Monday, 30 September 2013

Oban, Argyll

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After leaving Hill House in Helensburgh, I had the pleasure of travelling on two of my favourite roads in the UK. The A82 alongside Loch Lomond would be one of them, not quite for the scenic value as there are a lot of tree restricted views initially but also for the concentration factor on the road. It may be surprising to some but I love the scenic variety, peace and relaxation of the A85 from Tyndrum to Oban. In fact I was so relaxed at this point that I compiled a top 10 favourite road list in my head !!

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Oban Bay, the Island of Kerrera (foreground) and Isle of Mull (background)
On reaching the destination of Oban, the seasoned visitor knows that it is not the end of the journey but the beginning of so much more as the town has been branded as The Gateway to the Isles. Standing on the promenade or up on the hillside entices the traveller to sample a boat trip or two...

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On that note, it is advisable to bring a moneytree with you to plant in the Guest House garden in order that you might get some return later in the week :-)

Regular readers may not know that I have already visited here on a very long day out by charter train. Post number 3, the Oban blog, was a bit simplistic and primitive as I began my blog journey but provided a taster to the town but more importantly the magnificent scenery of the West Highland (railway) line.

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Two things dominate the town and indeed the skyline. Chronologically, the first thing is the distillery that can be seen with the chimney behind the promenade. It's fair to say that apart from the occasional castle or two, nothing much happened in Oban before the building of the distillery in 1794.

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The town subsequently grew as a result of the port by having sea trading links to Glasgow and Liverpool.

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Secondly, McCaig's Tower or Folly on the hillside is a unique structure that always provides a bit of mystery, intrigue and gossip.

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John Stuart McCaig wanted to provide some winter work for stonemasons, so he came up with a plan to design a 200 metre circumference building based on the Colosseum in Rome.

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The £5000 cost wasn't a problem to him but his health was as he died of a heart problem 5 years into the construction in 1902.

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The finished concept complete with an art gallery and museum with a central tower would have been bizarre with statues depicting himself and all generations of his family. There always seems to be a bit of doubt to that story as the outer shell is complete with no progress on the next phase.

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It seems that Oban has been saved from that and gained an unusual park with a great viewpoint.

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It would seem that the Oban war memorial of 1923 was a development of a sculpture that additionally may have been a modern standing stone developed from other monuments such as the one at Killin.

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A rare sighting of the MV Clansman arriving in Oban Bay ... 10 pm

The image above reminds me that in Oban there is a standard level of adventure where people opt to do the same routine day tours. Some of these as I'll show you in the next few posts are top class, but once completed, people want to move on to either somewhere else or in my case something else. I managed to sample two out of the ordinary travel things that I look forward to sharing with you later in this batch of posts. With regards to the Caledonian Macbrayne Ferries, I wanted to sample the MV Clansman and MV Lord of the Isles but this proved difficult by both staying in serviced accommodation and wanting to catch up with so many wonderful things for the first time in digital. Most of the sailings on these two vessels were advertised as cruises with no time to get off the ship and explore, some of which departed or returned at unearthly hours. On a long routine tourist day out, it was difficult to arrange travel for the next day as the office was closed on returning to base. However I spent some time throughout the week researching how I can do this on specific days of the week that link with the unbelievable variations in the ferry service. With this in mind, I managed to purchase an island walking book in the MV Isle of Mull gift shop which gives you a clue that I was very rarely in Oban during shop opening hours ! ... hence the mainly night photography.

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A rare moment of two ferries in Oban Bay at the same time ... The MV Clansman coming to join the MV Isle of Mull (already rested for the night by over 2 hours)

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I'll leave you with a few peaceful shots from the North Pier as the the town settles down for the night ...

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Unless of course you buy a bag of Fish and Chips ......

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9 comments:

  1. Jay....I know it's a photogenic place but these images are all stunning. Have you been taking lessons....That's cheating!
    Seriously, congratulations. A superb feast for my eyes.

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    1. No lessons Adrian ! It was nice to be able to have no time pressures of others with the photography and I love staying somewhere different with an overnight stop where there is tripod potential.

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  2. Well worth all your effort. Brilliant shots one and all. You inspire me and it's good you have got your head back where it belongs.
    Tripods make a photographer think. For an inanimate bit of kit they are invaluable, they concentrate the mind.

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  3. Beautiful shots. My favorites are the ones of the North Pier settling down for the night.

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  4. WOW!! A stunning series of photographs. Thank you :-)

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  5. My vacation came, sadly, to an end, so I will be able to follow your blog again, J_on _tour! I like the last photos, with the dramatic sky.

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  6. Tag me along in your trips next time, Jayz. I wanna photograph these wonderful places too. :) Can't stop looking at your photos esp those sunset photos. This post makes me dream!

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  7. Wow, J, there are several of these that I'd like to see hanging on my wall! What beautiful photos. The night shots are thrilling. That inky sky in the third from last, I think it is, captured me completely.

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  8. Wow. Those flowers are really lovely to watch. Those are the wonderful things that Argyll offers the visitors. But wait. There is more. whale watching argyll is one of the fantastic things to see in Argyll too.

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