Oban is known as the Gateway to the Isles…
The town’s South Pier is where you can catch ferries to Mull, Lismore, Islay, Coll and many more (www.southernhebrides.com). Close to the South Pier you will find the slipway where you can take a short boat ride over to Oban’s closest neighbour – Kerrera Island.
This beautiful island is 6 and a half miles long and can be seen from Glenburnie. The Kerrera Ferry takes only a few minutes from the slipway in Oban town centre. It runs regularly throughout the Summer months, and six times a day during Winter. The island is home to about 40 people, so there are few cars. It’s an ideal place to walk or cycle – and the views are breath taking. Whilst there are no shops on the island, there is a wonderful Tea Room which shouldn’t be missed, combined with The Waypoint Restaurant – which is perfect for a spot of lunch as you watch the boats go by.
Seil and Easdale
About 20 minutes’ drive from Oban, you’ll find Seil and Easdale Islands. Easdale is very close to the Island of Seil, which is connected to the mainland by the 200 year-old Clachan Bridge, known as the “Bridge over the Atlantic”. There are no cars on Easdale, which is served by a small ferry. The island is fascinating, offering unrivalled views of the Firth of Lorn to the north and many other islands to the south. The beaches are terrific for beachcombing or simply soaking up the fresh Atlantic air. Other things to see on the island are the historical remains of what was once the centre of the Scottish slate mining industry. The still pools, which are a defining feature of Easdale, were once active slate quarries. A visit to the Island would not be complete without a stop at The Puffer for a delicious lunch, or a cup of tea and homemade cake.
If you’re feeling like an adventure, take one of these exhilarating tours (www.seafari.co.uk) by boat. Based where you take the small ferry across to Easdale island, Seafari offer a wide range of exciting wildlife tours by boat. Once dressed in your oil skins, you’ll climb aboard one of Sea.fari’s commercial RIBS and embark on a trip you won’t forget for many years to come!
Just 7 miles by car ferry from Oban, Lismore is a wonderful day trip. The island is tranquil and unspoiled, and surrounded on all sides by stunning mountain scenery, from Ben Nevis in the north – snow-capped in winter – to the hills of Mull in the south. Lismore’s English name is taken from the Gaelic ‘Lios Mor’ – literally translated as ‘Great Garden’. This gives a clue as to why the island is worth a visit. Together with its historical sights, there is an array of flowers and wildlife to see. Lismore is only 10 miles long, so, if you don’t feel like taking the car, it’s super just to take a bike instead.
Mull, Iona and Staffa
A day trip to Mull and Iona is one of the highlights of your visit to Oban. The islands are best visited by taking an inclusive excursion. There are many to choose from and the Oban Tourist Information Centre can provide names, prices, schedules etc. Most tours include the ferry crossing to Craignure on Mull, a journey across the Ross of Mull and then another ferry to Iona where you can visit the Abbey and the burial place of many Scottish Kings. Sea and weather permitting, it’s also possible to visit the Island of Staffa with its famous Fingal’s Cave.