A Highland Folly


    It doesn’t matter if it’s a winter’s or summer’s day, each time I have visited, Oban, over the years it’s beauty has never failed to disappoint me. Ferries sailing in and out of the harbour, transporting people and goods to the inner and outer Hebridean islands, add some bustle to the otherwise laid-back small Scottish town.

     The views from the town towards the islands are nothing more than spectacular and make the hairs on the back of my neck stand-up. My Scottish blood hurtles through my veins and my feet twitch on hearing the wailing of the bagpipes, that always seem to be playing in the background.

    The bells ring from the tower of St Columba’s Cathedral inviting worshippers to mass daily, stopping the promenaders in their tracks as the sound echoes around the horseshoe-shaped bay.

    Then when prayers are finished it’s time to try out one of the fish and seafood restaurants that give this gateway to the highlands the name of ‘Seafood Capital of Scotland’. On the few occasions that food isn’t on the agenda a walk up to the summit of Battery Hill, finishing within the magnificent walls of McCaig’s Tower is worth the hike up the arduous incline.

    There are two reasons why anyone would take a sharp intake of breath on entering its towering walls, that is because of the exertion that has been applied to reach the top of the hill and the glorious sight that the eyes now behold.

    This folly commissioned by, banker John Stuart McCaig in 1897, five years prior to his death in 1902 was built as an everlasting monument to his family and to provide philanthropic support for local stonemasons during the winter months. One hundred plus years on, this dominating landmark makes an everlasting impression on each and every visitor to the town and port. Giving all who enter a birds-eye view of this part of the Scottish Highlands.

    Once back down the hill the blistered heels rubbed toes and tired legs can be eased with a glass of the whisky distilled in the town’s distillery, which is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland.