Travelling to Mull in the winter – 5 things you need to know
When travelling to Mull in the winter – 5 things you need to know and consider. Mull is an island off the west coast of Scotland. Not surprisingly the west coast of Scotland is likely to experience more storms at times than other parts of the country during the winter.
The unpredictability of the weather in winter is all part of the winter travel adventure! High winds and heavy rains, sometimes (rarely) snow and ice.. (but equally we can also experience long periods of still, dry weather!)
1. Which ferry route to use
We are very lucky on Mull and have 3 ferry routes from the mainland to the island.
a.) The most well known one is the Oban to Craignure route. It is always advisable to book this route, whatever time of year you travel. The crossing takes 50-60 minutes. Apart from the fact that a booking guarantees you a space on the journey of your choice, having a booking means you will be contacted if there are any disruptions.
If you try to book on the Oban Craignure ferry and the day or time you want to travel is already booked, please remember you also have the Lochaline Fishnish ferry option..
b.) The Lochaline to Fishnish ferry does not require pre-booking. Coming from Glasgow or Edinburgh you go through Tyndrum and keep going towards Fort William. A few miles after the Ballachulish bridge you take the Corran to Ardgour ferry (turn up and go, run by Highland Council, costs about £10 single for car and passengers) and then drive an additional 30 or so miles to Lochaline.
Compared to getting to Oban it is perhaps an hour’s additional drive time. The scenery through Glen Coe is magnificent, whatever the weather. There is a wonderful detour via Kingairloch to Lochaline if you have time to spare. I love going this way! You might even spot the feral goats grazing on seaweed along the shore.
c.) Coming from the north, there is the Kilchoan to Tobermory service. A handy route to take if you are coming from Skye via Mallaig. There is no need to pre-book this ferry either. The crossing takes about 40 minutes.
2. What are the roads like in winter
For information about road conditions on the mainland we use Traffic Scotland. If there are traffic problems or weather related issues this is the place to find out. It does not cover Mull though.
Our winters tend to be milder than most of Britain and it is quite rare for us to experience frost and icy driving conditions compared to the mainland. However it does happen sometimes, so please bear this in mind, especially if coming to Mull for the first time in the winter.
Icy roads: the road between Craignure and Tobermory is a trunk road and is usually gritted. The road between Tobermory and Calgary is a school bus route and is usually gritted on school days.
The road between Aros Bridge and Dervaig (the shortest route from Craignure/Fishnish) is not often gritted. In fact it is best to assume this road will not be gritted!
From Calgary to our road end, approximately 2 miles, the road is very rarely gritted.
If rare instances of extreme weather, please contact us so we can update you on the localised weather conditions.
3. Ferry disruptions – sign up for text alerts
You can sign up for text alerts which means you will receive text updates should the service be disrupted for any reason. Sign up here.
4. Weather forecasts
We find the most useful weather information is from XCWeather. Use Oban, Argyll to see what the weather is like in Oban; Lochaline for the Lochaline ferry route and PA75 6QX to see what the weather is like here at Treshnish.
5. Possible disruptions
My hope in writing this blog is to warn you as to the possibility of some kind of disruption to your travel plans due to the weather – but I don’t want it to put you off travelling! We travel to the mainland several times every winter and it is rare that we cannot travel, we might have to take the Lochaline ferry instead of the Oban one but having to spend an extra night on the mainland is extremely rare.
Please contact us if you have any queries about your journey or your stay with us.