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Ferries Provide Travellers with a Different Perspective

Travelling by ferry is one of the great joys of exploring the Highlands and Islands.

Key ferry links such as those sailing between Ullapool and Stornoway, Scrabster and Stromness or Oban and Lochboisdale provide lifeline links for the island communities, while smaller ones, such as those crossing between Glenelg and Kylerhea on Skye or between Nigg and Cromarty on the Black Isle simply offer interesting alternatives to the rush of the road.

For many people throughout the Highlands and Islands, ferry travel is a way of life, a vital connection for trade and commerce and families, but for anyone who is in less of a hurry, they can also provide a wonderful diversion. Whether it’s from Kennacraig to Port Ellen on Islay, from Mallaig to Armadale on Skye, or just a short island hop from Mull to Iona, the time spent out on the open water is time that can provide a different perspective on the landscape, looking back to harbours and mountains, and maybe also providing the opportunity for travellers to spot some whales or dolphins or seals on the shore.

Sunrise on board the ferry to Lerwick, Shetland Isles (Credit: Airborne Lens)

Explore the Highlands and Islands by Ferry

Plan your next journey to the Highlands and Islands by consulting the following ferry providers


Operates services between the INNER AND OUTER HEBRIDES as well as the WEST OF SCOTLAND and WEST HIGHLANDS. For further details and timetable schedules please visit their website.


*Resumes JUNE 2023. Connecting services between CROMARTY and NIGG as well as FORT WILLIAM and CAMUSNAGAUL. Please visit their website for further information.


Connecting the ORKNEY and SHETLAND ISLANDS together with ABERDEEN and SCRABSTER on the Scottish mainland. For further details and timetable information please visit their website.


A service which provides inter-island travel for the Orkney Isles including GRAEMSAY, HOUTON, the NORTH ISLES, ROUSAY, EGILSAY & WYRE, SHAPINSAY and WESTRAY & PAPA WESTRAY. For further details please visit their website.


Facilitates travel between Gill's Bay, CAITHNESS, and St. Margaret's Hope, SOUTH RONALDSAY on board the MV Alfred. Please visit their website for further information and timetables.


Serving inter-travel between the islands of Shetland including UNST, FETLAR, YELL, SKERRIES, WHALSAY, PAPA STOUR, FOULA, BRESSAY and FAIR ISLE. For further details please refer to the Shetland Islands Council.


Operates the 20 minute ferry crossing between DUNOON, Cowal Peninsula, and GOUROCK, Firth of Clyde. For further information please visit their website.