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A weekend in Argyll and Oban ~ SCOTLAND! This region just south of SKYE and west of Edinburgh is filled with beauty, water, wonder and lots of COWS! Without a doubt, when you mention Argyll to most people, they think of images of funky socks we wore in the ’80s and are still super popular with golfers. This under-rated, under-stated region of Scotland will knock those socks off. I kept waiting for tons and tons of visitors to pop in but this area but thankfully it was filled with locals and a few whisky enthusiasts. Besides a few Jamie and Claire (Outlander) fanatics. It’s Scotland…after all. The natural beauty and splendor of this region will entice you to visit, but it will be the people, the food and the water that will make you want to stay.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sometimes I literally just close my eyes and see where my finger lands on the map. On our whirlwind seven days in Scotland we decided to head down south from beautiful SKYE and the Inverness area to this region. We found it filled with local fishermen, islands of cows, sailboats, great restaurants and more.
Stay in a B&B
We really enjoyed our stay in another B&B, Ceo Mara Croft ~ or the Sea and Sky House near Oban with Matt and Sophie. Their beautiful Bed & Breakfast is quietly located in Airds Bay just a little ways from Oban. It was perfect for Jon and me – we had views of the mountains and right away Sophie introduced us to a little walk to the lake and then we chatted for a while on what we needed to see and do during our stay. They are AWESOME!
Town of Oban
The unassuming town of Oban may be considered to port to the Argyll & Bute Islands but it is so much more. While we were visiting we heard “Oh, Oban, that’s the “gateway to the islands,” it may be but it has a beautiful promenade and harbor too. You will find yourself enjoying the walk and view around town.
Don’t forget to look up! Yes, I said UP, why? You’ll definitely want to see McCaig’s Tower. This Roman oddity looks a little misplaced, that is because it is ~ John Stuart McCaig was a philanthropist and architect who loved the Roman design. Unquestionably a savvy businessman and a bit peculiar, he to spend his money building this lasting tribute also to help support the local economy with jobs. Unfortunately, since he died before completion it is only half-finished. However, his family did not want to continue building this huge monument, and today you can see panoramic views as part of a public park with views of all over Argyll, rent apartments or walk through the park. So his vision was not totally in vain.
Hiking the island of Kerrara
It should be noted that we made swift friends with Matt and Sophie and she gave us detailed information about hiking around the Island of Kerrara. A simple boat ride over to the island and then we would be on our way. We thought originally it was 11km around, however we learned it was more like 11 miles. Oops ~ still figuring out the conversion.
Waypoint Marina Restaurant – Kerrara Island
Jon and I had a blast – in Scotland, there is a FREE TO ROAM law and as long as you are not on the Queen’s land you are “free to roam” or hike anywhere in Scotland. So we enjoyed an absolutely lovely day exploring this gorgeous place. Check out the Waypoint Marina Restaurant – they have a boat ride that travels back and forth, the fee to ride over was inexpensive €5/person as long as you had reservations at the restaurant. Which by the way, was very good with great views!
Here is some hiking gear that I love to use ~ you might like it too ~
Ask the locals for a GREAT TOUR!
On our second full day in Oban, we asked Sophie and Matt what next? Here is what they recommended as our loop for the day to really explore the area ~ not only were these stops interesting the drive was spectacular and unforgettable.
Incredible engineering mountain with renewable energy – only a few in the world are designed with this hydroelectrical model and super cool! Inexpensive and fast tour through the mountain.
3. Kilchurn Castle ~ the Campbells
Only open during the summer months this Medieval Castle was once the residence of the powerful Campbell’s of Glenorchy – who controlled this area of Scotland for about 150 years. Today it is awesome to walk around and read all about the history and this powerful family. All but abandoned by the 1750s the castle was struck by lightning in 1764 – now a part of Historic Environment Scotland it is protected by law.
4. Fort William
Unfortunately, not much of the fort is left today – but a cute little tourist town just on the edge of the Highlands and Argyll. Fort William is all throughout the Outlander series so it was a stop for me but we continued on through the rest of the Highlands to return to Ceo Mara Croft after a full day.
Finally, try not to sweat too many details in planning your itinerary. However, if you are a “foodie” like me, eating at local restaurants recommended by local people, well this is always the BEST recommendation.
Kilchrenan Inn – this cozy restaurant tucked away not too far from Ceo Mara Croft was hopping, so you know the food was going to be good. We enjoyed some local fish favorites and yummy chocolate and biscuits for dessert. Nice menu, personable waitstaff, and classic Scottish setting!
Etive Restaurant – this tasty and snazzy Michelin rated restaurant in Oban is FANTASTIC. Visit with David here for a WONDERFUL wine list and mixed drinks as well as scrumptious menu. Obviously, we need to thank Sophie and Matt. Not only was David personable and knowledgeable but I think we’ve made a good friend too. As a result, the atmosphere and setting of the restaurant is perfect, whatever John was cooking in the kitchen we were up for! For this reason, an absolute keeper in the heart of Oban ~
Scoffer’s Fish & Chips
Scoffer’s Fish & Chips ~ if you take the same loop Jon and I did around Argyll you’ll need to stop for lunch in Dalmally and visit Sarah, Jamie & Molly at this wonderful FOOD TRUCK. For one thing, I’m a sucker for food trucks so glad we saw their roadside sign and pulled in. Some of the tastiest Fish & Chips we’ve had in the UK! Very casual atmosphere with picnic tables and a to-go menu that went on and on! Really, really tasty – what a small world – we found out they were friends of Sophie & Matt – yup, they know all the right people!!
To sum up, I will continue to be amazed by Scotland because I am determined to explore new parts. Including what I hope is next, the Shetland Islands! Yup, it’s on my radar ~ Again, thanks for joining me and supporting ©Travel with Wendy.
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