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Train to Mallaig, ferry to Lochboisdale

I thought I had this all figured out, but am nervous about connection time. We planned to arrive in Mallaig on the train at 1743 and catch the ferry to Lochboisdale at 1800. Though Calmac lists the train time adjacent to the ferry departure time, they state foot traffic check-in closes 30 minutes prior with no guarantee of boarding past that time. So, we’d be safer taking the earlier train to Mallaig, arriving 1338. I see there is no left luggage spot at the Mallaig train station. Does anyone know if there is another place we could leave our luggage for a few hours. We would enjoy tootling around a nice little fishing village for a few hours or taking a hike, but not with our bags!

Posted by
219 posts

Suggest you contact CalMac and ask them why they show the train as a connection for the ferry when its arrival at Mallaig is less than the minimum check in time

Posted by
24 posts

Yes, great minds think alike ; )
Did that and they gave me a very polite, not helpful, standard reply that “unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will be able to board this ferry if you miss check-in.”
In the past one could purchase the tickets together - train and ferry.
We could chance it, but, if we miss or can’t board the ferry there we’d be for the night.

Posted by
21086 posts

I hope you get encouraging news from CalMac. If you decide you need to take the earlier train, I suggest asking at nearby shops, cafes and hotels to see whether one of those has a place you can leave your luggage while you walk around. I've done that a few times, though not in Mallaig. Back in November 2013 someone posted on TripAdvisor that a "clothing/accessories shop just behind the information office" was willing to do this. No additional details were provided. If there's still a tourist information office nearby, you could ask its advice as well.

My fallback option would be to take turns with my travel mate so each of us had a bit of time, luggage-free.

Posted by
1345 posts

Check in times can be different for vehicle and foot passengers on the ferries, and CalMac will give the longest one. So do check with them. Furthermore that although both CalMac and ScotRail are publicly owned, they are separate companies. Finally a less than twenty minute connection would be worrying for me as the train could easily be delayed at any point between Glasgow and Malaig.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks all! Agreed that connection time leaves no room for delays, so we had already decided to take the earlier train. We will keep our fingers crossed we can find a spot to store our bags while waiting for the ferry.

Posted by
1 posts

desimonela - when are you travelling? We have exactly the same dilemma when we travel on 19th May - we would be grateful to hear what you found, or did as a result. If you're travelling later than us, in turn we will advise! There is a 90 minute circular walk with great views that we want to do - not with luggage!!

Posted by
24 posts

We passed through Mallaig yesterday. We probably would have been fine on the later train with the short connection, but if any train delays we would have been stuck. It may have taken us 5-10 minutes to walk from train to ferry gangplank, so all in all we would have likely made it but would have been anxious about it! And the ferry did leave a few minutes early.
There was a yellow advisory for the ferry due to high winds in the AM, but the weather settled down and the passage was fine. The ferry was not busy- maybe half capacity and the 2 of us plus a bicyclist were the only walk-ons.
Once in Mallaig we asked about leaving luggage and we were told there was no location for that. Both the train and ferry waiting rooms were small and the ferry’s had signs warning they would remove any unattended luggage. It was blustery and rainy so we did not go on any long walks. We took turns walking around the town, but that didn’t take long- especially with the weather. There may have been a shop or cafe that would have agreed to allow us to leave things, but none that routinely do that. Many closed early on Saturday, so were closing right after we arrived.
I’d think someone could make a business out of it - especially in the busy months!