So many tourists these days look upon Oban as simply a stopping off place en route to their next destination. Though the town itself offers the discerning visitor a wealth of things to do and see, its real advantage lies in its central position to so much of interest in Argyll and the Western Isles. Below are some suggestions for a week's touring using Oban as a base.
Circular tour visiting atmospheric Glencoe, notorious for the massacre that took place there in 1692; Cruachan Hydro-Electric Power Station deep within the mountain; the wild and beautiful Glen Orchy; the stunning bulk of Buchaille Etive Mor; the wildness of Rannoch Moor; pretty Port Appin and Castle Stalker set in its breathtakingly beautiful location. The Oban Sea Sanctuary at Benderloch is another possible stop especially for family groups.
No stay in Oban is complete without a trip to Iona. Most of our guests include a trip to the world heritage sites of Iona and Staffa by way of the beautiful island of Mull. Iona, the Holy Island, is the cradle of Christianity in this land and has a peace and tranquillity, whether in the Abbey or on its famed silver sands, that is appreciated by pilgrim and tourist alike. Staffa, with its basalt columns and Fingal's Cave, has inspired visitors throughout centuries including Dr Johnson, Queen Victoria and Felix Mendelssohn who wrote his famous overture after visiting the island.
Easdale, Seil Island and Luing. South of Oban is the Island of Easdale, where slate was quarried for many years. There is a regular ferry to the island where you can visit the museum and walk around to see the sea-filled slate quarries devastated by the great storm of November 1881. Easdale is the base for Sea.fari Adventures offering high adventure in rigid inflatables and the thrill of close encounters with Scotland's magnificent bird and sea life.
En route, you will cross the Bridge over the Atlantic which separates the mainland from the Island of Seil. The nearby pub 'Tigh an Truish' - the House of Trousers is where the Highlanders would discard the hated trousers they were forced to wear after the '45 Rebellion and put on their plaid kilts once again. Another ferry leaves Cuan for the beautiful island of Luing where cycles may be hired by the energetic.
Inveraray - The Castle, home of the Duke of Argyll; Inveraray Jail, Scotland's living 19th century courtroom and prison; Inveraray Maritime Museum aboard the Arctic Penguin, a 1911 3-masted schooner; the Bell Tower of All Saints' Episcopal Church containing Scotland's finest bells and the 2nd heaviest ring of 10 in the world. There is much more to see and do in this charming town. The most direct route to Inveraray is via Lochawe (visit St Conan's Kirk on the loch side or even take a steam launch to the much photographed and stunning Kilchurn Castle) and returning by Auchindrain Township, Crarae Gardens and Lochgilphead.
Kilmartin Glen is where Argyll's ancient past comes alive. Over 5000 years of human history are traced across the Kilmartin valley and at least 150 prehistoric sites lie within 6 miles of this quiet village; burial cairns, rock-carvings, standing stones and the 1st century fort of Dunadd where you can place your feet in the 'King's Shoes', strange footprints in the rock into which the new king would stand for his inauguration. The museum is a must and the café there offers good homebaking. On the way to Kilmartin, visit the National Trust for Scotland Arduaine Garden, the picturesque Ardfern and Craignish Peninsulas, home to a number of artists and craftworkers. A visit to the Crinan Canal is also a possibility and the tiny sheltered inlet of Tayvallich.
Kerrera, the island nestling in Oban Bay and giving much shelter to the town, has much to offer the independent-minded visitor who appreciates wildlife, history and scenery. Duncan the Ferryman will carry you across to this unique island where locals and wildlife live in harmony in a beautiful and unspoilt landscape. Kerrera is ideal for a day's walk, exploring and looking out for sea and golden eagles, hen harriers, peregrines and gannets. Sea otters and seals abound and you may spot dolphins, porpoise and even the odd whale. The Tea Garden is open during the season for homemade soups, sandwiches, cakes and scones.
Finally, the very beautiful island of Mull, often overlooked by tourists, needs at least another day to fully appreciate all that it offers. Duart Castle, seat of the Clan McLean, stands sentinel on the approaches; the glorious gardens of Torosay Castle reached by Mull's own little railway; the pretty town of Tobermory with its colourwashed houses, distillery and much more.
The most common theme running through the comments in our Visitors' Book is 'We'll be back'. This part of Argyll offers so much more than we can describe here and visitors return again and again to savour more of its beauty and majesty. We hope you will want to come and spend a few days with us at Kilchrenan House and see Oban and the West Highlands for yourselves. You will not be disappointed.