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Our Guide to Oban
Oban is home to a small marina on the Isle of Kerrera, offering over 100 pontoon berths and 30 moorings. The marina is accessible regardless of tide. Wi-fi is free and available across the Marina without need of a password. Waste services are provided and pets are welcome. To get to the main town of Oban, there is an hourly ferry during the summer months which is free of charge.
Oban is a quiet but beautiful little resort town snugly nestled into the hills in the Firth of Lorn. The bay is a near perfect horseshoe and protected by the isle of Kerrera. The area around Oban has been used by humans since Mesolithic times, although the town itself really grew up around the 19th century.
For the most part, the town was a simple fishing village until the building of the Distillery, which now stands at the heart of the town, in 1794. Sir Walter Scott was a prominent visitor to the town in 1814 and proceeded to write his famous ‘Lord of the Isles’ poem there. Oban was also used heavily during World War Two and the marina itself sits where the Royal Air Force Flying Boat Base used to be.
Things to see and do
Oban provides some interesting history, with the remains of cave dwellers being found in the town only a few years back. Dunollie Castle stands ¾ of a mile to the north of the town and has been fortified since the Bronze Age! Although the Castle stands as a moss-covered ruin for now, it is still worth a day visit as it provides breathtaking views of the area and bay. The St. Columba’s Cathedral stands on the seafront in the northern end of Oban. The Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and was finished in 1952. The building itself used to be a corrugated iron shell that stood for 50 years until it was decided that a stone structure should be built there!
Other attractions in the town include the ill fated Oban Hydro, a hotel that began in the late 1800’s and was never completed due to a lack of funds. Most of the stonework was stolen by residents of the town, but the ruins are still standing for visitors to go and see. McCaig’s Tower, or McCaig’s Folly, is a structure situated in the hills and can be seen from almost everywhere in town. The tower itself is a coliseum like structure built as a show of wealth between 1897 and 1902 and remains as a public garden and a beautiful place to take pictures of the surrounding area from. The Oban War and Peace Museum is a collection of memorabilia from the local area in both war and peace time and well worth a visit for any tourist!
Local Events / Festivals
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Eating and Drinking
For restaurants, there is a huge supply of absolutely amazing places. The Oban Seafood Hut has a great selection of freshly caught seafood and boasts excellent service too! Tucked away behind the ferry terminal, it can be a little hard to find but the food is simply divine, whilst remaining cheap too!
Coast Restaurant would also be another of my personal recommendations. Based on the seafront, just down the road from St. John’s Cathedral, Coast offers absolutely great breakfast and evening meals for when you’re feeling a little bit tired of seafood. The service is friendly and fast and the food is delicious. The price is reasonable and will not leave you disappointed.
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Where to Sail
Day 1 - Head for Loch Aline. A couple of hours sail west from Oban, Loch Aline is the perfect first night stop. There are moorings or an anchorage to the east on entry, or beautiful new pontoons on west side of loch. Alternatively anchor in the pool to the north for one of the best holdings on the west coast. Head across for a pint in the village of Lochaline and wake up to views across the sound of Mull.
Day 2 - Half a days sail up the Sound of Mull is Tobermory (Balamory) for a night in the Mishnish with its famous ‘snugs’. Pick up a mooring or find a space in the pontoons in this all-weather harbour. It is well worth spending some time ashore in this picturesque village, sampling the local restaurants and shops on the seafront. If you are wanting a quiet evening anchor across the sound in the remote and secure Loch Na Droma Buidhe in the south of Loch Sunart for peace and solitude and a stunning walk up the hill with views all around.
If the weather is settled and you have made good time head around to the north of Mull where the sightseeing boats congregate for fantastic whale sightings and a view of Ardnamurchan and out to Coll and the Outer Hebrides in the far distance before heading back around for a night in either of the above.
Day 3 - Heading back down the Sound of Mull at your own pace with maybe a stop for lunch off Duart Castle (anchored off) with its film star good looks and stories of grisly death before heading back into Oban.
Your Recommended Journeys
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|Address:||Oban Marina, Isle of Kerrera, Oban, Scotland PA34 4SX|
|Long / Latitude:||N 56° 25' 4" W -5° 29' 50"|
Bottled gas, Chandler, Electrical supply, Electrical repairs, Engine repairs, First aid, Fresh water, Fuel: Diesel, Hardstanding / Boatyard, Laundry facilities, Lift-out facilities, Pub / Restaurant, Rigging service, Sail repairs, Shipwright, Showers, Slipway, Toilets, Trolleys, Visitors berths, Wi Fi
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Getting to the Marina
Flights can be booked to either Edinburgh or Glasgow. You can use public transport to head into the centre and out to Oban by bus or rail (see below). Glasgow Airport is actually the closest, at 145km away.
Rail travel from Glasgow or Edinburgh is available (Check www.thetrainline.com for specific times and prices). The ferry service to the Marina is a short two minute walk from the station. Lorn Taxis (01631 564744) can help get you there if need be.
Coaches are available from both cities and will usually around take 3 and a half hours. They are cheaper, albeit slower, than the train.
The A85 from Edinburgh or the A82 from Glasgow will both take about 3 hours in total by car. Oban itself is located to the North West of both cities. There is however, no free parking available.