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Published: October 20th 2014
We decided to go to Oban to celebrate Trish's birthday. It was only a couple of hours away in the car from Glasgow and we had been told about a route which involved minor roads and spectacular views. In the end we had to play it safe and stick to main roads because visibility was about 5 yards! Welcome to the Scottish summer!!
Fortunately the rain stopped just before we got to Oban and we were soon checking into our room in the lovely Corriemar House
. The views over the Sound of Kerrara are spectacular from any angle, but just perfect seen from the comfort of your own room. You even get to see the ferries going to and fro. Believe me, that's quite a sight. They seem so close you could touch them.
After settling in we went for a wander along the promenade. It's an easy stroll into town and there is a wide variety of pubs and eateries to choose from. We were after quick, cheap and cheerful though, so we eventually found ourselves in The Corryvreckan
, the new Wetherspoons close to the ferry terminal and train station. It is quite a new pub and has some intriguing
decor. Russ even treated himself to a wee dram of the local single malt. A bit too peaty for his taste, but very pleasant nonetheless.
After a good night's rest and a hearty breakfast (the Stornoway black pudding is a must!), we set out for the morning walking along the rugged coast away from the town. There is a very moving war memorial at the end of the promenade paying homage to those who gave their lives in both World Wars. As we got out of town the sky grew gradually darker. Once we were well out of town and on a footpath out to a headland the heavens opened and we got a good soaking. We were determined not to let the weather spoil our enjoyment of the natural environment though, and we made the most of the wonderful views whenever a break in the rain allowed! We were driven back into town sooner than we had hoped for and warmed ourselves up with some delicious hot chocolate in the Oban Chocolate Co.
OMG! You really should try the chilli chocolate if you go. Hot in every sense of the word!! After a bit of aimless wandering and some shopping
in a cheap outdoor clothing place, we ended up failing to resist a cream tea in the cafe in the Caledonian Hotel.
It was surprisingly good value and once again kept us out of the showers. That night we went out to celebrate Trish's birthday in the imaginatively named Fish restaurant. This culinary marvel is part of the Fish & Chip
shop on George Street. You can just have the traditional fish supper but we went a little more upmarket. The scallops with chorizo to start were to die for!
The sun finally came out on the Sunday morning. It was glorious! We decided to hold off on our departure and walk through town again, this time climbing up the hill to McCaig's Tower.
From town it looks like a Roman amphitheatre but when you get there you discover that it is no such thing. It was in fact commissioned by a local businessman, an architect, to provide work for local stonemasons during the winter months at the turn of the 20th century. From the top you get a full panoramic view of Oban and its surrounds. Truly magnificent. In the streets leading up the hill, the lamp posts seem to be covered in knitted blankets.
Can anyone explain this phenomenon?
Leaving Oban behind we soon found out about the incredible scenery we had missed on the way up! Talk about breathtaking views!! We stopped off to try to see a herd of Highland Cattle but they were just too far away to get a decent look. We also parked up and tried to get down to Kilchurn Castle.
It would appear we had missed the right turn off for it and our attempt to walk along the country footpaths was thwarted by sodden marshland because of the recent rain. The castle is beautiful and UK viewers might recognise it from interludes on the BBC where its image from a helicopter flight has been widely used.
Our stop off on the way back to Glasgow was the town of Inverary. This was the route we were supposed to have taken on the way up but it would have been a waste of time. Of note in town is the Jail museum which gets good reviews but we didn't have the time. The War memorial is quite a special one, but we were only really there to walk up to Inverary Castle. It's not cheap to
go in but you get a great view of it just walking along the path, and a visit to the tea room is free whether you drink anything or not. At the back of the tea room you can visit the castle kitchens for nothing and see how they used to store their spices and roast their pigs. If you are lucky you might just catch a game of hurling in the nearby park. Try as we might, we couldn't figure out the rules, so we continued on our way back to Glasgow.
Another great weekend trip. Scotland seems full of them!
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