Monday, 11 August 2014

Hebrides 1: Oban

It seems like only yesterday that I finished posting images from our trip to Iceland, and that's probably because it took me so long to getting round to process them.  I'm determined to be slightly more "on the ball" with this year's trip to the Outer Hebrides, but even so I'm still a month behind real time.  Anyway, here goes...

We needed to catch an early ferry from Oban to Lochboisdale on the Saturday morning, so we decided to drive up in a reasonably leisurely manner on the Friday.  It was raining heavily while I loaded the car in Cambridge around 06:15, but by the time we reached Yorkshire the sun had come out (naturally).  The rest of the journey was in glorious sunshine, which continued until we reached Oban itself.  Having deposited the car we went for a walk around the town.  As well as the obvious harbour and distillery, Oban is dominated by the rather strange Colosseum-like edifice on the hill.  It's called McCaigs Tower and was built as a kind of 19th Century job-creation scheme - as well as a memorial to its eponymous benefactor.

Oban has a real mish-mash of hotels in different styles: everything from Scottish Baronial to Art Deco.

Incidentally, the Caledonian Hotel (above) serves a fine pint of Guinness, which was just the ticket after the 450 mile drive.  Suitably refreshed we went for a wander around the harbour to check out where we needed to go in order to catch the ferry in the morning.

Some of the town's visitors we encountered on our travels.  Personally I prefer the monochrome version of the family on the bench, but I've posted both for completeness.

The final picture is of a superb fish restaurant right on the harbour side.  Because we'd been up since the crack of dawn we decided to eat early, and it's a good job we did as the places was soon full to bursting.  Thoroughly recommended if you're in the area.  By the way ee usk is, apparently, the phonetic spelling of "iasc" - the Gaelic for "fish".

I'd hoped for a sunset over the islands, but sadly it started to cloud over and the sun disappeared.  A foretaste of things to come...