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Which route to Skye from Glencoe using public transportation

I will be staying 2 nights in Glencoe and then on to Skye for 4 nights before heading to Inverness and back to Edinburgh. I am trying to figure out how to get to Skye using public transportation and not miss anything. I want to take the train from Fort Williams to Mallaig then on to Portee. I understand it is very scenic. Would it be better to go directly to Inverness and then on to Portee? I feel like there might be more options going direct to Inverness and then on to Portee. Could I back track and just take the train both ways to Mallaig? I will be traveling solo without a car.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Kathleen

Posted by
33123 posts

If you are sleeping in Glencoe, don't give any hospitality to any Campbells.

Posted by
3122 posts

Here's the website for the train from Fort William to Mallaig a.k.a. Jacobite Steam Train and, yes, the scenery is majestic.

http://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/jacobite-steam-train-details.cfm

And here is a guide to public transport on Skye. As the RS guide notes, public transport on Skye is pretty darn limited.

http://www.theskyeguide.com/travel

The condition to "not miss anything" is difficult because any travel always involves tradeoffs. Whatever you do miss, you can always hope to return another time and focus on those bits.

Posted by
144 posts

Nigel,
I will take that under advisement and keep my eyes open for Campbells. :)
I should have worded that differently. I know I will need to prioritize. I was trying to keep my route circular without back tracking to maximize my time. I think I could take some day trips from Inverness. I am planning on doing a tour once I base myself in Portee.

Posted by
185 posts

What kind of tours have you found for Skye? I'm on the fence about whether or not to include it on my trip next year. I will also be traveling solo and without a car. Part of me wants to save it for a future trip when a car is in the budget so that I can better experience the isle as a whole. On the other hand, Skye has been on my bucket list for so long that it seems a shame to be so close and skip it. Decisions, decisions.

Posted by
144 posts

Rosemary,

I have found a few mini bus tours that depart from Portree (where I plan on staying). The challenge of not having a car is how to actually get to Portree and then to Inverness after I spend 4 nights on Skye. I know what you mean about decisions. I am trying to decide do I go straight to Inverness from Glencoe and use a tour to get over to Portee. Right now I am leaning toward going to Mallaig via train from Fort Williams and then on to Portree via public transportation. Then seeing the island via minibus tours. I am seeing a day tour from Portree to Inverness http://www.tourskye.com/skye-tours/skye-to-inverness stopping at Eilean Donan Castle. That would get me to Inverness after my time on Skye. I am hoping to get some tips from someone who has done this route? When do you plan on going?

Cheers,
Kathleen

Posted by
1277 posts

From memory Citylink has a pretty good service , several times a day at least in spring and summer.
Will run either straight to Inverness, or the more useful service runs to Fort William and has onward connection to Glasgow

Posted by
9766 posts

You do not have to take the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig, you can take the much more economical (but less romantic) regular ScotRail service. If your goal is to get from Fort William to Portree, you don't have any reason to go back to Inverness; in fact, it's out of the way. You would catch the ferry over from Mallaig to Skye (at Armadale), and then you could catch the bus up to Portree.

Check out Scotrail for the train times and prices, and CalMac for the ferries. Then google the Skye bus service (or there's probably a link from the CalMac ferry page).

Leaving, you could take the bus from Portree to Kyle of Lochalsh and on to inverness, if that's your next destination.

Posted by
144 posts

Thank you! I will take the more economical train and take bus up to Portee. Thanks for the tips!

Kathleen

Posted by
185 posts

I am traveling to Scotland in August next year. If I make it to Skye I will be doing bus tours as well. I like the idea of taking a day tour from Skye to Inverness, that would be my next stop too.

Posted by
5678 posts

Has anyone found a tour from Skye to Inverness? i would not expect to see such a tour. A better strategy would be to take the bus or taxi to Kyle of Lochalsh and take the spectacular train trip to Inverness.

Pam

Posted by
144 posts

As it stands now I will leave Glencoe by bus Sunday May 14th and take the train from Fort William to Malliag. I will just turn around and come back to Fort William and then proceed by train to Inverness. I was told by the inn keeper at Portree the bus is not reliable on Sunday to get me to Portree if I were to take the ferry across to Armadale. I have my heart set on the train ride to Malliag. Although I am not taking the steam train. Another suggestion I read was to take a tour FROM Inverness to Skye and ask to get off in Portree that way I would be able to stop at Eileen Doune Castle. Then I will spend 4 nights on Skye. I knew it would be challenging depending totally on public transportation. Since this is my first trip I will look at it as an exploration knowing I will return.

Kathleen

Posted by
5678 posts

Kathleen, There is no direct train from Fort William to Inverness. It goes back to Glasgow and then back up to Inverness. You would have to change trains at least once and maybe twice. There is a bus. Or, you take the ferry from Mallaig to Skye and the bus on to Kyle of Lochalsh where you can catch a train to Inverness. But you would have to do this during the week. The bus schedules say that there is NO service on Sundays--not that it is unreliable, but rather non-existent. Which is just the way it was 30+ years ago when I did my first visit. That's why we walked from Sligachan to Portree in the rain, until someone picked us up! So, the bus from Fort William to Inverness does operate on Sundays. But check the schedule.