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PUBLIC TRANSPORT


Using public transport on your adventure can be cheaper than you think thanks to forward planning, as SYHA Volunteer Archivist John Martin discovers on his six-legged journey through Scotland


BUS, SAIL AND RAIL FOR THE IDEAL TRIP


OK,


so a car is regarded by many as the


most important piece of kit on a Scottish hostelling trip, otherwise how do you get from A to B via Z with four people, two bikes and a heap of mountain stuff? After all, public transport is hideously expensive and no fun. But in my experience, the opposite is true. While it’s correct that car


transport would seem to be advantageous in terms of cost and speed if you’re travelling with a family or group, there are ecological and other considerations (ideal for someone cycle touring). I’d like to offer an alternative view to getting around, and some tips for good value travel in Scotland based on the experience of a recent (rather improbable) hostelling itinerary of Stirling to Loch Ossian, Arran, Islay and Mull, which I completed by train, ferry, bus and Shanks’s pony. I’ve had almost a lifetime of


getting to Youth Hostels in this way. Expenses on public transport can be amazingly low if the holiday is planned with a degree of forethought. One in five


56 SCOTTISH HOSTELLER 2012


Scottish families has no access to a car, and many other Youth Hostel users travel singly or in pairs without a car, so the sort of scheme I followed may help you to travel more cheaply than you thought possible, and address sustainability issues too. Almost all Hostelling Scotland


premises can be accessed by public transport, though using it at Tomintoul will involve much ingenuity and Glen Affric a long hike, but it’s possible. Rail serves a very good part of Scotland (though not much of the Borders or the very far north west) and is ideal for long distances and even getting to some parts the car does not reach. In May 2011, I had spent a


week at Stirling National Office preparing the SYHA’s Archive for its final resting place at the National Library of Scotland in 2012. After that, I wished to fine-tune some final details for my forthcoming Illustrated survey of SYHA’s Youth Hostels, 1931-2011 by visiting some more Youth Hostel sites, ancient and modern. I set off equipped with pared-down stuff in a medium- size rucksack.


GET MORE INFO ONLINE


NATIONAL RAIL www.nationalrail.co.uk


SCOTRAIL www.scotrail.co.uk


CALEDONIAN SLEEPER www.travelpass.buy tickets.scotrail.co.uk/ bargainberths


CITYLINK BUSES www.citylink.co.uk


CALMAC HOPSCOTCH NO 16 TICKET www.calmac.co.uk/ tickets/island-hopping/ hopscotch-16-arran- kintyre-and-islay.htm


MEGABUS http://uk.megabus.com


ARRAN BUSES http://www.spt.co.uk/ bus/timetables/


ISLAY BUSES www.islayjura.com (then click Getting Around)


MULL BUSES www.bowmanstours. co.uk/timetables.htm


Day one


Advance single train fare with railcard, Stirling to Corrour, 125 miles – £10.65. Tis takes you via Glasgow Queen Street and the superb run along the Clyde and up Loch Long, before a brief view of Loch Lomond. Crianlarich follows and the astonishing


Rannoch Moor line, built to float on oak stumps and brushwood. Ten it’s the highest and most remote halt on the British railway system,


Lochranza Bay, with the old castle at the centre and the Youth Hostel peeping through the trees to the left


Inset: Te MV Caledonian Isles ferry at Brodick, having arrived from Ardrossan in Ayrshire


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