In 1773 during a tour of Scotland, Doctor Johnson and Boswell visited
Oban and found 'a tolerable inn'. Well, at least they found something
open. I visited Oban in January and found stuff shut. As well as a
number of closed coffee houses, practically all of the town's tourist
attractions were closed: the distillery, the museum, and the chocolate
factory. All that was really missing were big gates at either end of
George Street with signs saying, 'OBAN CLOSED - GO AWAY AND LEAVE US
ALONE.' I mean, cripes... what are you tourism guys and guyesses playing
at? I suppose, in all fairness, that it's a chicken and egg thing: what
came first - the tourist or the tourist attraction? I'm inclined to
think that once you start to shut things down at certain times of the
year you're on a slippery slope to nowhere.
Anyway, the train journey from Glasgow to Oban is without doubt one of the
finest, most exhilarating and most scenic in the world. The little train
clings precariously by its fingertips to the side of massive mountains
offering stunning vistas down into magical glens where castle ruins peep
above misty lochs. It is truly wonderful. Sections at Loch Lomond, Loch
Awe, and the Pass of Brander are particularly fine, and it is a train
journey worth doing
for the window view alone.
And once in Oban there are in fact things to do. As well as the simple
pleasure of being somewhere new, you can gaze across the Sound of
Kerrera and plan a ferry-trip somewhere else. But you'll be back.
THE SOUND OF KERRERA AT SUNSET
OBAN AND McCAIG'S FOLLY
A RUSTING HULK IN AN OBAN SUNSET
You can get a train to Oban from Glasgow Queen Street Railway Station.