Argyll & Isle of Bute
Hotels & Things to see & do in Argyll & Isle of Bute
Oban the "Gateway to the Isles" is one of the West Highlands main resorts, and has been a popular destination for centuries. Oban boasts one of the most picturesque settings, dominated by McCaigs Tower, a coliseum-style arena, erected in 1897. There are houses clinging to steep hillsides, overlooking the busy harbour, calm bay and looking out towards the Hebridean Isles. All Classics Oban hotels have seafront locations, so you can sit in the lounges and watch the world go by, see the ferries plying their trade and the many smaller yachts and pleasure boats enjoying the fabulous cruising opportunities the Argyll coastline provides.
Its not just Oban which is worth a visit. The islands you can reach from Oban are full of history and intrigue and recommend whilst staying in Oban you take one of the ferries operated by Caledonian McBrayne. The most popular is the 45 minute sailing to the Isle of Mull. From here you can see the colourful capital Tobermory, visit Torosay Castle and its gardens, or travel over to the small island of Iona, the resting place of over 100 Scottish Kings and a mecca for thousands of visitors from every corner of the globe.
Heading south the Isle of Easdale is a tranquil island, and you access the island by driving over the "Bridge over the Atlantic". On the island there are many local craft shops, a micro brewery and the scenery is second to none. Turquioise waters now fill the old slate quarries, & there are many islands dotting the landscape. Impressive Cliffs rise from the sea. The island was made famous in the film "Ring of Bright Water".
To get to the Kintyre peninsula you have to drive through Inveraray, some 30 miles from Oban. Inveraray is a small town, population around 500, and is well known for its old jail, where thousands of prisoners were transported to the colonies ( USA and Australia) in the 17th,18th and 19th centuries. The drive south to Tarbert on Loch Fyne, hugs the coastline, and every corner you turn unfolds another highland vista. It is from near Tarbert the Caledonian McBrayne ferries depart on their cruises to Isles of Jura and Islay. Islay is well worth the 90 minute cruise. An island which has been described as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and home to 8 whisky distilleries and 30,000 barnacle geese, so a must for those who are keen on bird watching.
To the north of Oban, the main road crosses Connel Bridge over Loch Awe and continues up to Fort William which is only 40 miles away. To the east of Oban, the road twists and turns round Loch Awe, and through the pass of Brander. Here at Ben Cruachan , ther is a dam half way up a mountain providing power. You can explore the visitor centre and the power station, built inside the mountain and known as the "Hollow Mountain"
Most visitors to Oban and Argyll come for the scenery and peace and quiet. Although the area is also well known for other activities:
Theres something special about islands, about the romance the island atmosphere attracts, about the sense of adventure travelling by sea and Argylls Atlantic islands are in abundance, many of which are now uninhabited. Most of the island cruises depart from Oban although there are ferry services from the lively fishing village of Tarbert. The islands bring together a wealth of interest for the visitor. Ancient castles, over 3000 archaeological sites, 44 sites of special Scientific interest, over 30% of Scotlands Marine Conservations area, the cradle of Christianity on Iona. In addition there is the array of plants, birds and animals, many are rarely found outwith Argyll. Islay and Colonsay being the most well known.