Monday 3 August 2015
Craignure, Mull to Oban, Argyll and Bute
Corran House Hostel
It was raining again when I left the bunkhouse and headed just down the road to the Fishnish ferry terminal. I think this is the smallest and quietest ferry terminal on Mull and so I was in one of only 4 cars to board the ferry to Lochaline.
Back on the mainland I was once again in the Highlands for a short time as I headed up the West side of Loch Linnhe to Corran. Here I could get a ferry across the Loch, thus avoiding a 40 mile drive around the Loch, via Fort William. What a bonus to arrive and drive straight on board the packed ferry without having to queue.
The first of 3 bridges for today was the magnificent Ballachulish Bridge spanning the point where Lochs Linnhe and Leven meet.
A bit further along the coast there were good views of Castle Stalker, a Clan Campbell residence, marooned on a small island at high tide. The best views were from a well-positioned cafe so naturally I took full advantage and took a break.
Next up was Creagan Bridge, across Loch Creran and then finally Connel Bridge, which took me out of the Highlands and back into Argyll and Bute.
As I approached Oban I stopped at Dunstaffnage Castle for a quick look at one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. Built on a promontory overlooking the Firth of Lorn it has a great strategic position and is supposedly where the Stone of Destiny was brought from Ireland (later the Stone of Scone). It was once the seat of power for the rulers of Dalriada, the ancient Gaelic Kingdom that included much of Western Scotland and a bit of Northern Ireland.
As I approached Oban the sun started to come out for the evening and I could have camped but I’d already booked a hostel to escape the bad weather. I drove around Oban and along the front towards Dunollie Castle, the capital of the Kingdom of Lorn and the seat of the Clan Macdougall Chief, Lord of the Isles.
By the castle is a huge rock that is known as the dog stone. Folklore says this is where the Celtic mythological giant Fingal tethered his dog Bran.
I thought Oban was quite a good looking and busy town based around a port and sheltered by islands. For the best view I walked up the hill at the back of the town to McCaig’s Tower, a circular wall built to resemble the Colosseum.
A ridiculous folly but it’s a great view point to watch the sun setting over Oban Bay.
The hostel I was staying in was packed and I was sharing a cramped 6-person room with 5 blokes. I definitely should have camped! I decided to go for a nice meal to forget about the cramped, smelly room that awaited and so I splashed out on a good restaurant. The thing about being in my own is that places can often just fit me in without a reservation. I got lucky at Ee-Usk on the North Pier and had a lovely seafood dinner.