Highlands Transport

Macbraynes, A Highland coach service seen here on a tour to Aviemore in  September 1970.
Photograph. John King.

Another photograph of a Macbraynes coach standing in a highland car park, possibly in the Caingorms. September 1970.
Photograph. John King.
 Macbraynes operated throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and were a quite unique company.  They also operated lorries and the steamers.  Aviemore was not on a scheduled route so this was no doubt a tour or a private hire job.  The vehicle pictured at the top is an AEC Reliance which was their main heavy duty vehicle for trunk routes such as Glasgow-Campbeltown, Glasgow-Tyndrum-Fort William, Glasgow-Inverness, Fort William-Inverness although they could turn up on virtually any mainland route.  Head office was Glasgow and the main Highland depot was Fort William although there were outstations all over the place and another garage at Inverness.  Mostly Macbraynes carried conductors (certainly on all the trunk routes) because they also cleared the rural mail boxes and usually had many parcels/newspapers to deliver en route.  They were nationalised and split up and a very famous name lost to the road transport industry quite pointlessly.

They operated through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and at Top of Rest on the Glasgow-Campbeltown service had what must have been the most remote bus stop in the UK.  Every day the Glasgow bus met the Campbeltown bus coming the other way and they were joined by a Bedford working the Arrochar/Carrick service.  All three met up and the main road crews changed...mail was transferred between the buses. They also operated smaller buses on the islands of Skye, Uist, Lewis and Islay.  Some of the Bedford OB's and SB's had only 12-18 seats because the rest of the space was for mail bags and parcels..boxes of fish etc.  Originally they used punch tickets but switched to Insert Setrights but fares were so high and routes so long that they used to have overprinted tickets because the machines could not go to the values they needed.  Some tickets had a £2 overprint to cope with the fares. I could probably tell you a great deal more about Macbraynes who were, I think, the most "individual" bus company in the British Isles, partly because of their operating territory.

Many thanks to Alan M. Watkins for the above information.

Coach and buses outside MacBraynes bus station in Fort William.Seen here in September 1970.
Photograph. John King.

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