Planning - Freedom of Scotland Travelpass

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by crispy1978, 30 Apr 2015.

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  1. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    My wife and I are planning an alternative route from Scarborough to Thurso later this year.

    We've got a disabled railcard, and I've got a free first class and free standard class rewards ticket.

    We're looking at the Freedom of Scotland Travelpass (4 from 8 days), with the following plan:

    Day 1: Scarborough-York-Edinburgh-Glasgow (EDB-GLC/Q via a route I've not gone before) times to confirm depending on when free tickets available

    Day 2 (Day 1 FoST):
    Glasgow Q Street - Oban 0821-1127
    Oban - Crainlarich 1211-1333
    Crainlarich - Mallaig 1424-1743

    Day 3 (Day 2 FoST):
    Ferry to Armadale 0750-0820 (CM18)
    601 bus to Broadford 0920-0949
    916 bus to Kyle of Lochalsh 1058-1114

    Kyle of Lochalsh - Dingwall 1208-1408
    Dingwall - Thurso 1437-1749

    Days 4-8 (Thurso)

    Day 9 (Day 3 FoST)
    Thurso - Inverness 0834-1223
    Inverness - Aberdeen 1246-1455
    Aberdeen - Edinburgh 1602-1831

    Day 10 (Day 4 FoST)
    AM - perhaps some branch lines
    PM - Edinburgh-York-Scarborough

    Anyone see any problems here? Inverness on Day 9 might be tight from previous experience but then can look at this.

    Am I right in saying the bus and ferry are covered through the pass?
     
  2. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    I don't see any issues with the plan. It's possibly a pity you're not able to spend more time in locations such as Oban if it weren't for lengthy connections. Inverness on day 9 shouldn't be a problem, in any case if you do miss the 12.46 or otherwise you can still get later trains to Edinburgh.

    Also, depending on when you're planning on doing this you might be able to visit the new Borders Railway on day 10.

    Remember that unless you get a rare East Coast service through to Glasgow you'll need to buy singles from Edinburgh on day 1. I couldn't comment with any certainty regarding the bus but the pass is valid on all CalMac boats. Your plan looks good :)

    e: Also, if you like PSULs, then Dalmeny - Winchburgh Jn will be available from mid June ish I think until end July.
     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2015
  3. AndrewR232

    AndrewR232 Member

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    I would enquire about the 601 bus validity. Looking at the NRE website it seems it is only valid on Scottish Citylink/West Coast Motors, First Scotland East and Stagecoach services - and the 601 is operated by MacLeans Coaches. I recommend contacting them - http://www.maclean-coaches.co.uk/ - to find out.

    Other than that it looks like a great itinerary! :)
     
  4. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    Cheers guys - will check out the 601.

    Do I just present my rover ticket when jumping on the ferry or do I need to get a 'free ticket' from the ticket office?

    Just now gotta work out my window of opportunity for these few days!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Just realised that's 9 days on the FoST. Will either pay for any branch lines I do, or just travel home earlier in the day using my free ticket.

    Also, yeah need a EDB-GLC/Q single too - anyone got any interesting routes for that? I'm looking at the Helensburgh train at present as that's a new line to me :)
     
  5. AndrewR232

    AndrewR232 Member

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    That's my least favourite route between the two cities! :D
    Actually, I don't mind Airdrie to Edinburgh, but the line between Glasgow and Airdrie bores me.

    If you decide to take this route, trains bound for Helensburgh stop at every station while those going to Milngavie are limited stop and therefore quicker, but they do not run evenings or Sundays. You are guaranteed a 334 on this line.
     
  6. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    That's part of the reason I chose it - to tick stations off my list! :)
     
  7. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    If you know the history and you know what to look for, Airdrie-Glasgow can be quite an interesting ride. Lots of disused bits of track and things around. When I used to commute on this route, I passed some time by trying to work out what had happened over the years. For example, you can see the remnants of track at Shettleston, and work out where the old line down to South Lanarkshire left, and you can see where the old link out to Bridgeton Central would have diverged. If you know the history of the lines, you can make the journey a bit more interesting.

    It is, otherwise, one of the most dismal journeys imaginable, passing through some pretty deprived areas with very poor scenery for a tourist. Airdrie-Edinburgh is a bit nicer.

    Like your plan, you're seeing lots of the nicest parts of Scotland! I wonder if your wife would appreciate bashing on the Scottish suburban branch lines (she might prefer to go shopping in Glasgow!), but going up the West Coast to Thurso promises to a be a beautiful journey.
     
    Last edited: 5 May 2015
  8. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    I'm used to travelling the M62 corridor, so I'm pretty OK with run-down areas (no offence to anyone who lives there, but it ain't the prettiest place on Earth!)

    I'm looking at Mallaig for an overnight stay but struggling for accommodation in that area. Has anyone stayed there and can they recommend anywhere? Needs to be reasonably close to the station but don't mind a short bus/taxi ride if needs be.
     
  9. berneyarms

    berneyarms Established Member

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    Bear in mind that the 601 finishes in May for the summer.

    Stagecoach take over from May to October with their 51A and 52 services.

    Use http://www.travelinescotland.com/welcome.do to search for the summer timetables. Click on timetables from the left hand menu, and enter Armadale as the locality.
     
    Last edited: 6 May 2015
  10. Buttsy

    Buttsy Established Member

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    For a little more time around Oban and the opportunity to catch the Jacobite (if running) from Fort William (Travelpass not valid), you could catch the 12:40 coach from Oban to Fort William instead (arrives 14:08, Jacobite leaves 14:30) as this coach is valid on the Travelpass, but I appreciate you may want to do Crianlarich - Fort William on the train.
     
  11. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I want to do it all via train if possible.

    It's looking like accommodation is going to be my stumbling block in or around Mallaig. Got to get there by the end of the day otherwise I'm really late to Thurso which I need to avoid. I looked at staying in Fort William as its a bigger place but I can't see a way of avoiding the last train, and a hell of a long wait in Dingwall.
     
  12. Buttsy

    Buttsy Established Member

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    Have you looked into doing the trip 'the other way round' in case the timings and accomodation work better?
     
  13. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Doesn't look very good!

    No recommendations, but is there anything at Arisaig (taxi next morning)?
    Or is there a late ferry to Armadale?
     
  14. Buttsy

    Buttsy Established Member

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    Have you tried here: http://www.booking.com/searchresult...02479;origin=disamb;srhash=3270135791;srpos=1
    or here: http://www.laterooms.com/en/k162963...g&d=20150507&n=1&rt=2-0&rt-adult=2&rt-child=0

    Ferry times here: https://www.calmac.co.uk/mallaig-armadale-skye-ferry-summer-timetable

    Also, try this site as it seems to have the summer Skye services on it that Stagecoach's site doesn't: http://www.traveline.info/. If you put in Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh, it will recommend you change at Skulamus, though the buses connect very well at Broadford Post Office.
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2015
  15. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    I've had to have a change of plan, as our dog-sitter has changed!

    A bit of accommodation research has led me to a change of heart on accommodation.

    Here goes:

    Day 1
    Scarborough York 09:50 10:38
    York Accrington 11:18 13:20

    Days 2/3 - Stopping with family (dropping pooch off)

    Day 4
    Accrington Preston 11:52 12:31
    Preston Glasgow Central 13:59 16:26

    Day 5 (Rover Day 1)
    Glasgow Queen Street Oban 08:21 11:27
    Oban Crianlarich 12:11 13:33
    Crianlarich Fort William 14:24 16:10

    Day 6
    Fort William Mallaig 10:15 12:26 (Jacobite - got to be done! :p )
    Mallaig Armadale 13:45 14:15 (Ferry)
    Armadale Kyleakin 14:30 15:07 (Bus - 51a - Stagecoach)

    Day 7 (Rover Day 2)
    Kyleakin Kyle of Lochalsh 11:08 11:14 (Bus - 915 - CityLink)
    Kyle of Lochalsh Dingwall 12:08 14:08
    Dingwall Thurso 14:37 17:49

    Days 8/9/10/11 - staying with friends

    Day 12 (Rover Day 7)
    Thurso Inverness 08:34 12:25
    Inverness Aberdeeen 12:46 14:55

    Day 13
    Aberdeen York 09:52 14:56 (First Class - using one rewards ticket, buying second)
    York Accrington 15:18 17:20

    Day 14 - stop with family (picking pooch up)

    Day 15
    Accrington York 16:03 18:00
    York Scarborough 18:40 19:30

    I've got a contingency for the bus from Armadale if the ferry is too tight - has anyone done that before, is that bus doable?

    Anyone see an issue with anything else in the plan?
     
  16. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    The buses at Armadale usually wait for the ferry to arrive so you should be fine.
     
  17. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    Given I've got a free rover day I might be tempted to use it on Day 4 evening for a couple of hours bashing in Glasgow - sure I can come up with something! :)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    Thanks, that's useful to know. Is it a simple walk-on-walk-off job?
     
  18. Buttsy

    Buttsy Established Member

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    It's about 100-150m from the link span to the bus stop.

    The picture below is from the end of the link span and you are roughly heading for the brown sign to the left of the terminal building (straight ahead as you look).
     

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    Last edited: 21 May 2015
  19. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Yes, for ferry passengers you can just turn up and go (apparently it closes 10 minutes before hand so you should have plenty of time) - car users need to book. Bus is obviously also a turn-up-and-go affair.
     
  20. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Foot passengers board about 15 minutes before departure iirc.

    There is no separate gangway for foot passengers so when all the vehicles have been loaded foot passengers have to walk along the same link span used for vehicles to board the ferry.

    Same upon arrival at Armadale. I think they unload the vehicles first then allow foot passengers to walk off (although it might be foot passengers first). Either way the bus will wait for you.
     
  21. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    Excellent - thank you. Sounds simple enough!
     
  22. Elwyn

    Elwyn Member

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    I can’t really recommend anywhere in Mallaig but the Morar Hotel is quite reasonable. It’s just across the road from Morar station. 3 miles from Mallaig.

    http://www.morarhotel.co.uk
     
  23. crispy1978

    crispy1978 Established Member

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    Internet signal permitting, which might be at a premium(!) - I might tweet my way through my little holiday - will see nearer the time!
     
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