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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Scotland - 20 May, 2004



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Tarbert (Southcliffe B&B) N5551.907' W00524.463' 17 meters .
Kilmartin . . . .
Finish Oban (Glenroy Guest House) N5525.000' W00528.457' 16 meters 112 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

3,630 km

Total (other):

1,055 km


4,685 km


Weather: Partly cloudy, occasional sun, windy, very occasional light showers and cool (about 12C).



We have a very filling breakfast in our B&B - good cereals, fruits and yoghurts, followed by a huge cooked breakfast.  While we are loading up the car, we have a brief rain shower, but it soon blows through.  The sun shines through the clouds once again.  Soon after we drive off we are able to put our top down (once it had a chance to dry a bit).  We are now heading up north to Oban, through some very beautiful countryside.


In addition to the natural beauty, there are numerous ancient human artifacts dotting the countryside.  It is amazing to see all these features scattered throughout the farm fields still in use today.  These 5,000 year old traces of human history are located up and down the Kilmartin valley and include burial cairns, rock carvings, standing stones and other relics.  We make a number of stops along the roadside to check them out.


We also stop in the town of Kilmartin to check out the local church and the graveyard that surrounds it.  Some of the gravestones certainly are very old.  In addition, we get a nice view over the valley below us and we can even identify some of the relics that dot the countryside.


From here it takes us less than an hour to reach Oban.  Our first stop is at the information office (or rather the toilets - we had a major walking expedition to find them), followed by a walk around town to get acquainted.  We also go and check out the Oban distillery, but they charge a high fee and it seemed a bit more touristy (i.e., organised).  We do not want to be disappointed, so we pass.


It is now time for lunch, so we decide to head up to McCaig's tower (also known as McCaig's folly).  Built about 100 or so years ago by a wealthy local, it was never completed, but it certainly does make for a striking landmark for the town of Oban - almost like a crown.  We make the drive up there, grab our picnic basket and make our way inside the ersatz coliseum.  We find a bench that is as sheltered as possible from the brisk (i.e., cold) wind and have a very nice packed lunch.


After taking in the view of the city and the bay from this wonderful vantage point,  we make our way back down to the town.  Along the way, we stop at a number of B&Bs that dot the lane and pick one out to stay at for the night.  After doing some grocery shopping at Tescos's, we pick up on the sightseeing. First it is off to the St. Columba's Cathedral, of relatively new construction.  A simple, but nice cathedral.  We then drive for a short way along the coast, passing the war memorial, as we want to go and check out the ruined castle.  But it must be on private land, so that turns out to be not possible.


After a brief rest back at the B&B, we are ready to head out again.  This time we decide to check out the coastal road in the other direction, first making a stop at the top of Pulpit Hill, a look-out point situated high up on a hill overlooking the town.  A beautiful spot.  Then we drive for a ways on the single lane road along the coast.  With the sun shine, it certainly is a great place and we greatly enjoy the drive there and back into town.


It is now time for dinner and we have a horrible time finding a nice place - they are either full, do not look very good or are dead.  In the end, we stumble, pretty much by accident, on the Coasters, and it is well worth the hunt.  While the food was only average, the location and view were fantastic - right over the Sound of Kerrera.  Oh, yeah, the beer also was good, having a couple of pints while soaking up the view.  We get back to our B&B around 10 PM and take it easy for the rest of the evening.


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