Ferry services from Mallaig


"The Road to the Isles"
leaving Mallaig for Armadale, about 1930

Until the start of the 20th century the normal crossing to Skye was by the narrows of Kylerhea, near Glenelg, where cattle from the island would swim across tied nose to tail behind a boat. Passengers and mail for the Small Isles used the pier at Rhu, near Arisaig. When the railway opened all this changed and the mail steamers sailed from Mallaig, with regular departures to Armadale and Portree on Skye, to Lochboisdale and Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, Raasay, the Small Isles, and to mainland destinations such as Glenelg, Kyle and Applecross. This network survived until the 1970s, when more and more passengers and freight for the islands was arriving by car and lorry at the ports. The Barra and Lochboisdale service moved to the more southerly departure point of Oban, while the shorter routes to Skye from Kyle of Lochalsh and to Stornoway from Ullapool became more important. For many years a summer only service survived between Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh, but this ended in 1999.

In November 2000 the new ferry Lochnevis replaced the Lochmor, providing a service to the Small Isles and a winter car-ferry link with Skye. In August 2003 Calmac's newest ferry, the Coruisk took over the car-ferry service between Mallaig and Armadale using the roll-on, roll-off facility completed in 1994 and which made possible a more frequent service to Skye than ever before.

In Autumn 2013 a long-running campaign to restore a link between South Uist and Mallaig finally saw limited results as a winter-only service, running on two days a week began to operate to Lochboisdale.