From the South
On approaching Glasgow, you have two main options:
1. To go through Glasgow on the M8, leaving on junction 30, and crossing the Erskine Bridge (toll). Travel north on the A82, past Dumbarton and Loch Lomond. At Tarbet, turn right, continuing on the A82 until Crianlarich. Left turn to Tyndrum OR
2. To leave the M74 at junction 4 and take the M73 in the direction of Stirling. Then follow the A80 into the M80 and then M9 north. You leave the M9 North West of Stirling and take the A84 through Callander to Crainlarich and Tyndrum, where you can follow routes (a) or (b).
The advantage of route 2 is that although it is a few miles further, it is less prone to “hold-ups” (not the Bandit variety) than route 1 and it is quicker. Route 2 is just as scenic but doesn’t pass the famous Loch Lomond.
You then have two more options:
(a) Fork left on the A 85 to Oban (the most common choice to meet the largest ferry), or
(b) fork right, staying on the A82, travelling north through Glen Coe to catch the Corran Ferry to Ardgour. Turn left off the ferry onto the A861 and proceed towards Strontian, turning left at the end of Loch Sunart on the A884, signposted Lochaline and Mull Ferry. Caution – don’t turn left too early on the B8043; this is a pretty route but takes much longer. At Lochaline, take the ferry to Mull.
Route (a) to Oban is a shorter distance, and is about three quarter of an hours’ less driving than route (b). However, the ferry cost is far more than Corran/Lochaline and the ferry crossing time is longer. Also you should really book the Oban crossing a good while in advance, particularly on Saturdays and holiday times. You should arrive at the Oban ferry a minimum of 30 minutes before departure times. Oban can get busy and the ferry is at the other side of the town, so delays can occur.
On both routes there are plenty of good places to stop for meals and snacks and there are good public toilets in Callander and Crianlarich.
From the North
Most people visiting from the North would probably make their way from Inverness to Fort William. In which case they would most certainly head South, out of Fort William, on the A82 to Corran, and take the ferry to Ardgour. Turn left off the ferry, and follow the rest of route (b).
One more very scenic route is available to those travelling from Mallaig. Leave Mallaig on the A830 to Lochailort and turn right onto the A861. Proceed through Glenuig (nice little pub there), Kinlochmoidart and Acharacle to Salen. Turn right to Kilchoan going through Glenborrodale. Catch the ferry at Kilchoan to Tobermory. The route is very slow and up and down, but very picturesque. You don’t need to book the ferry, but watch out at peak times.
Here is some advice for visitors who are not used to single track roads.
1. Stop in a passing place on your left to allow approaching traffic to pass.
2. Do not hold up following traffic as shown in the photograph! The car behind may well be a Doctor, Nurse or Coastguard. Stop in a passing place on your left to allow them to overtake.
3. Be prepared to give way to traffic coming uphill.
4. If the passing place is on your right, wait opposite to allow traffic to pass. You must stay on the left and not cross to a passing place on your right.
5. Do not park in passing places
Drive safely and enjoy the stunning scenery our island has to offer. We don’t mind how slowly visitors travel – please just remember to pull over into a passing place to let any traffic behind pass.