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Staffa and Treshnish Isles

Has anyone taken the tour through Turus Mara instead of WestCoast Tours?

These leave from Oban also and seem to be a few hours shorter than the Westcoast Tours / Staffa Tours combo which I find appealing. The tour goes to Staffa/Tresnish and seems to skip Mull and Iona.

I would be interested in hearing people’s experiences and advice with these tour companies. Pros / Cons?

EDIT - we do have a car also. Is there an advantage or disadvantage to driving over to Mull and taking the tour from there as opposed to walking on and taking the bus?

Posted by
1901 posts

I haven't done Turus Mara, but they don't skip Mull. It is impossible to get to Staffa and Treshnish other than by leaving from Mull.

It is shorter than West Coast Tours because the tour leaves from the port of Ulva Ferry, half way up the west coast of the Isle of Mull. That is no bad thing because that part of the island is little visited, and has it's own charms. It is also a shorter day because you are closer to the islands than from Fionnphort or Iona.
Good and bad, good as less time on the boat, bad as you miss some of the coastal scenery on the way up.

Personally I think it would be a huge shame to skip Iona, but if Iona doesn't interest you, then so be it.

Note that with Turus Mara you have to add on the cost of your CalMac foot passenger tickets to Mull, whereas West Coast Tours include those.

If you drove over add on the cost of the car on the ferry, and the gas used in driving on the island. The benefit is that if you took the early boat over you could take the long route to Ulva through Tobermory and Calgary, then drive back direct to Craignure afterwards (BUT be careful with your times, watch the clock, don't dawdle too much). So you have seen more of the island. Don't take the 0955 boat over with your car as, frankly Turus Mara are more skilled at driving on the Island roads than you. They will beat you to the boat!

So several pros and cons to consider.

Posted by
248 posts

I'm not a big fan of tour bus travel, but we thoroughly enjoyed our three-islands tour out of Oban with West Coast. The driver was very engaging. The ride in the narrow roads was relaxing because I only had to look out the window at the scenery. And each island stop offered completely different things... Also the weather was extraordinarily beautiful - so much so that all the bus drivers joined us on the boat ride to see the puffins... (calm waters and visibility to the end of the Earth!)

Posted by
363 posts

We did the Westcoast version last June, and although I was anticipating a very long day, the time flew by. Puffins seem to do that for us. Iona has a nice pub which capped off the afternoon while waiting for the ferry back to Mull. Maybe we'll try the Turus Mara trip next year when we re-visit Mull and spend a few nights.