Episode 2 – Oban

In this episode we will tell you all about the town of Oban.

Adventures Around Scotland – A Scotland Travel Blog

West Highland Yachting Week

Wild for Scotland Podcast – An Immersive Travel Podcast

Piazza Restaurant In Oban Scotland | Italian Restaurant | Where To Eat (piazzaoban.com)

Cuan Mor Restaurant Oban | Best Restaurants Oban

Nories Fish & Chips | Oban (facebook.com)

Oban Fish and Chip Shop :: Home

Barriemore Oban, Room only accommodation on the West Coast of Scotland

Ferries to Scotland & Scottish Isles | Caledonian MacBrayne | CalMac Ferries

Oban (warmemorialsonline.org.uk)

Oban War & Peace Museum :: Home (obanmuseum.org.uk)

History| MacDougall | Things to do in Oban | Dunollie Museum, Castle & Grounds

Ganavan Sands, Oban – Beaches | VisitScotland

OBAN Single Malt Scotch Whisky | Official Site (obanwhisky.com)

McCaig’s Tower – Wikipedia

Jacob’s Ladder, Oban [6 photos] in NM86023012 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland


Oban Lorn Shinty Club – Ladies Team (facebook.com)

Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel | Historic Environment Scotland

Oban Seafood Hut.. (Green Shack) – Seafood Restaurant in Oban (business.site)

Handmade Chocolates from Oban, Argyll, Scotland (obanchocolate.co.uk)

Markie Dans :: Home

The View Oban | Restaurant, Bars and Live Music in Oban (obanview.com)

Now Playing (obanphoenix.com)

Home | Friends of Kilbride

Isle of Mull – Wikipedia

Isle of Iona – Home (welcometoiona.com)

Isle Of Staffa Visitor Guide – Accommodation, Things To Do & More | VisitScotland

Home | IKDT – Isle of Kerrera Development Trust

Home :: Isle of Lismore

Explore the Isle of Lismore – Hebridean Land Rover Tours (explorelismore.co.uk)

Oban Lesbian Weekend

Oban – Wikipedia

About Oban | Love Oban

Mccaig’s Tower, Oban – Historic Buildings & Homes | VisitScotland

This Coastal Town Is Scotland’s Best-kept Secret — With Award-winning Whisky, Breathtaking Landscapes, and Outdoor Adventures


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Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and written by Dawn Young

Edited by Erin Ferguson

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Hosted by Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 2 of Scottish Digest.


In episode one we told you all about Girvan as this is where Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland is from, and so this week we’ll be telling you all about Oban, as this is where I grew up. I’ll be giving you my personal stories from living in Oban, places I enjoyed visiting and eating at, and we’ll hear later in the episode from Susanne about her time visiting Oban, and about a couple of events that take place in Oban each year [Music] Okay, first up, where is Oban? Oban is a seaside town on the west coast of Scotland, about a two hour and 22 minute drive northwest of Glasgow and a two hour and 40 minute drive southwest of Inverness. And it has a population, according to oban.org.uk,  of about 8,500, one of which is my cousin, although in the tourist season this grows to over 24,000. Oban is a Gaelic word which means Little Bay, and it’s known as the Gateway to the Isles, and when my husband and I visited Oban last year to see family, we travelled by Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, where we stayed for a couple of nights, and Mull is one of the many islands that can be reached from Oban. Over the recent years, Oban has also become known as the Seafood Capital of Scotland, as there are now so many places that offer fresh seafood. When I was growing up there the best place to get fresh seafood was from a seafood van on the South Pier, right where the fishing boats docked. Nowadays Oban has many restaurants where you can enjoy the best quality seafood, while gazing over the water. If seafood is not your thing then there’s Piazza, an Italian restaurant situated on the North Pier, which was a particular favourite of my Aunt’s until she sadly passed away, and my husband, Peter, and I have also enjoyed eating here when we visited Oban. If however you are like my cousin and prefer steak or venison, then there’s always the Cuan Mor restaurant. While there is still seafood on the menu here, there’s also homemade steak pies, which is my cousin’s go-to, venison lasagne, and they also cater for vegetarians and vegans with such food as the ultimate vegan burger.  And then there’s the puddings, with sticky toffee pudding, my cousin’s favourite, double chocolate fudge ice cream sundaes, and even vegan waffles, which was my husband’s favourite, with so much to choose from there’s bound to be something on the menu for everyone. But you might not want to have a sit-down meal, you might want to grab a bag of fish and chips and have a walk along the seafront, well there’s plenty of fish and chip shops to choose from too. My cousin’s absolute favourite is Nories, a long time family-run chip shop, and from when we were young my two cousins would always get their fish and chips from Nories without fail. Me on the other hand always got, and still do when I visit Oban, my fish and chips from the award-winning Oban Fish and Chip shop, and Rick Stein also agrees with me with him saying it was the “best fish and chips I’ve ever tasted”. Both chip shops are located at the top of George Street, which is the main street through Oban. But there are so many other places you can eat in Oban, clearly everyone has a favourite, and Susanne will tell you about her’s later in the episode. Okay, so after eating all that delicious food you might fancy a wee walk, and what better place to walk than along the seafront, which is just beautiful. If you carry on walking on the pavement along the waterfront it will take your past hotels and the youth hostel on your right hand side sitting back from the main road. If you keep walking round to your left you’ll then be on the Corran Esplanade. You will begin walking past larger hotels, St. Columba’s Cathedral, and if you keep going you will then start to see smaller hotels and guest houses. Right at the end of the Esplanade, and the guest houses, you will come across the Barriemore guest house, and this is where my sister and I stayed the last time we visited Oban together a few years ago, and it was a lovely stay. We stayed in the room on the first floor just to the left of the doorway, and we would sit on the comfy chairs by the window and just watch the Caledonian MacBrayne boats traveling back and forwards. We’d highly recommend this accommodation, it was comfy, clean, had beautiful views, and the owners were so friendly. But we did have a car and it is quite a walk, but there are many other places to stay in and around Oban town centre. So, I hope that gives you a few ideas of where you can eat and stay if you visit Oban. So, back at the Barriemore guest house, just across the road from it is the Oban War Memorial, which June 2023 marks 100 years since the memorial was unveiled. From this viewpoint you can look back and see Oban laid out before you. From this point onwards there is no longer a pavement and the roads are narrower, but locals are used to people walking on this road, we’ve been doing it since I was a wee girl when me, my mum, aunt and cousins at weekends used to walk all the way to the end, as this is where Ganavan Sands is, where we played on the beach and on an old wooden boat that had been abandoned there. I also got to drive a car for the first time at Ganavan in the car park when I was about nine. It was supposed to be my aunt learning to drive in the car park but she wasn’t confident so I had a shot instead. My gran also used to take me out here and let me practice driving in the huge car park before I passed my test. It’s changed a bit now as massive houses have been built there, but it is still a great place to go. If walking on the beach or having an ice cream is not for you there’s also paths over wee hills that you can take, if you’re looking for a bit of exercise. However, before you get there, once you’ve turned the corner just after the War Memorial you’re onto Ganavan Road, and you’ll see a castle up on the hill straight ahead. This is Dunollie Castle. And you’ll see a road off to the right when you get nearer the castle, which will take you to the castle, museum and grounds, which is all very civilised as in our day when we were young we would also visit the castle up on the hill on the weekends we walked out to Ganavan, however, there was no museum or road, we all had to sprackle, which means climb, up through the woods at the side of the castle ruins. But like I said before I love old castles, ruins or otherwise, so it was worth it for me, and the views over to the Isle of Kerrera are magnificent. And also a fun fact, my sister is in a line to inherit this castle, if a certain number of people were to die before she did. If you continue along this road it will eventually take you out at Ganavan Sands. It is a bit of a walk but lovely once you get there. So, that’s me told you a wee bit about what I did when I was young, but there’s more to Oban than castles, sandy beaches and food. Oban also has its own whisky distillery, which, according to obanwhisky.com, was founded in 1794 and sits 208 steps from the sea, and is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland being 46,069 square feet or 4,279 square metres, which is just larger than an acre. So, if whisky is your thing you can take a tour and have a wee sample. For all the years I was an adult living in Oban, I have never been to the distillery. Whisky isn’t my thing, but I hear the tour is great. Now, if you stand on the North Pier and look back at the town of Oban, you’ll see up on the hill above Oban a circular structure that dominates the landscape. This is called Mccaig’s Tower. It was commissioned by John Stewart Mccaig and was built between 1897 and 1902, with the aim to not only be a monument to his family but also to give work to local stonemasons during the winter months. According to Wikipedia, it has a circumference of about 200 metres or 660 feet and has two tiers of 94 lancet arches, 44 on the bottom and 50 on the top. It is quite a climb up to Mccaig’s Tower on foot, but when you get there you’ll find lovely gardens, and the views across Oban Bay to the Islands of Kerrera, Lismore and Mull are spectacular. One way of making your way up to Mccaig’s Tower is via Jacobs Ladder, which just means a lot of steps, 144 to be exact, and near the top it is quite steep. Access to Jacobs Ladder is located at the top of Tweedale Street at the side of the Congregational Church. Jacobs Ladder will take you out onto Ardconnel Road, and from here it’s just a short walk along Ardconnel Road until you come out at a kind of crossroads, and here you take the steep hill up to Mccaig’s Tower. But if you look up at this point you will see it looming over you. Again, me, my mum, aunt and cousins used to regularly walk up to Mccaig’s Tower on a weekend and play in the gardens and look at the views . It was worth doing that climb again and again. When we weren’t walking out to Ganavan Sands or climbing up to Mccaig’s Tower, we would also attend Mossfield Park regularly, where a lot of the events taking place in Oban were held, such as all our school sports events and our bonfire nights, as well as shinty matches, which is a huge sport in Oban, for men and women, and my cousin was not only a founding member of the Oban Ladies Team, now called Oban Lorn, but the Oban Ladies Shinty Team was one of the first members of the Ladies Shinty League. There are plenty of other events that take place in and around open, but first here’s Susanne to tell you about her trip to Oban and what she loves about it.


Hi, I’m Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland travel blog, and in today’s episode I’m going to be sharing some of my recommendations for one of my favourite places in Scotland, and that’s the town of Oban. I’ve visited Oban many times over the years. It’s located on a lovely part of Scotland’s West Coast and it’s known as the Seafood Capital of Scotland and the Gateway to the Isles. It’s a popular place for stopping off on the way to many of the West Coast Islands and also as a base for exploring the surrounding region of Argyll. When you first arrive in the town you can’t miss Mccaig’s Tower which dominates the skyline. It looks a bit like an unfinished coliseum and lots of people just take a photo from a distance. However, I recommend following the trail uphill and heading inside, where you can head to one of the windows and take in the sweeping views across the town and out to the islands beyond Oban Bay. I know lots of visitors to Scotland enjoy exploring castles when they’re traveling around and luckily Oban has two on the doorstep; Dunollie, which is the ancestral home of the Clan McDougall and Dunstaffnage, where Flora MacDonald was held before she was sent to the Tower of London for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after Culloden. Some of the opening times are seasonal so if you are planning to visit I recommend checking their website first, just to make sure they are open before you go. If you’re looking for the full Scottish experience of castles and whisky, Oban’s a great option because it is also home to Oban Distillery, which is one of the few whisky distilleries along the west coast, and it also happens to be a really good one, so that’s another reason for visiting. You can book on a tour and of course sample one of the local drams at the end. And while you’re in the Seafood Capital of Scotland, if you’re a seafood fan it would be rude not to try some of the local seafood, and there are lots of opportunities to do this in Oban. There are some great fish and chip shops and waterfront restaurants, but people in the know head down to a little green hut on the pier near to the ferry terminal. It’s called The Seafood Hut, and you’ll know it when you see it because there’s always a queue up the pier, and it specialises in fresh shellfish and it’s great for a little takeaway lunch by the harbour. If you’re looking for something a wee bit sweeter, then head to Oban Chocolate Company Café. They make their own handmade chocolates which are just delicious, and if the weather isn’t so nice it’s also a great place to get a nice rich hot chocolate. It’s one of the many independent shops and makers that are dotted around the town centre so make sure you do walk up the high street, and it’s a lovely place to find a nice unique souvenir to take home. In the evening, one of the things I get asked about a lot is pubs with live music, and Oban has a few of those.  Markie Dans is a popular choice. But I think anyone wanting to continue with the full-on Scottish theme, after a day of whisky and castles, should head to The View for one of their Ceilidh nights. If you’ve never been to a Scottish Ceilidh before don’t worry they talk you through the dances, and you’re guaranteed to have lots of fun. But also if you’ve been indulging on the whisky, chocolates and seafood throughout the day, it’s also a great workout and you’ll burn off a few calories. But if that sounds a little bit too strenuous then I recommend heading to the Phoenix Cinema, it’s a little gym in the town.  The historic cinema actually closed down in 2010 and was saved by the local community and it’s now an independent community-owned cinema, so it’s a nice way to have a quiet night out and support the community whilst you’re visiting. Despite going to Oban many many countless times over the years, I only recently discovered Kilbride, which is just south of Oban. You’ll find ruins of a historic church and the surrounding graveyard where the chiefs of the Clan MacDougall were laid to rest. And it’s actually been a site of Christian worship since at least the 6th century. It’s tucked away off the main road so it’s easy to miss, but if you make the effort to follow the narrow country road it’s quite a haunting atmosphere and some fantastic scenery. I only found out about it because I was staying nearby, and it just reminded me that, no matter how well you think you know an area, there’s always something new to discover. And I love just taking random turns off main roads, and it’s where I’ve discovered some of the most interesting things on my travels. So that’s something always to keep in mind, if you have the time you might want to go and investigate a little off the beaten rack.  And with so many islands accessible from Oban it would be a shame not to include a little bit of island hopping during your stay. And although many visitors head for well-known islands like Mull, Iona and Staffa, I always recommend taking the path less trodden and escaping the crowds. One of the ways to do that is by heading over in the short crossing to the isle of Kerrera. There’s some fantastic walking trails, a castle and a popular tea room that opens over the summer. Another option is to head out to the Island of Lismore, where some of my ancestors are actually from. Explore Lismore offer Land Rover and paddle boarding tours, and they also offer something which I think sounds quite unique, and that’s a shepherding experience, where you head out with a local shepherd and his Collie dogs to herd some sheep. So, that’s just some of the great things I think there are to do in Oban, but there’s plenty more to discover so definitely add it to your Scotland travel plans. And if you’re looking for more suggestions of things to do in Scotland, you can find them on my travel blog at Adventures Around Scotland and also on my Facebook and Instagram channels.

DawnI hope between Susanne and myself we’ve given you a good idea of what Oban is like and what you can do and see there. Now onto the events.


Well there’s the Oban Lesbian Weekend, which is returning this year for its second year from the 28th to the 31st of July. If however you prefer an event that takes place on the water around Oban, then there’s the West Highland Yachting week from the 29th of July to the 4th of August 2023. Here’s Laura to tell you more.

Hi, I’m Laura from The Joint Regatta Committee who organise West Highland Yachting Week. It’s a week-long celebration of sailing and social events set in the breathtaking natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands. This will be our 75th year and we’re very excited to celebrate the sails from all over coming together to participate in this wonderful event. The Regatta is one of a kind, as it moves to different destinations throughout the week; beginning on Saturday the 29th of July, competing yachts race to Craobh in two feeder races, the first starting from Oban Bay and the other from the Isle of Gigha. After racing around the waters of Craobh on Sunday, the fleet takes part in the first of three Passage races on Monday, which takes them up to Oban. After Tuesday is spent rounding the buoys in the Lynn of Lorne, they then race to Tobermory on the Wednesday, where, after racing in the Sound of Mull, on Thursday, the fleet returns to Oban and the final Passage race on Friday the 4th of August. The event attracts sailors of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned professionals and family crews. It offers a variety of racing classes in spinnaker and restricted sail fleets, with the option to take part in just the Passage races or even just one or two days, ensuring that everyone can participate and compete in the way that suits them. Whether you’re racing a sleek modern yacht or a classic wooden vessel, there’s plenty of options for you. But it’s not just about the races. West Highland Yachting Week is also well known for its vibrant social scene. After a day on the water, the organising committee ensure that throughout the week there are various social events, including ceilidhs, live music, beach parties, baking competition and inflatable races. We also aim to keep the kids entertained with crabbing competitions, games and quizzes, there really is something for everyone. One of the highlights of West Highland Yachting Week is the stunning scenery. The Regatta takes place in some of the most picturesque areas of Scotland, with dramatic mountains, sparkling lochs and rugged coastline providing a breath-taking backdrop for the races. If you’re not participating in the races but still want to experience the event, you can come and be a spectator. Many people line the shores to watch the yachts glide through the waters, and nothing beats seeing the entire fleet, usually around 80 boats, racing along with their spinnakers up, that’s the big bright sails at the front. It’s truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re a sailor or a spectator, West Highland Yachting Week offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself on the water and forge friendships with people who share your passion for sailing. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable sailing experience, or just want to find out where you can watch, come and visit our website www.whyw.co.uk to find out more information, and we’d love for you to join us.

Dawn – What I remember from this event is the whole of Oban Bay being absolutely packed with yachts of all sizes during this week. It was beautiful to see. If yachting, partaking or watching, is for you, then you can find out more information from whyw.co.uk. So, if you have been enchanted by the wonders of Oban and would either like more information or help in planning a trip here, you can visit adventuresaroundscotland.com and Susanne will be more than happy to help you. We hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to Oban. I’m going to leave you with a trailer for the absolutely fantastic podcast Wild for Scotland hosted by Kathi. This is an immersive travel podcast that is so well written and told by Kathi that you could actually be there with her on her trips around Scotland. It’s a beautifully produced podcast. So we hope you join us next time for another slice of Bonnie Scotland. Hello there! My name is Kathi Kamleitner,  and I’m here to tell you about my podcast Wild for Scotland. If you enjoy traveling, spending time outside or simply relaxing to a good story, check out Wild for Scotland and join me for inspiring journeys, from the cobbled streets of Edinburgh to the sandy beaches of the Western Isles. This Spring we’ll explore the historic heart of five wild lands in unexpected places and up and down the West Coast. Think of it like story time for adults that inspires you to pack your bags and head out to explore. So join me on the Wild for Scotland podcast. Listen now wherever you get your podcasts.


Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.