High road or low road to Western Isles?

Discussion in 'UK Touring' started by Attila the Hen, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Funster

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    Hi, I'm trying to plan a 3 week trip to the outer Hebrides in May (with dog of course) We much prefer pootling around back roads in our VW camper to hacking along major routes.
    That's fine, we could go across to Arran then up the Mull of Kintyre & so avoid Glasgow...
    No. 1 son says you really must spend some time on Mull, it's fantastic....
    Chief driver doesn't fancy 4 hours on a ferry with dog so would need to go via Skye....
    Trouble is only got 3 weeks - would say 'forget it' (being very polite now!) and just see how far we get but the Western Isles are definitely a 'bucket list' place to visit....
    Oh, need to save 2 days each end for the journey from Shropshire to Ardrossan for the Arran ferry
    Any suggestions please?

    (Keep it fairly clean please as I'm a delicate little grey haired old lady, unlike Tabbie who you can see from my avatar has no delicacy at all!)
     
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  2. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    If you want to do the Outer Hebrides then I'd go from Oban to Barra and work your way up thats what we done a few years ago. Its well worth the drive and ferry
     
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  3. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    More experienced Funsters than me will give you brilliant advice, all I'd say is - DO NOT "forget it", politely or otherwise! Bucket list dreams are there to be fulfilled, and the Western Isles are fabulous.
    As Lorger, we went Oban to Barra then north, but that was on foot...
     
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  4. ambulancekidd

    ambulancekidd Funster

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    Do what the rest of the people miss, turn left as soon as you go over the border. Follow the A75 to Castle Douglas, then turn right onto the A713. Its a relaxed driving style as the A713 north is a quiet road & has plenty of little spots to wild camp, loch Doon near Dalmellington is really pretty or there's the raiders road (highly recommended). I guarantee that you'd love the drive & getting to Ardrossan from that neck of the woods is a breeze. Whatever you do, I'm sure that you'll get a warm reception & I hope that you have a really nice holiday.
     
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  5. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    I agree with the above, skip Arran. Getting through Glasgow is no problem, do it all the time, stick to the motorway and use the Erskine bridge. Once over the bridge Loch Lomond is only 20 minutes away.
     
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  6. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Funster

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    Thanks guys,
    As the point of this holiday is to a avoid motorways after the 1st day we'll stop at Annan the 1st night then up to Ardrossan as suggested. (No difficulty driving on Motorways, do it lots but like to get off the beaten track)
    Big problem is To stop on Mull for a couple of nights or not? Been to Skye before via Loch Lomond & Fort William - for me it's just not the same since the roads were improved & the bridge was built. I know that's selfish & the Highlanders need more tourists to boost the economy but there you go.
     
  7. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    If you've got less than three weeks I suggest sticking to the motorway and get up and through Glasgow as quickly as possible. There's nothing wrong with the south of Scotland, far from it but if you are going to visit it do it slowly another time.

    Once you get past Glasgow you soon get into nice scenery. Do go to Mull, you may want to stay there and not go any further! You don't have to go to the islands, if you haven't seen the west coast mainland all the way up to the top you should. There is some really remote country up there, Sandwood Bay is almost legendary but the roads can be slow so you will need all of your available time!
     
  8. dippingatoe

    dippingatoe Read Only Funster

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    I went on a day trip via Mull to get to Fingal's Cave- the coach driver who took us across made it very clear that motorhomers were not welcome on the island. It was fairly foggy as we went across the island, but it didn't strike me as spectacularly beautiful as say Elgol on Skye,

    If you like big bold rocky mountain scenery then head for Harris, but for me I liked the more southerly islands.

    If you check out my blog http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk for May & June 2014 there are photos and some links to video clips. Loved seeing the planes landing on the sand on the beach runaway at Barra, and wonderful camping on the Machair at Berneray

     
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  9. dippingatoe

    dippingatoe Read Only Funster

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    And loved South Uist

     
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  10. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Technically there are 2 Mulls, one is the huge peninsula you cross to from Ardrossan, (Mull of Kintyre), or drive to via Loch Lomond, the other is the island (Isle of Mull), both totally different

    Personally I say if you have only three weeks in total and using four of those days at least to get to Glasgow and back you need to make a choice of Western Isles (formerly Outer Hebrides) or do the lower closer islands, Arran, Mull, Skye. It would be a real squeeze to do the lot, but you really need to get on to Skye and get over to the WI, the drive out to there will be a lot more scenic than you probably think.

    We are not fans of long ferry crossings, the ferries are totally dog friendly though, but we use Uig on Skye to either Tarbert (Harris) or Lochmaddy (North Uist), there is a short crossing from North Uist to Harris so a nice option might be out to one and do that group, cross to other and return from there, that is more or less as we did last time on our fourth trip out there

    We have since done Arran, Islay but so much prefer the Outer Hebrides, particularly as the ferries have really come down in price this year, you can now return as above for not much over
     
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  11. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    just had a look at ferry pricing, it is really cheap, compared to nay trips we have made, our 8m motorhome return Skye to Harris with 2 adults is not much over £100, I am sure we paid over £200 last time we went (y)
     
  12. klaatu

    klaatu Funster

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    The Mull of Kintyre is just the south-western tip of the peninsula. The large peninsula is just called Kintyre.
     
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  13. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    You forgot The Mull of Galloway!
     
  14. shawn&emma

    shawn&emma Funster

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  15. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Funster

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    Hi, thanks again for all the help - it was very obvious that something had to give! However, after studying the maps a lot over the last couple of days & making much use of the Green Flag route planner (adding 1/2 again to their travel time estimates to allow for breaks & slow roads) I think I have worked something out:
    By hugging the west coast as much as practically possible & doing some island hopping I reckon we can take the scenic route, taking 5 days to get to The Isle of North Uist & then 5 days back. This will leave us 10 days to explore the Western Isles.
    Of course all these plans are made to be broken & we can always come home via the major routes.
    Sorry No. 1 son, Fidden Farm & exploring some of the more southerly islands will just have to wait for the next trip!.
    Thanks again......
     
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