Oban: A Scottish Seaside Town

This morning on the news we heard it would be another record breaking day for temperatures in Europe. We were lucky though. For us in Glasgow, it started out as a sweater weather kind of day.

We took a three hour bus ride north out of the city to Oban, a seaside town in the Hebrides. Once the bus left the city limits, the landscape changed dramatically. Huge hills rose up beside the winding road dotted with pine forests and small whitewashed houses with slate roofs. Lakes seemed to appear out of nowhere like giant puddles on the barren landscape fed by rushing streams. There was beauty everywhere we looked.

Oban is a seaside town that was once a popular holiday destination until short haul flights came into vogue to whisk people off to warmer climates. Today the town has many old Victorian hotels and B&Bs. Our accommodation the Kilchrenan House is a B &B just outside town. Our room has a bay window overlooking the harbor.

We walked into town to make a reservation for a day trip tomorrow and met a man who asked if we were of Scottish ancestry. When I told him yes, my maiden name was MacFeiggan, he said, “oh yes, that’s McFiggan. It’s a name found on the border of England.” I was astonished. This is the first time anyone has recognized this name, but not only that, it confirmed what I had seen on an envelope sent to my ancestors in Canada in the 1860s from Scotland. That is how the name appeared to be spelled.No wonder I never found it in any phone book in Scotland when I was 10.

Scotland is famous for Scotch whiskey and we toured the Oban Distillery which was established in 1794 and is known worldwide. Our distillery tour group was from all over Europe and North America and our informative guide was great. He passed around little glasses of whiskey for us to savor the orange and honey scent and said, “Have a wee swirl and a wee nose and you will see.” In one room he served us each a sample in a tiny glass with an etched design. Right as I mentioned to David it would be nice to buy a glass like this, our guide proudly announced, “The glasses are a gift for you and here is a nice box to put it in for safe keeping.”

Dinner tonight was at a seafood restaurant. We had mussels and salmon and it was fresh from the sea. After dinner we walked along the waterfront. It stays light here until well after 9:30. We feel very lucky to be in such a pretty place.

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