The complete timetable booklet for the buses of the Northern Area

This is the third in the series of three bus timetable booklets published by Macbrayne's in the post-war years (Southern, Northern and Islands Areas).  The Southern printed on pink paper, the Northern on yellow paper and the Islands on blue paper.  In this Northern timetable were given the details for services from Fort William, Inverness, Ballachulish, Mallaig, Kinlochleven and Acharacle.

Two of the services in this timetable date from the very early days of Macbrayne's bus operations. The very first route started in 1906 from Fort William to North Ballachulish.  The Inverness - Glenurquhart route dates from 1911 and the Inverness - Fort William route from 1912.  The latter route was jointly operated with Macrae & Dick until 1952, when they were taken over by the then newly formed Highland Omnibuses, who thus acquired their share of the route workings.  The Fort William - Kinlochleven - Tyndrum route of J H Shields of Kinlochleven had been acquired in 1934 and the route extended south to Glasgow.   Routes in the Acharacle area were taken over in 1951 from Ardgour & Acharacle Motor Services Ltd.  The solitary and isolated Mallaig to Morar and Arisaig route, started in 1948, was worked by a vehicle out-stationed in Mallaig and was not connected to the other routes of the Macbrayne's network. The service from Fort William to Caol, Corpach and Annat was the most frequent of all Macbrayne's bus services and also catered for workers at the nearby aluminium factory.

By scrolling down through the webpage illustrations of all of the pages of this timetable booklet will be found, covering the times and fares for all of these routes.  You may need to allow enough time for all the pictures to load!

royal mail
front cover
rear cover

page 1
page 2

page 3
page 4

page 5
page 6

page 7
page 8

page 9
page 10

page 11
page 12

page 13
page 14

page 15
page 16

page 17
page 18

Ken Cameron recalls some of the changes when MacBrayne withdrew from bus operations in the early 1970s:

MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart, who I had helped start the Acharacle - Lochailort service, took on Kilchoan - Acharacle - Ardgour from MacBrayne (possibly nominally Highland).  Bus was an ex MacBrayne VAS painted at HOL Inverness workshops. Perhaps an over enthusiastic driver put it in a ditch at Glenborrodale on the first day! I was present at its retrieval - we had a great ceilidh at the pub! Over the years I had a very close association with MacDonald and drove for him on many occasions.

Harold Caskie, shopkeeper in Bowmore and brother of the famous Donald Caskie, the Tartan Pimpernel of occupied Vichy France, agreed to take on some MacBrayne work but not for long. Operations passed to the Post Office for a while then Western Scottish.

GLENELG (about 1973)
There was no problem here initially because Clan Garage of Kyle were happy to operate using their established coach business as a base. However they could only do Kyle- Shiel Bridge/Letterfearn.  But just a minute! Am I thinking of a changeover from Highland Omnibuses? In any case the real difficulty was covering Shiel Bridge - Glenelg.
Lament of Glenelg who covered Glenelg - Amisdale could not accommodate an extension to Shiel Bridge.  A Davidson, who had a store in Glenelg and had to go over almost every day to collect supplies off lorries etc agreed to provide a car service at set times and additional journeys if required to connect with Clan Garage and also ( I think) with Inverness/Glasgow Skye services.  I never believed my recommendations were satisfactory - too complicated to record ad hoc journeys plus subsidy payments. Eventually Post Office provided a post bus.

Western took over from MacBrayne but were about to give up when I asked Donald Campbell, a local entrepreneur, if he might be interested.  He duly took over and later told me it had been most beneficial to his business!

NORTH UIST (around 1972)
My object was always to find somebody who had involvement with transport ,i.e. school contracts or haulage.  Local haulier, McLean of Graemsay, agreed to take on the South Side of North Uist. I was frequently torn between trying to get a good deal for the local authority and also a fair return for the operator.  I was also anxious not to spend too much money on setting up new services and I have an awful twinge of conscience that the changeover was never as professionally successful as I would now think appropriate.  The science of subsidized bus services has progressed greatly since the early 70s. In those days local authorities did not attach great importance to supporting public transport - I was only an intermediary but if I had not done it nobody else probably would have - at least not for some time! McCuish of Sollas was a school contractor (and coalman?).  He was quite happy to cover North Side - his operation would be simpler than that of McLean - I recall he just had to follow the main road.  Because these gentlemen were already running businesses during the day, I recall having to meet them at all hours of the night - usually with significant refreshments!  Knowing what I know now, I should have kept detailed records but of course the work was not for me personally but for HIDB and Inverness County Council who have the paperwork Everything now seems so vague - I cannot even recall the vehicle arrangements - I think both parties took a Mac Brayne Bedford each.                Ken Cameron, Cupar, 2009
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