Oban (An t-Oban), the terminus of the Oban line, is the major tourist resort in Argyll with every facility including hotels, guesthouses, bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants, bars, shops and supermarkets. There is a busy tourist office and a distillery.
Oban Bay is surrounded by hills, dominated by McCaig's Folly, a circular tower which was never completed. The waterfront promenade gives views to the isles of Kerrera and Mull.The above picture provides a view over the bay with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry terminal in the foreground and the Oban rail terminus immediately to the right. McCaigs Folly can be seen centre top.
The railway descends very steeply down from Glen Cruiten to Oban and the climb out, from a standing start, and over the Glen Cruiten summit was a challenging task in the days of steam. The picture on the left is of a service train just at the Glen Cruiten summit.
Oban is the gateway to the islands, with CalMac ferries to the beautiful islands of Mull, Lismore, Coll, Tiree, Barra, South Uist and Colonsay leaving from a new terminal building on the railway pier beside the station. See picture below which shows the busy scene with the 'Lord of the Isles' ferry at Oban Pier which is right beside the Oban station terminus. McCaig's Folly can be seen floodlit above the town.
Oban is therefore a delightful gateway to the sea. Because of this, and its many other attractions, Oban is very crowded in the summer months and travel by road and parking is, at times, challenging. The railway provides a relaxing means of getting to Oban from the south.
MV 'Clansman' bound for Castlebay on Barra just out of Oban on a warm summer afternoon.
Caledonian MacBrayne offer a wide choice of superb day cruises from Oban. Click here for more information.