HFE Challenge 2008
photo by Ian Wilson

Oban is a town in the Scottish Highlands. It is the Seafood & Sea Kayaking Capital of Scotland and probably the whole Europe. It is also shopping and drinking capital of the north west, and home to the excellent of that name. Ferries run from here to Mull, Colonsay, Kerrera, Lismore, Islay, Coll, Tiree and the Outer Hebrides. Hence the tag Gateway to the Isles.


The Oban Tourist Office Argyll Square, 1631 563122, (Fax: +44 (0)1631 564273, info@oban.org.uk).


  • Alan Warner's . (best known for Morvern Callar - a novel made into a film - and The Man Who Walked) novels tell the story of everyday Oban life, and how better to describe Oban than in the himself.

Getting there

By boat

  • Caledonian MacBrayne, . The national ferry service. The summer 2009 timetable there are car ferries to Mull (daily 5-7 times per day, takes 45 minutes), Lismore (Mon - Sat 3-4 per day, 50 minutes), Coll and/or Tiree (5 per week, 3-4 hours), Colonsay (5 per week, 2.5 hours), Barra (daily, 5+ hours)and Lochboisdale on South Uist (4 per week, 5+ hours).

  • Dunstaffnage Marina, . Marina, boatyard and pub a few miles north of the town.

By train

  • The West Highland Line, . Most scenic way to get here from Glasgow. The station is right in the centre of town on the Harbour wall.

By Bus

  • Scottish Citylink, . Coaches from Glasgow, via Tyndrum or Inverary. Several coaches run per day- trip takes about 3 hours, longer during peak season. Buses often run in West Coast Motors livery.

Citylink coaches also run from Inverness - see the website for more details.

By Plane

  • Loch Lomond Seaplanes run a daily summer service from Glasgow, landing in Oban bay £149 return. Or fly to Glasgow Airport (GLA) and then take a taxi to Dumbarton Station (£10) & take the train from there to Oban.


  • McCaig’s Tower, . John Stuart McCaig - "... an eccentric testator....". This tower looks over the Oban bay. It takes about 15 minutes to walk up the hill by one of several signposted routes on roads, or by steps. There are good views of Kerrera and Mull and looking up the Sound of Mull.

  • Dunollie Castle, . Also known as Dunoille Castle. Ancient seat of the MacDougalls of Lorn. A small castle situated at the far end of the bay from the station - just walk in and up the hill.

  • Dunstaffnage Castle, . A castle about three miles North of Oban (buses leave from outside the station). Open daily in summer 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, 9.30 am to 4.30 pm daily except Thusday and Friday in winter.

Things to do

  • Oban Distillery

  • Mull & Iona Island Tours - Available from Bowmans Tours , Caledonian MacBrayne, Turus Mara or Gordon Grant Tours

  • War & Peace Exhibition - Museum detailing Oban's role in world wars. Free Admission

  • Joy of Scotland Landrover day tours of hidden Argyll... - Standing stones, castles, glens, mountains, lochs, characterful pubs and plenty of time to explore.

  • Puffin Diving - Dive centre

  • Sea.fari Adventures - High Speed Boat Rides

  • Scottish Sealife Sanctuary - See Fingal and Sula the Canadian river otters, common and grey seals and many other sea creatures. Around six miles north of Oban.

  • Murder Mystery Walking Trail (by Treasure Trails) , A great way to explore Oban whilst having fun solving clues. Buy booklet online or from local Tourist Information centre.

  • Sea Kayaking Tours , 44(0)1631 565 310, 8 Argyll Street, Oban, 5 mins from the station behind McT's, This is a well known kayak school & outfitter with daily tours and also multi day trips in this stunning sea kayaking area. You can paddle right out of the harbour or they will rent you a trolley and you can take your kayak on the ferries for free


  • Light of India - Indian cuisine.

  • Waterfront - seafood restuarant upstairs & bar with bar food downstairs, No1 The Pier, Oban, PA34 4LW.

  • Lorne Bar & good value bar meals Stevenson Street PA34 5NA.

  • The Barn, . Cologin, Lerags By Oban, PA34 4SE. 2 miles out of Oban

  • Ee-usk, . The red-roofed building on the North Pier. Specialises in seafood. Main courses (evening) from £11.95 to £59 for the Grand Platter (for two). Open 12-3pm and 6-10pm.

Buy fresh seafood from the kiosks on the Railway Pier and eat al fresco.


  • Markie Dan's Victoria Crescent, Corran Esplanade, PA34 5PN

  • O’Donnells Irish Bar Breadalbane St, PA34 5NZ.

  • Lorne Stevenson Street, PA34 5NA.

  • Cellar Bar.

  • Harbour Bar attached to The Columba Hotel, PA34 5QD on the North Pier

  • Aulay's, 8 Airds Crescent, PA34 5SQ.



  • Oban Backpackers, . Private hostel, relaxed, fun, clean and cosy. Landrover day tours of 'hidden Argyll' available leaving daily.

  • Corran House, small ensuite dorm rooms and private guest rooms, sea-front location.

  • Oban Backpackers Plus, . Centrally located, the comfort of a B&B at backpacker prices.

  • Oban Youth Hostel, . A SYHA hostel. 4, 6 and 8 bed dormitories housed in a large Victorian building, on the Esplanade. Great sea views. Within easy walking distance of the town centre.

  • Aros Ard a guest house 15 minutes walk from the city centre with a strong focus on environmental sustainability and has won several awards. Beds between £25-28 ppn.

  • Kerrera Tea Garden and Bunkhouse, . Not in Oban, but 5 minutes by ferry down the peninsula. On the island sheltering Oban harbour, looking out to Mull.

Mid range

  • Dun Na Mara Guesthouse , 01631 720233, 01631 720233, Benderloch, Oban

  • Oban Bay Hotel - Corran Esplanade, Oban, PA34 5AE, 01631 562051. Rooms from £47 ppn

  • Queens Hotel Corran Esplanade, Oban, PA34 5AG, 01631 562505.

  • Columba Hotel, The Esplanade, Oban, PA34 5QD, 01631 562183. Rooms generally £50-80 per room. As it is on the North Pier, rooms on three sides have sea views, some rooms at the back can be noisey from the pubs below.


  • The Manor House Hotel Gallanach Road, Oban, PA34 4LS, 01631 562087. Rooms £100+

  • Barcaldine House Hotel Barcaldine, Oban, Argyll, PA37 1SG, 01631 720540. Rooms £100+, Self catering cottages from ~£70

  • Head out West on a ferry to Mull amd Iona - the nearest and could be done in a day trip; or for an overnight stay on Coll, Tiree, Barra, South Uist.

  • Head North to Fort William - the direct bus may be better than the train changing at Crianlarich.

  • Go back South East towards Glasgow, maybe stopping at Tarbert, Inveraray, Loch Lomond, Helensburgh or Dumbarton.

Contact & location

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Ian Wilson, Bruce Cowan, Lombardo, Jan Smith, Roy Lathwell, William Murphy, Everjean, Shadowgate, Dieter Heiss

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This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Roundtheworld, Peter Fitzgerald, Andy Farrell, fiona hall, Nicole Judd, Pete Wright, Michele Ann Jenkins, Bill Johnson and Ian Kirk, AlasdairW, Scarwood, Morph, W66LinkBot, Vclaw, Jonboy, Rakkar, WindHorse and Huttite

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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