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West Highland Train in end of May

We are considering traveling the West Highland Train line in the end of May to link with a Northern England trip. Glasgow, Oban, Isle of Mull, Mallaig and return. Several questions: 1) will we need to book train reservations well in advance? 2) how many days would be appropriate for the journey. Any other suggestions greatly appreciated!

Posted by
5684 posts

This is a turn up and go service assuming you are not using the steam trains, on which relatively few people reserve seats.
Most people just turn up and go. It is mass transit
Day 1 Northern England to Oban;
Day 2 Iona
Day 3 Tobermory and Calgary (yes there is a Tobermory to Calgary bus- infrequent, and needs planning but exists), or Tobermory and Staffa etc cruise.
Extra day needed if you want to do both
Day 4 Isle of Ulva- the bus meets the main island bus service at Calgary and Salem
Day 5 Oban to Mallaig and afternoon Knoydart Cruise
Day 6 Small Isles non landing cruise
Day 7 Mallaig to Glasgow.

If you have more time extra days can be added in Oban for the Slate Isles, Kerrera and Lismore (each one day), and extra days in Malllaig for Skye, landing cruises to each of the 4 small.isles, and a day for the beaches of Morar and Arisaig.

Posted by
6274 posts

kzeiss, your trip sounds very nice, but keep in mind that you will need to book your accommodations as soon as possible; especially on the islands. There are new rules in Scotland regarding licensing and fees and that has really affected availability, so I highly recommend booking as soon as possible. You can check this forum for ideas, or visit or Google to get a sense of what is available.

Posted by
29 posts

thanks for your input.... I should have included that we have 5 days from Glasgow ...