McCaig's Tower

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Taylor Shelby on April 11, 2005

If you can tear your eyes away from the beautiful harbor of Oban, you might look up toward the top of the city and see something that might make you double-take. Yeah, you are seeing that right. It looks like the coliseum is watching over the city. That big, weird, Roman-looking thing is actually something called McCaig’s Tower, the lifelong dream of a guy who must have been somewhat of an eccentric (gosh, ya think?).

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.

McCaig's Tower
Laurel Street
Oban, Scotland
+44 (0)1631 563122

© LP 2000-2009