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West Coast Tours - My Experience

I signed up for the 3-island tour (Mull; Iona; Staffa) in July 2015. Although this tour was well-planned with an acceptable amount of fore-thought, I never made it to Staffa. We were dropped off at the terminal in Mull. No one knew when the boat would come. We stood on the dock in pouring, windy rain for half an hour. When the boat came, the cabin filled up. They wanted me to sit on a soaken wet bench in the driving rain for the boat ride. My pants and shoes were already half soaked through (I had a rain jacket on). I declined to ride in the open vessel. Over on Iona, the exact same crewman refused to take me over to Staffa, even though that was his next stop.

Posted by
5563 posts

That's too bad. It's really hard on the west coast to avoid rain. It took me several walking trips to finally cave in and buy rain pants so I know what sodden pants feel like. It sounds like you did get over to Iona. Are you saying that because you declined one leg of the tour they wouldn't let you back on for the return leg to Mull?

So, some interesting comments on TripAdvisor re West Coast's Three Island Tour. Among the glowing comments are a couple of quite negative reviews that say similar things. The main point seems to be that it's not really a tour, but rather they are arranging transportation from Oban to Fionnphort on Mull, to Staffa, to Iona, back to Mull and back to Oban. Their website doesn't seem to explain that very well. Staffa Tours appears to offer exactly the same. Similar comments on TA that it is transportation and not a tour with commentary. Although Staffa Tours may operate the boats. It makes me wonder if West Coast Tours and Staffa Tours are really the same thing, but I don't think that they are as WCT has an Oban address and Staffa Tours an Iona address.

Again, I'm sorry that you didn't get to Staffa. I hope that the rest of your trip was better.

Posted by
3 posts

I was able to return to Mull from Iona. But the group operating the Staffa transport was not accommodating, despite the fact I still held a ticket to Staffa. It was the Mull bus driver who suggested I try to go over from Iona. You hit the crux of it, there is no tour agent or anyone otherwise to help out with contingencies. They simply provide tickets for a logical grouping of events (bus and ferry rides).

Posted by
37 posts

We recently did the Mull - Iona tour with West Coast Tours and we DID have commentary on the bus ride in Mull. It was quite good, in fact. Something that was said during our time there led me to believe that Staffa Tours and West Coast Tours are synonymous, at least when it comes to the 3 Island Tour (maybe they team up?). Sorry to hear of your bad experience. We considered doing the 3 Island Tour, but decided it would make the day too long, and were glad we did not because it was pouring that day. I would still like to see Staffa sometime.