Scotland Road Trip: NC500 – Isle of Skye to Arisaig

Eileen Donan Castle Scotland North Coast 500

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Day 6: Isle of Skye to Arisaig

Our main article – Driving Scotland’s North Coast 500: Our 7 day Road Trip – has links for each day.

Day 6 was one of the more relaxing days. The distance traveled was about 130 miles (210 km). Total driving time is about 5.5 hours with 3 hours of exploring. We woke up to bright weather (a UK term meaning cloudy with the chance of the sun breaking through at times) and left Kyleakin at 8:50 am.

Isle of Skye bridge Scotland North Coast 500

We arrived at Eilean Donan Castle at 9:10 am. We wanted to beat the tourist buses, be some of the first to gain access and enjoy the atmosphere of the loch before the castle opened at 9:30 am. It was 11:30 am by the time we had completed our castle tour and enjoyed a wonderful morning tea (late breakfast).

We had a light lunch at Fort William, leaving at 1:30 pm and arriving at Arisaig at 3:30 pm. We checked into our Airbnb, drove to Mallaig and within 30 mins, had seen everything worth seeing. We grabbed a coffee at a local cafe, bought cheese and crackers for dinner and returned to Arisaig by 5:30 pm in time for a walk along the beach before sundown.

Some of our friends mentioned it was a bit of an odd choice, visiting Arisaig and Mallaig. We wanted to visit to see what it was like because it’s the other way to get to the Isle of Skye.

You can visit via the Skye Bridge over Loch Alsh (which is what we did) or catch the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale and then drive up and around the island. You can also catch a Small Isle boat tour to Eigg, Muck and Rum. Unfortunately, the weather was too nasty when we were passing through, and all the cruises were cancelled. End of the cruise season, basically. So lots for our bucket list for next time.


Kyleakin > Eilean Donan Castle > Invergarry > Fort William > Arisaig > Mallaig > Arisaig

Driving time (including stops)

  • 8.5 hours – 8:50 am to 5:30 pm


  • About 130 miles (210 km)


Silversands – Back of Keppoch between Arisaig and Mallaig – Airbnb


  • Morning tea – Carrot cake, ginger cake, plain scone with jam and clotted cream with coffee – Eilean Donan cafe.
  • Lunch – McDonald’s at Fort William.
  • Dinner – Coffee, cheese and crackers.

Our Journey

Skye Bridge & Loch Alsh Viewpoint

Isle of Skye bridge Scotland
Loch Alsh viewpoint near Elaine Donan Castle Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle

Eileen Donan Castle Scotland

Drive Carefully – Slow means Slow

Car rolled over on bend


Mallaig Scotland

Our bucket list for next time

Boat Cruise: Small Isles Cruise – Eigg, Muck and Rum

  • Departs from Mallaig – best mid-April to early August, weather permitting.
  • See Orca, Dolphins, Basking Sharks, Grey Seals, Otters, Puffins, Sea Eagles and other sea birds.

Boat Cruise: Mull, Iona and Staffa, including Fingal’s Cave

  • Departs from Oban – best mid-April to early August, weather permitting.
  • Fingal’s Cave with its hexagonal basalt column cliffs and legends.

Boat Cruise: Tobermory and Staffa

  • Weather permitting, depart from Tobermory Harbour on the Isle of Mull – best mid-April to early August. Travel from Oban.
  • See Puffins, Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Otters, Dolphins, Porpoise, Basking Sharks, Minke Whales, Orca, Sunfish and Leatherback turtles. Iona Abbey on Iona, off the Isle of Mull.

Highlights of the Day

Eilean Donan: morning tea overlooking the castle – plain scone with clotted cream and jam, carrot and ginger cakes, strong flat white coffee.

Eilean Donan coffee and cakes

Jacob sheep: Four-horned sheep with brown patches on its white wool, spotted near Arisaig.

Jacob Sheep Scotland with four horns

Extra Thoughts

Our main article – Driving Scotland’s North Coast 500: Our 7 day Road Trip – has links for each day.

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