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Extra-solar Planets

Isle of Skye, UK, 28th May - 8th June 2007

Travel Information

Sabhal Mor Ostaig (SMO) has its own travel pages, at:  The second of these links includes a map showing the location of Sabhal Mor Ostaig near the (small) village of Armadale, at the very south of the island.   Telephone numbers for local taxis are also given, the Sleat taxi being the most local.

Since the Island of Skye has no airport,  your journey to SMO will involve - at least in part - travel by road, rail or sea.  Although it requires an extra day's travelling to reach SMO from the major Scottish airports in Glasgow and Edinburgh, your journey will take in some of the most stunning scenery in the world.

Skye Bridge, at Kyleakin

Getting onto Skye

There are two main ways onto the Isle of Skye. There is a toll bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland across to Kyleakin, or there is a ferry from Mallaig on the mainland to Armadale. Armadale is just 3 km from SMO, while a journey of 30 km still has to be made from Kyleakin. 

Both routes involve scenically beautiful journeys from any major centre of population or airport, and both have their pros and cons from a practical point of view. Travellers by car may appreciate the convenience of the bridge, while those travelling entirely by public transport might prefer the slightly shorter journey associated with the Mallaig - Armadale ferry.

Seekers after a romantic Highland experience may enjoy the passenger-only ferry from Kylerhea. This boat touches land on Skye near Kyleakin and the journey on to Armadale proceeds from there.

Arriving on Skye By Car

The bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh (now toll-free), and the Mallaig - Armadale ferry  (about 30 GBP for a car) are both available to you. The journey to either of these from further south involves first getting to Fort William (e.g. by the A82 from Glasgow - about three hours).
Mallaig Harbour
Eilean Donan Castle
To get to Kyle of Lochalsh, continue north through Fort William on the A82, turning left onto the A87 after about 50 km. Kyle of Lochalsh is at the very end of this road, about 130 km in total from Fort William. A few km before you reach Kyle of Lochalsh you will pass Eilean Donan Castle, famous for many appearances in film - from Highlander to James Bond!

Once across the bridge, follow the A87 towards Broadford, turning left on the A851 after a few km. SMO is 30 km further on, 3 km before the village of Armadale.

To get to Mallaig, take the A830 (left turn) about 2 km north of Fort William. Mallaig is at the very end of this road, 70 km on. In May/June the ferry operates seven times per day (not Sundays!). Booking is advisable for those taking a car, telephone (44) (0) 1687 462403, or online at Once off the ferry in Armadale, SMO is about 3 km north, on the A851 towards Broadford.

Arriving By Train or Bus

There are bus and train services to Mallaig, described here from Glasgow. You will get a sense of the scale of the journey from the car travel notes above. Timetable and fare information and online booking for rail journeys are available from Scotrail's website at   The rail journey is very picturesque, and crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct (of Hogwarts Express fame).

Glasgow has two train stations, Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street; trains to Fort William and on to Mallaig leave from Queen Street. Some train journeys from the south will take you to Glasgow Central, in which case you will have to make your way to Queen Street, just a five to ten minute walk from Central. There is also a free shuttle bus between the stations. From London Kings Cross, however, you can make a scheduled journey all the way to Mallaig, passing through Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street and avoiding any need to get through the streets of Glasgow.

Glenfinnan Monument
If you have been staying in some other part of Glasgow the Underground train may be a convenient way to get to Queen Street. Buchanan Street underground station is immediately adjacent to Queen Street. Routes and timetables for train and underground journeys within Greater Glasgow are available from
Macleod's Tables
It is possible to buy a ticket at Queen Street Station which combines the train to Mallaig and the Mallaig to Armadale ferry crossing. At time of writing the return train journey costs about 40 GBP, and the return ferry journey adds £4.80. 

The summer timetable is not available yet, but it appears at the moment that you will have to take the 0840 train from Queen Street - any later train will arrive after the last ferry departure at 1700. Contact us if you are arriving by this route: we may be able to pick people up, or at least coordinate shared taxi bookings for the last 3 km to SMO. This is probably the easiest train journey to SMO, although it is also possible to travel to Kyle of Lochalsh by train and conclude the journey by bus.

Bus services are operated from Buchanan Street bus station in Glasgow by Citylink ( It is possible to buy a return ticket to 'Skye' for about 20 GBP, provided you buy it at least five days before you wish to travel. This bus gets to Skye via Kyle of Lochalsh and the bridge - see here. It heads for Uig in the north of Skye, from where one can take ferries to some of the outer islands. You should leave it just over the bridge, in Kyleakin, and connect to the bus to Armadale. The Armadale bus is operated by Rapson's who are also the bus company to use if you want to travel from Inverness. Their timetables are online at (you want 'Area 4 - Isle of Skye and Lochalsh'). Alternatively, a taxi from Kyleakin to Sabhal Mor Ostaig will cost about 25 GBP.

We gratefully acknowledge the organisers of the CESRA2004 Solar Physics workshop, also held at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, who first compiled much of this travel information.

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