Inside Scotland: On the Road to Oban
Location: Highland Landscape, Scotland
After staying in Inverness for a couple of days, we headed to Oban, a small coastal town of 8,000 people on the banks of the Firth of Lorn where the local culture is gaelic.
It was a day long trip as we made a few stops along the way to see the sights and to take care of business when it was absolutely necessary.
First, we took a short cruise on Loch Ness. The lake is supposed to be inhabited by a prehistoric monster which remains as mysterious as the big foot. I stayed on top of the boat with a camera ready to shoot anything that looked suspicious in the waters to prove the skeptics wrong, but I was disappointed.
As we neared the shore, the tower of the Urquhart Castle came to view. The boat dropped us at the base of the ruins of one of the largest castles in Scotland.
The Urquhart Castle figured prominently in the Scottish war for independence in the 14th century when it fell to the English, reclaimed, and then lost again. In the 17th century, it was partially destroyed to prevent its use by the Jacobite forces which sought to restore the Stuart monarchy in Scotland and England. It was never rebuilt and was subsequently abandoned.
After our tour of the castle, we drove a short distance to a farm and said ‘hi’ to the highland cattle known for their long horns and wavy coats. They seemed friendly and gladly ate the apples from our hands. Despite their cuteness, they aren’t raised as pets but for their meat. It would be just a matter of time when they meet their fate in the slaughterhouse.
Finally, we headed to Fort Augustus for lunch and sighseeing on our own. Even in a small village like Fort Augustus (pop. 1,000), I could find something to remind me of Queen Victoria like a water fountain ommemorating her passing through the village in 1873 on a boat. I guess that should be expected for the queen who reigned the United Kingdom for 63 years.
En route to Oban, I was so distracted by the natural beauty of the landscape that I hardly paid attention to the lecture that our guide was giving. Since I wouldn’t be passing this way again, I tried to enjoy it as much as I could.