looks like getting there will be an adventure in itself.
If you prefer not to drive choosing accommodation in one of the larger villages (Portree, Broadford or Dunvegan) would be advised. There are local buses that can be relied on, but they are not that frequent.

There is not a railway on Skye. There are two train stations on the mainland that are very close and connect to local bus routes.

Glasgow to Mallaig - then the Ferry to Skye.
Inverness to Kyle – then a Bus on to the Island.

National Busses
The Bus Company ‘City Link’ presently offer coaches from both Glasgow & Inverness to Skye. Full details of these routes including timetable can be found on their website. In the summer it can be worth booking online to ensure you get a seat.

Local Busses
The local bus routes on Skye (village to village) are operated by the company Stagecoach. Full timetables can be found on their website.

Skye Timetable (winter 2019-2020)

Mallaig to Skye
If you are planning to take the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale be aware there is limited public transport onwards from Armadale to the rest of Skye. There are some private taxi services which can be booked, but the bus service is very limited. If you need more flexibility then maybe consider using the Skye Bridge were more public transport options are available.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for all the help, I did change my reservation from Dunvegan after messaging with the owner of the B & B. She recommended that we stay in Portree so that's what we will do. I am going to save all web addresses for transportation, I am sure I will need them!!

Posted by
27434 posts

Look immediately for lodging in Portree. It's a very popular place to stay.

Posted by
1226 posts

You have received very good advice especially the posting with all the website links and from the B&B landlady in Dunvegan. However, be aware that once in Portree you will not be able to explore that much of the island using public transport. You should be able to explore the Trotternish peninsula by bus using the 'north circular' route, but outside of that you can basically forget it as far as buses are concerned. Skye is not somewhere I'd come without a car.
Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
27434 posts

Jacqui's right, of course. There are some bus tours on Skye, but there's the weather issue to contend with. The tours need to be booked ahead of time (demand exceeds supply), so you can't wait for a semi-useful weather forecast. With a car you'd have flexibility as to how you used each day. We had bad luck with the weather and ended up taking the Trotternish-loop public bus on a super-rainy day (so no walking) and then going to Dunvegan Castle on a nice day (on which the bus tour was booked up).

Posted by
279 posts

Don’t be afraid to drive, especially if you have a passenger who can keep you on the correct side of the road. Yes, the roads are narrower and more twisty-turns than in rural ND, but you really get used to the roundabouts and signage much quicker than you might think. The main drawback to driving yourself is that the driver doesn’t get to enjoy the scenery without stopping.