16th June 2018
I've always liked Oban. A compact town wrapped around its harbour and ferry terminal, ideal for wandering around with plenty of interest and no shortage of places to eat and drink. The West Highland Line is probably one of the best ways to get there, I driven there in the past but if you're driving you don't really get to appreciate the scenery - at least not without risk of becoming part of it. Also you can take advantage of the above mentioned places to drink :-)
Just over £30 (June 2018) gets you an off-peak return from Glasgow, in my case from Charing Cross changing at Dalmuir from the suburban service to the West Highland Line train that had come from Glasgow Queen Street. I was surprised that it was only a two coach train, quite busy but I had a seat reservation anyway.
The West Highland Line is famous for spectacular views but it quickly became apparent that we weren't to be afforded any of them by the rain and mist that had descended on the west of Scotland that morning. The photo isn't mine but gives you an idea of what it was like except the mist was thicker.
Fortunately by the time the train reached Oban two and three-quarter hours later the weather had cleared up and though breezy there were some prolonged warm sunny periods and it stayed dry.
|Oban town and harbour.|
Had a wander about the town, there were a number of tall ships (sailing ships) moored in the harbour at the North Pier. The North Pier has been redeveloped since I first visited and now seems to be dominated by two modern restaurants. I seem to recall there used to be a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" and a Model Railway exhibition at one time but not any more. There are at least some public toilets which as far as I can tell are the only ones in the town centre.
Above the town and visible from most of it is what appears to be a Roman Amphitheatre. Now we all know that the empire's "civilising" influence didn't reach this far north so what is it really?
|McCaig's Tower from the harbour.|
In spite of the stiff breeze it was warm work climbing up to the tower and back so back into town for an ice cream and a look around the shops, a pint in the Oban Inn, some excellent grilled scallops at MacGillivrays Seafood right by the harbour, and to take some more photos.
That's just immature.
As is the gull.
And then it was time to get the train back to Glasgow. My seat reservation was in Coach G, which was a bit odd for a two coach train but the two coaches were F and G, something to do I think with how the trains out of Glasgow divide at Crianlarich, with part of the train going to Oban and the other going to Mallaig (which is a trip I intend to do at some point in the future). The views were much better on the way back in the evening light although photo's taken through the train windows don't really do them justice.
Traditional Scottish treat for the journey.
Washed down with Irn Bru obviously.
Back at Dalmuir Station to change trains and the setting sun lit up the adjacent tower blocks while waiting for the Scotrail suburban service for Charing Cross.
The Scotrail services in and around Glasgow were, at least while I was there, reasonably reliable, fairly frequent, and sometimes even on time.
If you're thinking of visiting Oban then I'd say do it. And let the train take the strain, as they used to say.