Inside Scotland: Oban and Beyond

October 17, 2015 at 1:31 pm 7 comments

Oban, Scotland Oban, Scotland

Location: Oban, Scotland

We arrived in Oban late in the day. From the window of my second-floor room, I could see the sunset overlooking the bay. It was so beautiful that no words could describe it. It also gave me this comfort feeling that all’s well with the world and that it wouldn’t end tomorrow just yet.
 

Oban, Scotland Oban, Scotland
Oban, Scotland Oban, Scotland

 
Oban is a small town of 8,000 people on the west coast of Scotland. Despite its size, it’s considered the largest in Argyll and The Isles. Its location makes it an ideal gateway to the nearby Hebridean islands.

Oban has a nice esplanade where you can walk along the banks of the Firth of Lor and find a spot to sit back and enjoy the view. You can order fish and chips to go and eat there as well since restaurants in the area are often fully booked with reservations needed to be made in advance.

At the esplanade, I found what looked like love fishes hanging on the rails. Since Oban is the seafood capital of Scotland, I wondered if they were the local version of the love locks found in Paris and elsewhere.
 

Isle of Iona Isle of Iona
Isle of Iona Isle of Iona

 
Oban was our jumping point to the Isle of Iona, a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the Ross of Mull. As the birthplace of Christianity in this part of the world, it’s been a pilgrimage site for centuries. In 563 AD, St. Columba, an Irish monk, arrived in the island to build his first church and establish a monastic community. He was later credited for converting Scotland and northern England to the faith.

The trip to the Isle of Iona could be done in a day, but it would take advanced planning on your part. Otherwise, you might get stranded somewhere. Well, you need to take a ferry to the Isle of Mull, then a bus to Fionnphort, and finally another ferry to the Isle of Iona. I can assure you that it would be a challenge for somebody who doesn’t have a sense of direction like me.
 

Scenic View, Scotland Scenic View, Scotland

 
On the following day, we drove along the banks of Loch Lomond and headed south to visit the Stirling Castle and the Bannockburn battle site. It would be our last excursion and a fitting ending to this Scotland trip.
 

Stirling Castle, Scotland Stirling Castle, Scotland
Stirling Castle, Scotland Stirling Castle, Scotland

 
Stirling is a city in Central Scotland that figures prominently in Scottish history. Several Scottish Kings and Queens were crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who was executed for treason in 1587. Sitting atop a hill and surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, the Stirling Castle was Scotland’s most important castle. In the old days, it became the favorite official royal residence of Scottish monarchs. A statue of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, stands guard outside the castle.
 

Stirling Castle, Scotland Stirling Castle, Scotland
Stirling Castle, Scotland Stirling Castle, Scotland

 
I was quite surprised that I could take pictures inside its royal chapel and renovated palace in contrast to other historical places where the attractions are for your eyes only. It made the visit more memorable.
 

Bannockburn Battle Site, Scotland Bannockburn Battle Site, Scotland

 
After Stirling Castle, we went to the site of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, which signified a major Scottish victory in the war for Scotland’s independence. A statue of Robert the Bruce mounted on a horse could be found there as well as a poem by Kathleen Jamie engraved on the rotunda. It starts with the words, “Here lies our land every airt.” As our guide showed us around, I could feel his sense of pride. I would, too, if I have Scottish blood.

As the story goes, the English garrison then occupying Stirling Castle found themselves under siege by the Scots. This led the English King, Edward II, to mobilise a massive army to invade Scotland. The Scottish King, Robert the Bruce, who commanded a smaller force, faced them on his chosen ground in Bannockburn. Through his able leadership, the largely outnumbered Scots defeated the English and forced them to retreat.

It was late in the afternoon when we arrived in Edinburgh back to where our tour of Scotland started. We had our last dinner together and said goodbye to each other expressing hope that our paths would someday cross again. I wasn’t keeping my fingers crossed, though. I knew the chance of it ever happening was like winning in the lotto. I flew back to my old life in the U.S. the next day.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Inside Scotland: Oban and Beyond  |  October 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    […] Source: Inside Scotland: Oban and Beyond […]

    Reply
  • 2. lifeconfusions  |  October 18, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Awwh I have mixed feelings about the trip ending πŸ™‚ 😦

    Reply
    • 3. plaridel  |  October 18, 2015 at 11:55 am

      zee:

      life being what it is, that’s something to be expected. hello and good-bye. 😦

      Reply
  • 4. macmsue  |  October 18, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Did you walk around McCaig’s folly up on the hill at Oban? It’s quite amazing not only the “building” but the motive behind it

    Reply
    • 5. plaridel  |  October 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      sue:

      i didn’t but some of the folks in our tour did. they said it was worth the climb because of the spectacular views.

      Reply
  • 6. macmsue  |  October 20, 2015 at 4:29 am

    A relative we were travelling with couldn’t walk far at all so he drove up the winding roads to the folly. I loved it. If you’re interested, my blog post about Oban is here http://wp.me/p1vAK9-nP

    Reply
    • 7. plaridel  |  October 20, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      sue:

      i’ll stop by to read it. πŸ™‚

      Reply

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