We spent a week at the end of July in Oban, which is a port town on the west coast of Scotland.


The journey from Glasgow (where we had stayed the night before) was on the West Highland Line, which has allegedly been voted the ‘most scenic railway line in the world’ on a couple of occasions, and is definitely very pretty. It also takes ages to go not very far, basically because there are quite a lot of mountains in the way. We weren’t in a hurry, so that was okay.

Once in Oban it didn’t take long to find where we were staying, above shops on the main road by the harbour. The flat was in a nice Victorian building and really big (a one-bedroom flat with two lounges, presumably in case the couple staying there really hate each other) and had a good view too.

Either one garage selling brakes, batteries, and bells, or possibly two different garages.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′38″N 5°28′16″W
Doorway to the flats.
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Stairs. The stone steps were nicely worn down in places.
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At night, the main road is lit by a string of coloured lights.

Inside the flat, with shadows from balcony ironwork.
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Ferry in the harbour.
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The road with coloured reflections, Columba Hotel, and a ship moored at the pier.
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We had a little wander around Oban.

Largely green door.
1/125 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′56″N 5°28′23″W


We walked around town, visited the small and quite interesting town museum, and tried out the Oban Chocolate Company tearoom (verdict: positive).

Shaped stone above entrance to flats.
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We took a short walk north of the town to visit Dunollie Castle - the actual castle tower is ruined. but the house lower down the hill is a museum.

View from the Dog Stone (so called because the giant Fingal tied up his dog there).
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Children’s toys in the museum.
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Archway into the area by the tower.
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Ruined wall and view toward the island of Kerrera.
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View out from the basement level of the tower.
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Scaffolding supports.
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Tower and tree.
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Tower and climbing plants.
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Afterward, we walked back into Oban.

View towards Mull with Kerrera, and a Mull ferry, in foreground.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°25′20″N 5°29′1″W
Part of the Regent Hotel, an art deco building (with slightly ugly extension up top).
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We climbed the hill to McCaig’s Tower, which is not really a tower. It’s basically a replica of the Colosseum with a park inside, because why not. The story is actually pretty neat – it was built mainly to provide employment for local workers during times when there was not much else going on – and the end result is also a really nice monument.

Some knitted vent posts, halfway up the hill.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′57″N 5°28′16″W
Inside the ‘tower’.
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Another view inside the tower.
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After visiting the tower, we went back down into Oban.

Chimney of Oban whisky distillery.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′53″N 5°28′13″W

Being gluttons for punishment, we then climbed the hill at the other side of town to reach the lookout point.

Part of the port.
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View of station, harbour, and town (McCaig’s tower in upper centre).
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Circular wrought iron bench.
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In the evening we went for a short stroll just after sunset.

Slipway, moorings, and Catholic cathedral in background.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′55″N 5°28′25″W
Moorings, with Kerrera island behind.
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View from flat towards Kerrera and (mountains in the distance) Mull.
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On Wednesday we went to visit the pumped hydro-electric power station at Cruachan, which is also a tourist attraction. It works by pumping water from Loch Awe up a mountain (Ben Cruachan) to a reservoir, overnight when electricity is going spare, then generating electricity by letting it flow down again at times when electricity is expensive.

Before our visit we took a short walk up the Ben Cruachan path (but with no intention of getting anywhere near the reservoir, let alone the summit).

Nice tree from path.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°23′42″N 5°6′47″W
Mysterious vent near path.
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Low bridge under railway (on the other side it says ‘Mind yer oops! head’, which is even better).
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I don’t really have any good pictures from the actual tour of the underground bit of the power station (you only get a view of the turbine hall through glass) but it was fairly entertaining, and included coloured lighting and plastic dinosaurs.

And some wiring conduits.
1/30 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO1600 56°23′36″N 5°6′44″W
1/250 at f11, 23mm, ISO200 56°23′39″N 5°6′59″W
River leading away from Loch Awe, with road clinging to side.
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Another view of the railway bridge.
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Thursday was our ferry trip - since we were staying in a ferry port, it seemed rude not to. We took the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to the Isle of Mull. Because of the good weather, the sea views were really great.

Sea and sky.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°26′46″N 5°34′50″W
More sea, more sky.
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Duart Castle.
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Once on Mull we took a long, rather expensive, but almost equally pretty bus ride to Tobermory, which is famous for being named after a Womble and for being the setting for a children’s TV programme that we haven’t seen.

A buoy of some kind, on the main road at Tobermory.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°37′22″N 6°3′57″W
Something open, and a red bike.
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View of the front, from the harbour pier.
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By stream running into the sea.
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Lots of signage at the distillery.
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View from bus window.
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Craignure ferry terminal.
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Mull, sea, and sky.
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Eilean Musdile lighthouse.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°27′1″N 5°36′42″W
Yet more sea and sky.
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Dunollie Castle (again) with Maiden Island to left.
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Part of Oban seafront.
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Our ferry arriving into Oban alongside another Mull ferry, with a small cruise ship behind.
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Part of Oban ferry port.
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Window near Oban Chocolate Company.
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We made another visit to the viewpoint to the south of town.

Wooden drum of wire.
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Blue house.
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Viewpoint with memorial stone.
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View over Kerrera to Mull.
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Later, after walking through town, we also revisited McCaig’s Tower.

Municipal Buildings.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′41″N 5°28′25″W
Balmoral Hotel. This is where the Queen stays when she’s in Oban.
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No parking, not even for 2 minutes.
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View through McCaig’s Tower (with Hutcheson’s Monument and a Mull ferry).
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View from outside tower.
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Tower arch and shadows.
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Tower and contrail.
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Tower and shadows.
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Tower again!
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In the evening we went for a final short walk along the seafront.

Part of the harbour with small boats.
1/15 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′52″N 5°28′26″W
Yacht moorings.
1/30 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 56°24′56″N 5°28′27″W
View to Kerrera.
1/25 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 56°25′12″N 5°28′52″W

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.