Islay vs Argyll and Isle of Mull vs Hebrides?

bp5678 Posts: 413
First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
edited 15 February 2019 at 3:38PM in Scotland
I'm planning a cycle trip from 18th-25th May. I'm looking at getting the train into Edinburgh from England (due to time constraints). I've done bike touring before in the hilly Balkans (Croatia/Montenegro/Bosnia/Albania/Macedonia) so I know I can cycle about 120km each day in hilly terrain (possibly further but depends on when it gets dark in the mornings/evenings).

I'm planning on going from Glasgow to Loch Lomond.

From there, I can either go to Islay or Argyll. In your opinion which is more scenic? I'm leaning a little more towards Argyll as it may work a little better logistically but I'm happy to change my route if I'm missing out a 'gem'.

l'll then go to either Isle of Mull or Islay (passing through Glencoe). Again, I'm not sure which to go to out of the 2. Which is more scenic?

From there, I have a range of places I'd like to go to but I haven't plotted them on a map yet.

One option is to go to the Hebrides. If I went from Isle of Mull to the Hebrides, how would I do this as they're both islands... where is the boat terminal?

Places I'd also like to go include:
- Glasgow
- Edinburgh (Stockbridge)
- Assynt
- Aberdeenshire
- Torridon
- Moray
- Orkney
- Taymouth (Perthshire)
- Prestonpans/North Berwick


  • Taggo
    Taggo Posts: 100
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    If you go from Glasgow to Loch lomond at the small village of Tarbet I assume you are either going to chose to travel down the kintyre peninsula to get the ferry to Islay or turn off and travel towards oban. (Argyll isn't a place its the area, Islay also part of argyll)

    Islay is nice, full of friendly locals, and whisky if that's your thing. I know a lot about this island, and not much about mull, although for a large part it will be similar.

    Get the ferry to mull from oban, ferry to islay from kennecraig. Caledonian macbrayne website will tell you all you need to know.

    From mull you said you would like to go to the hebrides. Again, not a place, it's the collection of islands (inner and outer), so without choosing a specific its hard to say, but Cal Mac service all the islands on the west of Scotland so again the website will help.

    I will say, Glasgow to Islay via glencoe isn't a route id take if I only had a week.

    The last part, youve named places that are obviously geographically far apart and you won't manage many of them at the same time as a West Coast trip.
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,375
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited 17 February 2019 at 10:06PM
    Mull is probably more scenic than Islay, it is far larger and has a Munro.

    However most roads are single track and it gets packed as the ferry trip is short and therefore relatively cheap, so cycling could quickly turn into a chore as you will be constantly aware of cars (and motorhomes hired by people who have no idea how single tracks roads 'work') trying to pass.

    Islay however is far more remote, despite not being that far from Glasgow as the crow flies. It is more expensive to get to, so quieter and the main roads are far better. Its also a short hop to Jura.
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