August 13, 2022

From McCaig’s Tower on the hill above the harbour you could really feel quickly transported to the capital of Italy in the course of the days of the Romans.

For this ‘tower’ is nothing of the type. As an alternative, it takes the type of a large, granite amphitheatre, 650ft in circumference and based mostly on the Colosseum in Rome.

The unimaginable construction was in-built 1897 by native businessman, philanthropist and eccentric John Stuart McCaig, who meant to fee statues of himself and his household to be dotted across the website.

Colosseum lookalike: Pictured within the centre background is McCaig’s Tower, which seems to be out over Oban

McCaig’s Tower (pictured) was built in 1897 by local businessman, philanthropist and eccentric John Stuart McCaig

McCaig’s Tower (pictured) was in-built 1897 by native businessman, philanthropist and eccentric John Stuart McCaig

The aim, aside from guaranteeing his posterity, was to offer work for stonemasons throughout a downturn within the native economic system. However he died earlier than these plans have been realised they usually have been by no means accomplished.

Being a serious ferry port for the Hebrides — Caledonian MacBrayne (recognized to all as CalMac) has a terminal right here — there’s a sense that Oban is a transient place.

Many individuals merely move by it on their technique to the likes of the Isle of Mull, Lismore, Iona and Coll. But, for that reason, it makes an ideal base for exploring the world, as Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell present in 1773, having discovered ‘a tolerable inn’, as described in Dr Johnson’s A Journey To The Western Islands Of Scotland. 

Tours explaining the painstaking process of making whiskey are organised at The Oban Distillery, as are tastings

Excursions explaining the painstaking course of of constructing whiskey are organised at The Oban Distillery, as are tastings 

A local single malt. The Oban Distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland, dating from 1794, Tom reveals

A neighborhood single malt. The Oban Distillery is without doubt one of the oldest in Scotland, courting from 1794, Tom reveals

In the meantime, in 1814, Sir Walter Scott waxed lyrical of the city’s little Dunollie Citadel. ‘I’ve seldom seen a extra romantic and pleasant scenario,’ he wrote.

Different artists to drop by quickly after included the composer Felix Mendelssohn (in 1829), poet William Wordsworth (1831) and painter J. M. W. Turner (1831). 

For some time within the mid-Nineteenth century it appears as if Oban was scorching property in inventive circles.

Maybe the whisky had one thing to do with it. 

The Oban Distillery is without doubt one of the oldest in Scotland, courting from 1794.

Earlier than it was based, the city relied on small-scale fishing, shipbuilding and quarrying, however the arrival of whisky circled native fortunes, with homes constructed for staff and hostelries arising. 

Excursions explaining the painstaking course of of constructing the tipple are organised, as are tastings.

At these, you’re supplied with ‘4 wee drams’ of various ages, advised that you need to by no means put ice in whisky, and that it ought to be served at room temperature.

Tom took a day trip to the tiny island of Kerrera, where he trekked to see the ruins of Gylen Castle (pictured)

Tom took a day journey to the tiny island of Kerrera, the place he trekked to see the ruins of Gylen Citadel (pictured) 

You might be additionally invited to note ‘mouth-filling late autumn fruits’, ‘hints of orange zest and cloves’, in addition to Highland toffee and crimson berries. The close by Oban Inn, established in 1790, is the place to maintain the social gathering going, with its previous sea charts on the partitions, captains’ wheels, portholes, first-rate battered fish, mussels and sea- salty, no-nonsense ambiance.

‘Don’t wish to go to heaven — none of my associates are there,’ is the inscription carved on one desk.

A pair of day journeys by ferry enlivened our keep. One to the tiny island of Kerrera: two miles by 5 miles, and best for a stroll with a stop-off to see the ruins of Gylen Citadel.

This was as soon as a MacDougall clan stronghold till it was besieged by Covenanter troops in 1647. Turner crammed his sketch e-book with drawings of its dramatic setting.

The opposite was to Mull, stopping on the little city of Tobermory, with its delightfully vibrant buildings, artwork galleries and the wonderful Mishnish inn — blazing hearth, good music, glorious oysters and seafood chowders.

Oban will get busy in summer time. At the moment of yr, it has an unhurried air — and a assured one. These literary associations and single malts might need one thing to do with it.