A July 2003 trip
to Oban by Taylor Shelby
Quote: The Scottish Highlands are an experience not to be missed. I visited the small towns of Oban and Ft. William.
Oban Backpackers is pretty convenient to the train station in Oban - although most things are; it isn't very small. There are only a couple of main streets, so it's pretty darn easy to find your way around. The hostel is only about an 8- to 10-minute walk, and it is so pretty in Oban that you hardly notice you are doing any work. When you exit the station, take a left on George St. Walk for a bit, then the street forks. Take the right fork (Breadalbane St.) and the hostel is right up the road, on your right, with the red window frames.
I liked this hostel a lot. The rooms were small, with four bunk beds in each. The beds were surprisingly comfortable, and they all had wonderful peach-colored sheets on them. Just try not to feel cheered when you walk in. All of the rooms have big windows in them, so they let in a lot of light (well, by Scottish standards anyway). They also have big, clean bathrooms, with some of the most powerful showers I have ever found in a hostel. Just get stuck in a Scottish rainstorm once, and you will be LOVING those showers.
Oban Backpackers has a wonderful commons area. It is all located on the ground floor and is quite large. My one complaint about the commons area - it is painted a particularly garish shade of yellow. I didn't so much like that. There are a bunch of sofas in various states of shabbiness and some little tables scattered around. They also have a HUGE kitchen, filled with just about everything you need. I literally watched a girl make shrimp fettuccini (not bad for hostel fare).
I only have one complaint about this hostel (and most of the others in this chain). Since it is on the McBackpackers bus route, you will often get big groups in that are all bonded. Sometimes they are friendly, and sometimes they aren't. It is kind of a crapshoot. But there were a few others in the hostel that weren't part of the group, so it all worked out.
These hostels all have tons of extras, which I don't have room to include. You can check them out at the website: Oban Backpackers.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 11, 2005
(Closed) Breadalbane Street
This structure is often referred to as McCaig’s Folly, which is probably a more accurate name for it. Construction on the monument began in 1895 and went on until 1902. It was funded by a banker named McCaig. He wanted something that would provide work for local stone masons during the slow winter months and also survive as a monument to his family. Construction costs were somewhere around ₤5,000, quite a bit of money in Victorian England. There was supposed to be a big tower in the middle that held an art museum and statues of the members of McCaig’s family. That never really worked out, it seems, because when McCaig died in 1902, there wasn’t anyone willing to sink any more money into the project.
Well, one thing that it did succeed in doing was providing a wonderful place for tourists to see a spectacular sunset and take some wonderful pictures. It also provided quite a bit of money for people who are in the postcard business. Just about every one features the tower or a picture taken from it.
The walk up to the tower is wonderful too, but pretty exhausting. The hike is steep. But it is pretty short. You get to walk through some cute little neighborhoods and see about a thousand B&Bs, most of which have really lovely gardens. Make sure to stop and see the flowers. You’re on vacation, remember? Once you get to the top, you will have million dollar views of the entire city and the so-picturesque-it-hurts harbor. Make sure to bring your camera. You’ll be an instant photographer. Try to time it at sunset, because it is magical. This would also be a great place to have a picnic or snuggle with your sweetie.
It’s easy to find the tower, just start walking up. You can’t really lose sight of it, so you shouldn’t have a hard time getting there. From George St, turn down Argyll St. At the end, you will find a staircase going up the hillside. Head on up that, then turn left on Ardconnel Terrace. From there take a right on Laurel Road, which leads you to the tower. Enjoy! And don’t say I didn’t warn you about the climb.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 11, 2005
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