Getting to the Small Isles may seem to some as a bit of a challenge, but the major transport providers make it easy and enjoyable. See below for timetables.
- Cal Mac
If you are sailing from Mallaig, you will journey to the Small Isles on the MV Lochnevis. The Lochnevis was launched by Rev. Alan Lamb, Sarah Boyack and Captain John MacArthur at Ailsa Shipbuilding, Troon on 6 May 2000 and entered service on 1 November 2001. She cost £5.5 Million to build, and weighs in at over 940 Tonnes.
Lochnevis' appearance is dominated by a large stern vehicle ramp. This allows her to berth a considerable distance from a slipway, protecting her exposed Azimuth thrusters in shallow waters. She can carry 190 passengers and 14 cars. The car deck is also used for goods for the islands.
Forward of the car deck is crew accommodation, with the cafeteria, serving area, and galley above. On the next deck, the observation lounge has seating arranged diagonally. Officers' accommodation lies forward of the lounge, while heavy side doors lead to the open deck.
Passengers can enjoy the view ahead from an open bow - a rarity on current Western Isles ferries. Aft of the lounge is outside seating, again laid out in a diagonal arrangement. Further aft are the fast rescue craft (port) and a single funnel and the hydraulic goods crane (starboard). The bridge, above the lounge, was designed by Captain John MacArthur and the Chief Engineer at the time. It provides all-round visibility
Length: 49.2 m (161.4 ft)
Beam: 11.4 m (37.4 ft)
Installed power: Cummins KTA-38-M2 vee type
Propulsion: Machinery: 3 × 12-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (159 mm × 159 mm (6.3 in × 6.3 in)) reduction geared to three directional twin propeller units. 3,039 bhp (2,266 kW). Two athwartship thrust propellers forward.
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Capacity: 190 passengers and 14 cars
The CalMac timetables can been found HERE.
- Arisaig Marine
If you are heading to the Small Isles from Arisaig, or going to Muck, Rum or Eigg for a day trip drop into Arisaig Marine. The company's MV Sheerwater runs during the summer months from Arisaig to Eigg, Rum and Muck. The sailings are renowned for the amount of sealife seen while onboard, including Whales, Basking Sharks, Porpoises, Dolphins, Seals and a huge variety of sea birds. Contact for Arisaig Marine are given below. The tearoom and craft shop are well worth a visit. You will get an extraordinarily good cup of coffee there.
Contact Susan or Graham at the office for further details of the services available.
Address: The Harbour, Arisaig, Invernesshire PH39 4NH
Phone: 01687 450224
Check out the website for further details Arisaig Marine
If you are looking for one of the world's great train journies and are looking for a relaxed way to get to the ferry terminal at Mallaig, or to Arisailg for onward sailing by the Sheerwater, consider taking the West Highland Line. Amongst the pleasures you will enjoy is a trip across the "Harry Potter" viaduct at Glenfinnan. Another great way to get to The Small Isles is too take the Caledonian Sleeper, which will spirit you from London Euston Station to Fort William, for your onward journey to the Small Isles
- City Link
Getting to Fort William for onward travel to the Small Isles.
City Link will take you from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Fort William. The winter timetable runs from 7th October till 18th May 2014. Services which go to Fort William are the 914, 915 and 916.
- Sheil Buses
Travelling by bus from Fort William to Arisaig and Mallaig.
Shiel Buses is a local family owned business founded in 1978 and has celebrated over 30 successful years in business, providing bus and coach hire services throughout the west Lochaber area in Scotland.
Operating a fleet of 22 vehicles ranging in size from 16 seat minibuses to 53 seat coaches, several of which are DDA Compliant and wheelchair accessible. The business operation provides school and service contracts operating between Fort William and the Mallaig, Morvern and Ardnamurchan Peninsulas. Private coach and bus hire and individual coach and bus tours are also undertaken with a wealth of experience.
The company operates from bases at Acharacle, Argyll and in Fort William. Both premises are modern purpose-built workshop and garage facilities for servicing and maintenance of the fleet to maintain continuous high safety standards.
For further information on any of their services for Shiel Buses please contact Shiel Buses at Fort William on 01397 700 700, Acharacle on 01967 431 272 or email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Jacobite
For Steam Enthusiasts travelling from Fort William to Arisaig and Mallaig
Running Monday 13th May – Friday 25th October 2013. The service will run Mondays to Fridays throughout, and Saturdays & Sundays, 22nd June to 22nd September 2013. The afternoon service runs Monday to Friday (3rd June to 30th August 2013). Described as one of the great railway journeys of the world this 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis! The train stops en route to Mallaig at the village of Glenfinnan (see below). Beyond Glenfinnan are the beautiful villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig. You may alight at Arisaig by request to the guard. From here, on a clear summer’s day, you can see the “Small Isles” of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye. The train continues on from here passing Morar and the silvery beaches used in the films “Highlander” and “Local Hero”