We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

About driving to/within Skye

Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
3 posts
15 reviews
Save Topic
About driving to/within Skye

Hi everyone,

My best friend and I plan on visiting Skye around May 5-10th.. The exact dates are not set yet. I currently live in Dundee so we wanted to rent a car in Dundee, drive to Oban/Mull, then drive from Oban to Fort William, and then from Fort William to Skye.. Is that feasible? We will stop a few days in each area. I am wondering if maybe we should take the train instead from Fort William to Mallaig? But then I've read that in order to really explore Skye you need a car. Is that right? Also, how is the route? We both have been driving for several years, but never in the UK, never on the left side of the road. Do you think renting a car is our best option or should we take the train/buses/ etc?

Thanks for your help!!

Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for The Hebrides
Level Contributor
7,245 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: About driving to/within Skye

Renting a car is definitely best, for Skye and also for Mull. To get from Mull to Skye, you don't go via Oban or Fort William - it's a long way round and more expensive too. The best route is to take one of the short ferry crossings from Mull to Ardnamurchan or Morvern - i.e. Tobermory to Kilchoan, or Fishnish to Lochaline. It's then an easy, direct and very scenic drive on quiet roads to Mallaig, for the ferry to Skye.

Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
3 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: About driving to/within Skye

Thank you for your reply! We are going to travel around for 12 weeks, so we definitely want to stop around Fort William. I thought of driving from Oban to Fort William so we can stop to see the Glenfinnan viaduct, then stop in Ballachulish, and go hiking on Ben Nevis. Then take the road to Skye from there, and stop by the Eilean Donan Castle. That's why I'm asking if this road is difficult? After Skye we are thinking of going to Inverness. Does that make any sense? We were hoping we wouldn't have to rent a car for the whole 2 weeks, since we need an automatic one ( ahh, us canadians! ) and it's more expensive, but I'm starting to think we should.

London
Level Contributor
10,335 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: About driving to/within Skye

A rental car in the highlands and islands really adds to your flexibility. You can get about by train / bus, but public transport service levels are sparse. You would have to be ruthlessly organised with your travel planning.

If you do get a car, note that most cars on UK rental fleets are manual. As you've mentioned you need automatic, you might want to rent in Dundee / Edinburgh to ensure you get an auto. There are (very) limited rental options in Fort William - if you want to rent there I would speak by phone to ensure they really do have an automatic car available (internet booking systems are often poor at accurately managing vehicle stock at remote depots).

Driving up there is a joy, little traffic and polite road users. The danger for "first time on the left" drivers is after a stop, say lunch or fuel. That's when your guard is down and it's easy to make an error. You need your passenger / co-driver primed to monitor you and prompt you "left left left" if there is any inadvertent move to the wrong side.

Read this before you go - if you're heading somewhere remote you will encounter them.

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usfeatures/…

Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for The Hebrides
Level Contributor
7,245 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: About driving to/within Skye

Hmmm.... OP, I think you need a map ;-) The Glenfinnan Viaduct is not between Oban and Fort WIlliam, it's between Fort William and Mallaig. Ben Nevis isn't approached from Ballachulish. And if you're going from Fort William to Skye, and then on to Inverness, then the best time to visit Eilean Donan is between Skye and Inverness, because you will definitely pass it then. Then you can go the other way from Fort William to Skye, via the ferry from Mallaig.

Not sure where you mean, when you ask 'if this road is difficult'. But if you mean the road from Fort William to Skye via the Skye Bridge, the answer is no, it's a wide major road. Hope this helps.

Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
3 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: About driving to/within Skye

Thank you for your replies!

Dhmellor, I know that Glenfinnan is not on the road between Oban and Fort William, but googlemaps tells me it's only half an hour of drive from Fort William, so easily reachable when we are there. And I thought Ballachulish was on the road from Oban to Fort William, or not a very big detour anyway? I consider going to Ballachulish and hiking Ben Nevis as two separate activities, the latter accessible by Fort William, isn't it? I realize my last message was a bit unclear, I just meant Glenfinnan, Ballachulish and Ben Nevis are things we want to see while in the area of Fort William. We'll stay at least 2 days there.

Now, I thought the road from Fort William to Skye was the A87 which goes through Dornie where the Eilean Donan Castle is located, is that wrong? I've used googlemaps so I might be mistaken. In any case, thank you for the info, if we travel on the A87 anyway to reach Inverness afterwards, then we'll stop then and reach Skye by the ferry to Mallaig, which would allow us to see different landscapes! I didn't know about that ferry to Skye and I have always wanted to see Mallaig as well, so it's actually a very good idea! Thank you!

Also, yes that is what I meant, if the road between Fort William and Skye is difficult. Thank you :)

Rcspeirs, thanks for the info, we will most likely rent our car in Dundee! I had heard before about single track roads and passing places, so thanks for the link!! Hopefully we won't struggle with the left side driving ;)

Edited: 12 March 2014, 18:38
Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for The Hebrides
Level Contributor
7,245 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: About driving to/within Skye

"we'll reach Skye by the ferry to Mallaig, which would allow us to see different landscapes! I didn't know about that ferry to Skye and I have always wanted to see Mallaig as well,"

That's a good plan. The ferry needs to be booked in advance - see www.calmac.co.uk. Skye is wonderful, and so is the the so-called 'Road to the Isles' between Fort William and Mallaig, but don't get too excited about Mallaig itself - it's a functional place - just a busy little fishing and ferry port.

7. Re: About driving to/within Skye

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 28 March 2014, 17:35
8. Re: About driving to/within Skye

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 30 March 2015, 05:15
Get answers to your questions about Isle of Skye