Of course once you set off from the west coast you will be travelling purely by foot, but you might like a little advice on getting to your start point and home from Montrose. Below we will give details of the main air, rail and bus routes. Most start points are easy to reach by public transport but a few require a little ingenuity and determination! Information specific to each start point can be found here.
Traveline Scotland is the best place to start planning your trip. It an excellent website which allows you to plot a route to a destination in Scotland from anywhere within the UK using buses, trains, ferries and planes. We also recommend their app if you use a smartphone.
For those arriving from overseas there are international airports in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
If you arrive at Gatwick or Heathrow or live in the south of the UK you may find it quicker and cheaper to travel to and from Scotland via an internal flight to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness or Aberdeen.
Travelling from England or Wales to Scotland most people will one of the following:
East Coast Main Line – London North East Railway and new budget trainline Lumo
West Coast Main Line – Avant Trains
Sleeper train to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fort William or Inverness – Caledeonian Sleeper
Using Trainline‘s website and app allows you to easily book journeys involving several companies and download tickets. It also allows options to split tickets which can be cheaper to split. However if you do this your onward ticket may not be valid if your first train is late and you miss your planned connection.
Buying “advanced” tickets, which become available around 3 months before your travel date, can give considerable savings and on many sites you can register for an alert when they become available.
Once in Scotland many of the start points can be accessed by Scotrail services.
Oban, Lochailort, Morar and Mallaig can be reached from Glasgow Queens Street. The Thursday lunchtime train becomes the Challenge Express. The train splits at Crianlairich with one half going to Oban and the other to Fort William where you can connect with the Mallaig line. The West Highland Line is an experience in itself travelling over remote Rannoch Moor then through stunning scenery to Mallaig via Glenfinnan viaduct made famous in the Harry Potter films. If you want something a little different the Jacobite Steam Service runs every morning from Fort William to Mallaig but please note it doesn’t stop at Lochailort or Morar.
There are trains every few hours from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Inverness where you can change onto the Kyle of Lochalsh line for Plockton and Strathcarron.
Once you reach the East Coast there are regular Scotrail trains from Aberdeen, Porthleven, Stonehaven, Laurencekirk and Arbroath to bring you to Challenge Control in Montrose and when you are ready to head home there are trains to Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as through trains to London.
National Express and Megabus offer services to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.
Citylink offer regular services from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Tarbert (for ferry to Portavadie) Ardrishaig, Oban, Lochailort, Morar, Mallaig, Shiel Bridge and Dornie.
Shiel Buses 01397 700 700 run from Fort William via Corran Ferry to Acharacle and Kilchoan.
DKM Motors 01542 722 685 run a service to Torridon which meets the lunchtime trail at Strathcarron. It cannot be pre booked and does not usually not run on Fridays.
There are local bus services serving most of the villages on the east coast – use Traveline Scotland to work out how to get to Montrose from your finish point.