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Train and bus help!


I started looking at booking our transportation for our 10 day trip around Scotland.
Day 1: travel day
Day 2: Glasgow
Day 3: Glasgow
Day 4: train to Inverness ( hoping to stop at stirling and Perth before getting to Inverness)
Day 5: Inverness- maybe on a bus and go to Loch Ness
Day 6: Train to kyle of Lochalsh- bus to Portree
Day 7: Portree
Day 8 Train to Edinburgh
Day 9 Edinburgh
Day 10 Edinburgh
Day 11 early flight out

My question here is should I purchase the spirit of Scotland train pass or am I stopping at too many locations for it to be useful, is there a better solution? Next question is what’s the best way to get from Portree to Edinburgh!

Posted by
6710 posts

On the Spirit of Scotland you can stop as many times as you like but it is isn't going to pay for itself.
Just buy an Off Peak single GLA to INV. You can stop on that as many times as you like but will have to manage your luggage at each stop.
Stops at Perth and Stirling will fill the day.
The train goes nowhere near Loch Ness. That is the bus.
Portree to Edinburgh is City!ink bus all the way (change at Glasgow) or to Fort William or Glasgow, then train forward from FW or GLA.
The best value bus ticket for Ky!e to Portree, then Portree to anywhere for the train would be a 3 days in 5 Citylink Explorer Pass for £60.
The fastest option is bus 0945433 to Glasgow then train.
The other option which would make Spirit of Scotland worthwhile is to use the morning bus Portree to Armadale (included in the Spirit Pass), ferry to Mallaig, afternoon train Mallaig to Glasgow change for Edinburgh, arrive around 2230.

Posted by
7 posts

So i forgot to book and now the spirit of Scotland tickets got more expensive. I was looking and was trying to decide if the grand Scotland rail pass was a good option with my journey. I realize this means that i would have to do the long travel day from Portree-(bus)-Armadale-(ferry)-Mallaig-(Trains)-Edinburgh with a late arrival. However I was looking on stagecoach and noticed that they have a super early bus (Leaves at 05:05 and arrives at 06:20) that would help me make the first ferry in Armadale at 08:00 making it slightly more possible that we make the morning train from Mallaig at 10:00. Is this a possible way of travel or is it too much? We realize that day 8 will be a long travel day but we are prepared and I’m trying to find the most interesting way so we see more landscape.

Posted by
6710 posts

That bus is an app error. The first bus from Portree is 4 hours later than that, at 0905 which connects with a Shiels bus to Fort William at Mallaig, but not with a train.
Then at FW with a bus to Glasgow for Edinburgh.

Posted by
6710 posts

Right, what is happening is that the app is auto correcting for the time difference.
We have encountered this before.

So the bus showing to you as at 0505 is actually at 1105 local time.

That is the bus which connects with the afternoon train to Glasgow, finally arriving at Edinburgh at around 11pm.

Posted by
7 posts

That’s so weird, I have my phone set to 24 hour time even so I don’t know why it did that. I will keep looking at my options. But you still think that buying the two in one pass is the best idea. With the grand Scotland tour we are staying at all the locations listed we are just going to less ideal way i believe

Posted by
6710 posts

To make the Stagecoach App work properly you would either have to use a VPN or (far easier) set your computer or device clock to UK time.

Re- the Grand Tour- yes that works, and is worth it. On Skye the buses included are Kyle to Armadale (a route that barely exists nowadays)- so you would have to pay for the Citylink bus from the Kyle and for the bus from Portree to Armadale.

There is also a weekday Stagecoach bus #55 from the Kyle at 1150 (connecting with the morning train) to Broadford arrive 1215 with a connection on bus #52 to Portree at 1302, arrive Portree at 1350- a service which has just started in the last 2 weeks.

Citylink #916 is at 1202, arriving at Portree at 1305.

Citylink costs £9.70, Stagecoach £9.20 but the Stagecoach one is a day pass so you could go on the North End/Trotternish circular that day if you wanted, #57A/C for free.

So that is forcing you onto the 1105 bus from Portree and the afternoon train.

Also you need to pay for (and book) your ferry passage on the CalMac website- even as a foot passenger.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you! I decided to purchase the Scotland grand tour tickets and purchased Citylink tickets to take the Portree bus to Fort William before hoping on the train with grand tour tickets pass to finish out the journey!