Holiday 2014 – Oban

I called it a “babymoon”, mostly as a joke, but it was quite apt – this past weekend Connie, myself, and our unborn child, left Frank (he’s our dog) with his grandparents (my mum and dad, come on, keep up) for the first (of what will likely be many) overnight stays in the coming months. We headed up along the A82 and A85 towards Oban, the self-proclaimed seafood capital of Scotland, and a small guest house up a very steep hill.

The weekend was lovely, and we really lucked out with the weather. In Glasgow the weather was so bad that it cancelled a friends game of golf, whilst at the exact same time as they were giving up on the tenth hole, Connie and I were likely lying out in the sunshine on the Isle of Seil. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The journey up the A82 is one I never look forward to, to be honest. It’s a dreadfully busy road, and one that is far too small for the size of the vehicles that now travel it’s length, but it is a necessary evil when going that way. Luckily, we drove up late morning on Friday, which meant it was fairly quite most of the way, and dry for a good part of the drive too which is always good. A short stop off at Tarbet to use the bathroom, the next stop was Oban itself, quite different from the previous drive to Carradale Bay, which actually was our last holiday (if you, like we, don’t count our wedding in Canada as a holiday), because on that trip we stopped of a few times to do some walking about and seeing the sights as they were.

I’ve been to Oban twice in my life before, both times with Scouts. We have one of the best camp sites there, on Barnacarry Bay, just south of Oban harbour. It’s a nightmare to get to mind you, needing offroad vehicle access, and a 15 minute walk to the site from the road, but all said that adds to it’s charm. Oh, and have I mentioned it’s literally on the water’s edge? Well, yeah – it is, and by god, the sunsets are the best I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

The Friday was fairly overcast, but not cold. We ate our lunch, premade that morning, on a bench at the railway station and ferry port, watching the endless stream of unoccupied taxis park and chat to each other. The guest house was very close to the town centre, but up a fairly steep hill (as is most of Oban) and was very lovely. The car park was impossibly small, the bedroom was nice but tiny, and the guest house owner was lovely – we were referred to as the “Shields’s’s’s’” due to me stumbling over our name when introducing us when checking in.

We went to a lovely restaurant for dinner called Cuan Mor, somewhere a friend of mine has stated was somewhere he’d “been drunk in a lot” which was a good sign. I had a starter and then couldn’t eat my main course, and Connie too found her main to be vast, but delicious. I drank some of their own-brewed beer, and it was lovely – Skelpt Lug and Kilt Lifter, if I remember rightly, and both were tasty. Afterwards, and sensing I wanted to have a few beers more, we searched for a bar. We ended up in the Harbour Inn, underneath the Columba Hotel, and it seemed far sketchier that I’d expected. The seats were well worn, but the beer was cold and the barman was complaining about his wife. It was actually pretty good, I thought.

On Saturday we woke to a nice breakfast and weariness of the weather – it was supposed to rain all weekend, but I’ve already spoiled this twist earlier, because it didn’t. Not once. In fact, the whole time we were in Oban I am unsure if it rained one drop. After a quite consult with the Nexus’ map we decided to drive across the Atlantic Ocean (yep!) and head to the Isle of Seil and the small settlement of Ellenabeich. On the water across from the even small settlement of Easdale, the town is known for it’s slate production, and the small museum was amusing – photos of old mines, photos of the farm we camp on at Scouts (mentioned above) and even midwifery notes taken in the 19th century, which amused Connie a lot.

The weather was astonishing. I mean, just look at this place:




That afternoon we had an ice cream on the harbour side and enjoyed a bit of down time. We talked about something I’ve considered a lot recently, that Connie and I are quite content to go away on holiday and… well, holiday – we don’t need a lot of stuff to keep us interested any more, happy to wander around, with no plans, and maybe just relax back at the hotel for a bit. That was the point of this holiday – some relaxation and rest. That evening we headed to a Indian which was marginally sub-par, and then onto a local bar for a few more drinks and whiskies, before retiring to our room.

Oban is a really nice place, and we have already suggested going back next year, around the same time, with our then 10 month old child, and maybe Frank. Maybe.