|Wikimedia Commons. View of Oban from Druim Mor. Photographer: Dorcas Sinclair|
Prior to the 19th century, few people lived in Oban. Its main industries were fishing, trading, ship building and quarrying. John and Hugh Stevenson were known as Oban's Founding Fathers. They established a boat building yard, a tannery and a brewery which became Oban distillery in 1794.
In 1847 Queen Victoria described Oban as "one of the finest spots we have seen." The railway followed in 1880 and Oban became a popular tourist attraction. Over a million people visit each year.
|"Oban Bay, Skottland", painted by Hans Gude in 1889|
Click on the above painting to see what Oban looked like in 1889.
Oban is now considered a resort town. The general population is just over 8000 but during the high season, summer, the number of inhabitants can rise to 25,000.
To me Oban is like a little city or maybe a wee city. :) The first time I started driving through it, I almost panicked because it really looks and feels like a bigger city at first. But before I knew it, we were in the country again. I was shocked at how small it actually was in terms of the space it occupies. It isn't all that difficult to drive through, but more fun than that is walking through it and looking at all the beautiful historic buildings.
We stayed in a cottage about four miles from Oban. On our first day there, we decided to explore part of Oban. We parked on the side of a street and had breakfast in a tiny cafe. Great food! After that we walked toward the waterfront to do some shopping. Oban has several grand old hotels. Above is the Caledonian.
A nice view of the waterfront. Kayakers were out. It was a beautiful day.
|Boats and islands on the opposite side of the bay.|
|A grand Victorian hotel, the Columba Hotel.|
|The Iona Shop and Caledonian Hotel|
|Another shot of the Caledonian.|
|More waterfront buildings.|
|A lovely boat or yacht and the islands beyond.|
This is a view of the bay from on board the ferry as we headed out to Isle of Mull a couple days later. It was a cold, windy, cloudy day.
|Clocktower outside Oban Station|
|View of Oban, near the harbor with McCaig's Tower in the background.|
|The Royal Hotel and the Commonwealth flags in Argyll Square|
|The Royal Hotel|
I took this picture the next day when the weather was too windy and rainy to do more than shop late in the afternoon. It was so bad the ferries couldn't run. Still, it wasn't a bad day because we got to shop for goodies and souvenirs.
Hope you've enjoyed this brief visit to Oban. :)
P.S. I donated a Scotland Basket to the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research. It has lots of Scottish goodies in it, some of which I bought in Oban. Click the below picture to make it larger.