Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Please help with Scotland Itinerary - Inverness to Glasgow (

melodyesch Jun 27th, 2008 03:24 AM

Please help with Scotland Itinerary - Inverness to Glasgow
Hi Fodorites. My DH and I will be in Scotland and England for two weeks in August. I have all of the trip worked out except for one leg that I just can't seem to figure out what to do. The situation:

We're leaving the Inverness area on a Friday morning (to be at Urquhart Castle around when it opens at 9:30am)and plan to be in Glasgow Saturday late afternoon.

There are two things that we wanted to do in between Urquhart and Glasgow. DH wants to visit Eileen Donan and I want to experience the drive from Ft. William to Mallaig.

I had intended that we leisurely drive to Eileen Donan, then backtrack. Then drive to Mallaig, then backtrack, stopping in Mallaig for the night or Fort William.

When I put the whole shebang into the trip planner, it suggests instead crossing the bridge to Skye after Eileen Donan and driving down Skye and then taking the ferry to Mallaig. Which would you do? Where should we spend the night?

Additional info:
We only have the one night allotted between Inverness and Glasgow. We had not planned Skye at all because we'd like to do an extended stay on a return trip. But we would prefer the Skye route to the time it would take to back-track. Plus, there would be different scenery. And apart from Eileen Donan, this leg is about scenery for us.

And how much does it cost to cross the bridge to Skye and then take the ferry? Since we plan to return to Skye another time, I'm sure that there is a cost point where the amount it would be to take the Skye route would be more than we would be willing to spend to save the couple of back tracking hours.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Mimar Jun 27th, 2008 05:55 AM

The bridge to Skye is free. Here's the ferry schedule plus fares:

You won't see a lot of Skye, just the bottom part. I thought the area around Armadale one of the prettiest parts of Skye. If the ferry cost doesn't break the bank, I'd do this route. However, in August and on a tight schedule, you might want to reserve the ferry -- if you're willing to commit.

Barbara_in_FL Jun 27th, 2008 06:16 AM

If you're interested in scenery, I would take the little detour through Skye.

(But I have to say -- we have noticed that the same mountains look dramatically different to us depending on who's driving and which way we're going -- so backtracking is not the end of the world either!)

It's about 2 hours, I think, from Urquhart Castle to Eilean Donan. As lovely as it is, I don't think Eilean Donan takes very long to see...even if you have lunch before you leave Loch Ness, you would have time to drive to Eilean Donan, see the castle, and then have dinner somewhere on Skye. I agree with Mimar that the Sleat peninsula is one of the prettiest parts of the island, and you will still see the Cuillins from a distance. What you won't get a glimpse of at all is the rocky scenery of the Trotternish, but if you are heading back to Skye for a more extended trip later on, you will see it then. There are some nice places to stay in Sleat (search the forum for recommendations) or you could stay overnight closer to Broadford. It is an easy drive down to Armadale from there to take the ferry.

twk Jun 27th, 2008 06:58 AM

Eilean Donan is really just a photo op.

Do as suggested and take the bridge to Skye, then the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. If you have time, you might take a little detour that a lot of folks take on single track roads to the west side of the Sleat peninsula to Tokavaig, Tarskavaig, and Ord where you will get a great view of the Cuillins (would add about a 1/2 hour to the journey).

Probably would want to stay at Glen Coe, then you can drive through the glen and Rannoch Moor on your way to Glasgow on Saturday.

Ackislander Jun 27th, 2008 11:26 AM

Definitely take the road through Glen Coe toward Glasgow.

It is a spectacular, haunted place.

melodyesch Jun 27th, 2008 11:26 AM

Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. I believe we will take the Skye route and then plan our overnight at Glencoe. I think a late afternoon ferry will give us the time we need for the brief stop at Eileen Donan and then some time to meander through the lower part of Skye as much as we can until ferry time. What we don't see, we can always see next time.

It seems like it might be a longish day, but a scenic one.

Thanks again for all of the suggestions.


hopingtotravel Jun 27th, 2008 12:27 PM


travelingtish Jun 27th, 2008 02:04 PM

Be aware that the ferry no longer runs to Skye on Sunday. We were supposed to do that, but they had cancelled it because they aren't making enough to make it worthwhile to run it on Sunday (so we were told there last month). We used the bridge.

janisj Jun 27th, 2008 02:38 PM

travelingtish: to clarify what you just posted re the ferry. I am pretty sure the ferry between Armadale and Mallaig does still run on Sundays. I assume you were talking about the Kylerhea ferry - which is not the main ferry to Skye.

Barbara_in_FL Jun 27th, 2008 03:29 PM

That is a great suggestion about taking the detour through Tarskavaig and Ord -- very scenic, lovely views. Great idea!

noe847 Jun 29th, 2008 05:32 AM

melodyesch, this is exactly what we did on our first trip to Scotland - Drumnadrochit to Spean Bridge via Skye. (We actually did Glen Affric on the same day, which was very beautiful but made for a very long day). Stopping for the night before Glen Coe would give you a bit more leisure for the drive (stops, etc.)

The scenery is stunning on the roads that you will be taking in the directions that you are traveling.

I'd urge you to skip the interior of Eilean Donan and give your time to Skye or elsewhere on the drive. We took a longer than 30 minutes on the little road thru Tarskavaig, etc., because of stopping for photos. You may also want to stop at Glenfinnan.

melodyesch Jun 29th, 2008 08:19 AM

Thanks for the input, noe847. There were only two things that my husband feels strongly about on this trip and that is Loch Ness and Eilean Donan, but only to say he's been to Loch Ness and to take outside pictures of Eilean Donan. I thought Urquhart looked interesting overlooking Loch Ness and we'll pretty much just take a very short stop there and at Eilean Donan. So even thought it will be a long driving day, I'm feeling good about our choice.

noe847 Jun 29th, 2008 05:08 PM

Well, knowing what I know now, and seeing how busy we ended up being that day, I'd probably not repeat a plan fo such a packed day as we had on our trip, BUT we loved everything we saw that day. I'd advise to give yourself as much time as you can for the miles that you are planning to cover. I don't know what you plan to see on the way to Glasgow the following day, but you might want to see Glen Coe that day if you can.

Urquhart is a good stop, and has a nice vantage point over Loch Ness.

travelingtish Jun 30th, 2008 09:12 AM

janisj--thanks for the clarification on the ferries. Wouldn't want to mess someone up. As I was on a tour, I thought there was just the one ferry and we were just told that "the ferry" had closed down on Sundays.

janisj Jun 30th, 2008 10:00 AM

travelingtish: There is another ferry - from Uig on far other end of Skye over to the Outer Hebrides. That ferry does not run on Sundays. Nothing much runs in the Outer Hebrides on a Sunday - they pretty much close down for the Sabbath as does the ferry over from Skye.

But that is not a ferry between Skye and the mainland of Scotland and would not have anything to do w/ the OP's itinerary. Perhaps your tour guide was talking about that ferry instead.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:58 AM.