Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

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philj
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Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby philj » 24 Nov 2017, 8:11am

hi , i am planning a trip with some friends next September. we are working our way slowly around the UK coast and intend to take ferries staying on Arran, then Tarbert , Islay (2 nights) , Oban , Tobermory , Oban (probably) and then the train back from Glasgow (we are in the London area) . Appreciate its a bit rushed but we only have a week and would like to cover a reasonable amount of ground . I am booking accommodation ahead . we don't know the area at all and while have taken some advice any guide as to things not to miss or routes to take would be very much appreciated

robing
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby robing » 24 Nov 2017, 8:41am

Only been to Arran once, I guess the obvious thing to do is a lap.
Many options on Mull. You could do a northern lap from Tobermory or a central lap from Craignure.
Both around 50 miles and pretty hilly. The scenery on the western side of the central lap is spectacular.

Bonefishblues
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby Bonefishblues » 24 Nov 2017, 8:46am

Iona is very much worth the ferry trip from Mull. A special place. Mull widlife tour(s) put you in with a better than even chance of seeing sea eagles and much else.

eileithyia
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby eileithyia » 24 Nov 2017, 9:49am

Some options could be, ferry to Arran, do 3/4's of the way around, ferry out from Lochranza, across to Tarbert ferry to Islay, spend time on Islay.
Then on to Oban for Mull, definitely go to Ffionphort and a ferry to Iona and Staffa to see fingel's cave.

Always best to consult ferry time tables etc., we used some Island hopper tickets (but had a fortnight) in order to cover quite a few islands, some of the islands are grouped together on combined tickets.
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al_yrpal
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby al_yrpal » 24 Nov 2017, 10:12am

You need CalMac Hopscotch tickets. Coming back from Mull once they had shut down the railway from Oban with no notice. Had to get someones Mrs up there to drive us and 3 bikes back to Glasgow. We found you could book accomodation after arriving at the B and B the day before.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

gloomyandy
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby gloomyandy » 24 Nov 2017, 12:11pm

There's no real advantage these days (with RET) to using Hopscotch tickets (other than you get them all in one go), the price is the same as buying individual ones.

The main road from Tobermory through Craignure can be very busy especially around the times of the ferry with often lots of tour busses heading to Iona, so you might want to consider other options (though if you want to go to Iona you can't really avoid the last section of main road). The road that runs from Dervaig to Salen is particularly nice, as are the roads on the West Coast. If you are in Tobermory then another option is to get the ferry over to Ardnamurchan and explore there, the road out to lighthouse is nice and you can take in the most westerly picnic table at cafe!

From Islay you could include a visit to Jura which is a pretty different island, the ride out to the only village (with pub and cafe) makes a nice shorter ride which may fit in with getting the ferry from Port Askaig.

Most of the ferries you will be using will serve food (which I always find pretty good), which can sometimes help withe the logistics!

ambodach
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby ambodach » 24 Nov 2017, 2:44pm

On Mull you can easily turn left off the ferry at Craignure and head for Iona and then return up the west side to Tobermory and so back to Craignure. You could divert down a quiet road to Duart Castle. Even if you do not fancy paying to go in the views can be spectacular. Timing is important. The main tour buses to Iona usually leave Craignure about 1100 depending on the next summer timetable but once they have gone past it should not be too bad. They return for an afternoon ferry back to Oban leaving Craignure about 1630 to 1700. Iona is a bit like an ant heap from late morning onwards. The ferry queue can be hundreds of yards long but if you take your bike you get on first with the cars. Fingal’s cave is certainly worth seeing as there are good views on the trip out and back. You can also go from Croig ( could now be Ulva Ferry I think ) rather than Fionnphort. Check the weather forecast if you are prone to seasickness. The West Coast of Mull has a couple of steepish bits heading north but easiest just get off and push. From Tobermory back to Craignure there is nothing too onerous roadwise. If you meet ferry traffic just stop and wait a bit. Most of them are past quickly unless there is the usual idiot in front letting nothing past as too terrified or selfish to look in rear view mirror. There have been numerous posts about behaviour on single track roads so I will not repeat them. Just use common sense and courtesy which is usually reciprocated. With RET and more tourists accommodation should certainly be booked unless camping.

bogmyrtle
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby bogmyrtle » 24 Nov 2017, 9:10pm

It's worth getting the last ferry over to Iona and staying at the hostel. That way you get to appreciate the tranquility of the island and avoid the coach trip masses that visit during the day.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

robing
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby robing » 25 Nov 2017, 9:02am

Mull is a large island with some 300 miles of coastline so lots to explore. The little side roads are interesting and have less traffic but mean retracing your steps. Lochbuie, Carsaig are worth a visit.

spending a week in Mull next April to celebrate a big birthday. We'll be staying in Tobermory so will go to Ardnamurchan as haven't been to the point before.

Jon Lucas
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby Jon Lucas » 25 Nov 2017, 10:26am

If you are going from Arran to Tarbert, it seems a shame not to head down Kintyre, though I appreciate that would take up much of the rest of your week off. The peninsula is all worth visiting, some dramatic coastline and some quite fascinating. The hostel at Lochranza on Arran is lovely and close by the Tarbert ferry. Tarbert has plenty of bed and breakfasts should you need to stay in that area.

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TrevA
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby TrevA » 25 Nov 2017, 7:00pm

We did a similar tour in 2015. There's a nice big hotel in Brodick that we stayed at. You could do a lap or ride the long way round to Lochranza. We caught the ferry from Adrossan, which is a short train ride from Glasgow. Then another ferry from Lochranza. On Islay, we stayed at a B&B next to the distillery in Bruchladdich for 2 nights, there also looked to be a few places to stay at Bowmore. On Mull, There's a nice modern bunkhouse at Craignure on Mull. We rode from Craignure to Ffionport. We were due to stay at the hostel on Iona, but it was double booked and we managed to get in at a Catholic retreat. From Ffionport we rode to Salen and then to Tobermory. Quite few hotels in Tobermory.

Plenty of distilleries to visit, if you like whisky. Lots to see and do on Islay and Mull.

Tinnishill
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby Tinnishill » 25 Nov 2017, 9:14pm

"The Earth belongs unto the Lord,
and all that it contains,
except the ferries of the Isles,
for they are all MacBraynes"

It is worth having a look at the Calmac summer timetable, it operates early May to late September. Some of the boats run less than daily. Ardrossan-Campbletown and Kennacraig-Port Askaig-Colonsay-Oban are nice sails (I've seen whales off both of them) which run a couple of times a week.

The SYHA and www.hostel-scotland.co.uk websites are worth looking at.
Agitate, educate, organise.

brynpoeth
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby brynpoeth » 25 Nov 2017, 9:25pm

The earth belongs unto the Lord
And all that it contains
Except the Kyles and the Western Isles
For they are all MacBraynes
Cycling - of course, but it is far better on a Gillott..alternative facts welcome

PH
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby PH » 25 Nov 2017, 10:13pm

bogmyrtle wrote:It's worth getting the last ferry over to Iona and staying at the hostel. That way you get to appreciate the tranquility of the island and avoid the coach trip masses that visit during the day.

+1 the hostel is a bit special, and Iona without the crowds even more so.

PH
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Re: Sept 2018 trip to Arran/Islay/Mull

Postby PH » 25 Nov 2017, 10:38pm

robing wrote:We'll be staying in Tobermory so will go to Ardnamurchan as haven't been to the point before.

The tip of the peninsula is worth exploring, Sanna, Portuairk and Ardnamurchan, if you don't mind a bit of pushing you can walk between them, makes a change from riding the same road twice.