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Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

Auburn, Alabama
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Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

My husband has graciously invited me along on a business trip to Scotland! We'll only have from Saturday mid day (arriving in Glasgow) though Tuesday morning (back to Glascow) where he'll have a meeting that day and then meetings in a hotel near Ayr Wednesday and Thursday - Fly out of Glasgow Friday noon.

I think to make the first 2 days more of a vacation for him, we would like to go up to Oban, Mull/Iona and maybe Glenco by train instead of driving. I saw a post that there is shuttle to the Castle on Mull from where you get off the ferry but what about seeing the rest of the island and getting to Iona?

I really wanted to Glenco and on to see Skye but I know there is not really time for Skye - especially if trying to get there according to train/bus schedules!

Also - if we used the train, is there an option for getting off at Loch Lommond or Inverary Castle?

Thanks so much for any help!

Edinburgh
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1. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

The train does not go through Glencoe or to Inveraray. Citylink bus goes through Glencoe. You can 'break' the return leg of a train journey if you have an open return ticket and get off at Arrochar which is near Loch Lomond but not right next to it - the station is not in the village so a taxi would take you to Arrochar (not on Loch Lomond) or to Loch Lomond. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=arrochar&ll=56.198874,-4.705925&spn=0.078594,0.154324&hnear=Arrochar,+Argyll+and+Bute,+United+Kingdom&t=h&z=13

You only really have 2 full days so perhaps just get a return train ticket to Oban and visit Mull and Iona but skip all the rest. Or a coach (Citylink) to Glencoe and spend time around there although difficult without a car. Or spend a couple of days exploring Loch Lomond and Inverary using Citylink coaches..an explorer pass is £39 for unlimited travel on any 3 days out of 5: http://www.citylink.co.uk/explorerpass.php

Eg: The Glasgow (Queen St) train on Sat at 18:21 gets to Oban at 21:26 (3h 05m) making it a very long day added to your flight over from the US. It will also be dark (sunset 6:30pm ish) so you won't see the scenery. It's £9.80 for a single ticket, £30 something for an open return. Then ferry to Mull on Sunday. Or have a rest on Sat and get a train on Sunday from Glasgow: scotrail.co.uk/timetables-routes/…winter but be aware that there is a replacement bus service for part of the journey (Glasgow to Crianlarich). :(

Edited: 20 March 2013, 01:58
Manchester, United...
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2. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

What are the dates for this trip? I think Mark M assumes that you mean this coming weekend - is he right?

Auburn, Alabama
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3. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

Thanks you two ! We arrive in Glasgow April 27th! So probably not the winter schedule - correct? I did some research after I wrote the question and saw that the train left Glasgow at an undesirable late time (do NOT want to miss the scenery!). Maybe we should do the citylink (buses?) out to Loch Lommond area the first day and get on the first train on Sunday to Oban and then ferry to Mull - spend the night Sunday night on Mull and venture back to Glascow on the last train out Monday night.

Are there not any direct trains - no stops? 3h on train - same for bus? hmmmmm - did I read something about a seaplane?

After looking at a Highlands walking website I see there IS public transportation on Mull.... I really hate depending on it when short of time is all. I must spend some time reading the Mull forum before I ask more questions. I've skimmed several travel books and I can't stand having to stick to one area and not see it ALL!! Thankfully, I was blessed to see Edinburgh about 15 years ago on his last trip there!

Thank you!!

Manchester, United...
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4. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

Mark writes 'You only really have 2 full days so perhaps just get a return train ticket to Oban and visit Mull and Iona but skip all the rest.', and I agree. If you take the evening train direct from Glasgow to Oban at 18.21 on Saturday 27 April, you will arrive about 9.30 pm. Stay two nights in Oban, and take the evening train back to Glasgow on Monday.

The buses on Mull are run by Bowman's, and they also do inclusive day trips from Oban by ferry and bus to Mull and Iona. It's a bit whistle-stop, inevitably, but it's better than nothing. See www.bowmanstours.co.uk/…

Edinburgh
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5. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

Oops, sorry not sure why I thought it was this weekend. :) Sunset on 27 April is at 20:44 [Glasgow] 20:55 [Oban] so you will see the scenery in daylight (and the last bit in fading light - could be spectacular if it's a sunny day with a good sunset).

There are no non-stop trains to Oban from Glasgow only the standard train which runs about 3 times a day I think and takes 3 hours or so. From Helensburgh onwards is very scenic though so the time goes quite fast, apart from the last (non scenic) hour coming back when you just want to get back into Glasgow.

The Mull bus /ferry connections are usually very good so don't worry too much about using public transport. The route across Mull to Iona is very scenic too. If you want to stay a night on Iona (recommended) book in advance as it has limited accommodation.

There is a seaplane - quite expensive though but sounds like fun, not sure if they still do a scheduled (rather than private charter which = £££) Glasgow to Oban route though as I cannot see it on their website: http://www.lochlomondseaplanes.com/

…seeglasgow.com/attending-a-conference/…

Edited: 20 March 2013, 13:31
Oban, United Kingdom
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6. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

Sadly, the scheduled seaplane has stopped - they now just do sightseeing trips.

I think that Mark's suggestion of Glasgow-Oban, night in Oban, Mull, Iona back to Oban is probably the best way of using the time. You can either diy to Iona - the 08:50 Craignure - Fionnphortbus meets the 08:00 Oban - Craignure ferry and there are regular sailings from Fionnphort to Iona (which is very small & the abbey is a 10 minute walk from the ferry). Alternatively, you can buy an inclusive ticket from the tourist office which will take you Oban-Craignure-Fionnphort-Iona-Staffa (Fingal's Cave)-Ulva-Cragnure-Oban. Pricey, but spectacular on a fine day. We did this with a friend from North Carolina years ago and spent a happy half hour on Staffa watching the puffins. Our friend still talks about the day. It really all depends on the weather! Enjoy your trip.

Edited: 21 March 2013, 12:30
Dundee, United...
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7. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

I think you're possibly trying to do too much if you're planning to use public transport. Theoretically you might be able to knit together all these trains/busses etc to make a trip, but tbh it could be quite stressful and given how sparse and infrequent public transport is in many Highland areas it only takes one delay and missed connection to cause an issue or leave you stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Given your pretty limited time I'll diverge from the other advice and suggest you might be better taking some kind of tour from Glasgow with a company like rabbies tours. They get glowing reviews on here and offer the chance to see an awful lot in a short time without the hassle of relying on public transport. I don't think they do Mull or Iona, but the do go to places like Oban and Glencoe so would give you a good view of Scotland.

Edited: 21 March 2013, 13:45
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8. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

Mark M speaks wise words. Just head straight to Oban and see Mull and Iona by the Bowmans public transport buses. You might feel like you are missing a lot, but that journey is an absolute joy and you will soon feel like you are on another planet.

Manchester, United...
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9. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

In your case I think poster no 7 is unduly pessimistic. There is a direct train to Oban (no connections to miss). Then the day trip to Mull and Iona is a well worn path with reliable connections. You should have no problem as long as your flight doesn't arrive very late.

Edited: 21 March 2013, 23:21
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10. Re: Oban - Mull - Glenco by train

... and Dhmellor speaks wise words. As usual.

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