|Location: 56° 25’ N 005° 29’ W|
|Anchorage Position:||56° 25.8’ N 005° 30.0’ W (Outer),|
56° 24.95’ N 005° 28.75’ W (Inner)
|Distance to Landing Stage: 1.0 NM (Outer) 0.3 NM (Inner)|
|Tidal range/movement: 3.8m|
|Pilotage: No compulsory pilotage|
|Town centre: Adjacent to landing stage|
|Shuttle to town: Not required|
|Nearest airport: Oban, 8km|
Vicki McKenzie, Harbour Master/Port Manager Oban North Pier Oban Argyll PA34 5NH
T: +44 (0) 1631 562892 F: +44 (0) 1631 563550
The coastal town of Oban ("little bay" in Gaelic - Scotland's ancient Celtic language) is a popular and vibrant destination and is regarded as the Seafood Capital of Scotland.
Oban and the surrounding area is rich with things to do for visitors, from exploring the dramatic coastal scenery and mountains and discovering the fascinating histories of the local castles, museums, shops and restaurants right through to marvelling at the imposing architecture and superb views from McCaig’s Tower.
The North Pier pontoons offer easy embarkation and disembarkation directly in to the town centre with easy access for mobility impaired visitors and those arriving by tender. The Oban Distillery sits at the heart of the town and offers excellent opportunities to get up close to whisky production and perhaps sample a single malt. There are excellent pubs many offering live music, local banter, a range of craft beers (including local brews) craft gins, and good wines. The town has a couple of specialist whisky shops to explore and many independent retailers.
Get a feel for life in Oban across the centuries at Oban War and Peace Museum, where the role the town played in two World Wars is brought to life through local memorabilia and stories, and at Dunollie Castle, which offers insight in to the history of Clan MacDougall. You’ll also find plenty of friendly and welcoming locals (and Oban’s team of Ambassadors) so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
There are a great variety of places to eat, to suit every palate, with exceptional seafood available at various cafes, bistros and food service outlets throughout the town. Take your pick from a fresh crab sandwich on the pier to an extravagant Shellfish Platter at one of the town’s award- winning restaurants. And don’t worry if you just want to stop off and stock up on your own provisions, the town’s major supermarkets are just a short stroll from the pontoons and there are plenty of taxis too. There is also a wide choice of local independent shops, offering excellent gift ideas including high quality crafts, food and drink products, knitwear and kilts and befitting a port town, there’s local chandleries and hardware stores too.
If you hanker after more active pursuits, you can get up-close to the rich and diverse local wildlife, thanks to boat trips which operate frequently from the town. If you want to enjoy traditional Scottish culture, there are lots of great events, including local Highland Games and music festivals, and the Welcome Boards around town display the calendar of What’s On. You can also connect for free to the web via the town’s wi-fi network to book tours and tickets and plan your itinerary.
Oban is well connected to the central belt of Scotland. It is only two and a half hours’ drive from Glasgow, through stunning countryside, and there is a direct train connection from Glasgow on the West Highland line and frequent coach services too. Accommodation in town is good quality and ranges from backpacking hostels to luxury hotels with almost everything in between. The pontoons allow short stays of up to 3 nights and there are two nearby marinas for longer visits.
The following is a list of popular excursions that are available.
It should be noted that these details are not definitive but are intended to demonstrate the range of excursions and activities available to cruise passengers visiting Oban as part of a cruise. Please note that, in many cases and with prior arrangement, half day tours can be combined to create full day itineraries
Shore excursions are normally pre-booked onboard via the cruise line concerned. Cruise Scotland cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of this information and all details and tour descriptions should be checked with the cruise line concerned.
Half Day Arduaine Gardens
Travel through stunning coastal scenery on the way to the National Trust for Scotland Gardens of Arduaine, situated on a south-facing slope overlooking Asknish Bay and the Sound of Jura. The Gulf Stream creates a micro-climate along this coast, enabling rare plants to survive and offering delights for garden aficionados. Arduaine is best known for the wonderful collection of rhododendrons which has been built up here over a period of eighty or ninety years, but this atmospheric 20-acre garden is home to a diversity of plants with something from every continent with the exception of Antarctica.
Half Day Inveraray Castle
Enjoy the drive through dramatic scenery with lochs, magnificent mountains, ancient woodland and stunning castles. Situated on the loch-side and laid out in the 18th century, Inveraray remains one of the most complete and picturesque towns in Scotland with its imposing black and white houses. Stretch your legs here before visiting the nearby castle which is the home of the Duke of Argyll. The present Castle was built in the 18th century and its impressive edifice perfectly complements the grandeur of the surrounding scenery. The magnificent interiors were completed between 1770 and 1789 to the design of Robert Mylne for the 5th Duke of Argyll and are home to magnificent displays of weaponry, tapestry and art.
Half Day Neolithic Scotland
Travel back over 3,000 years to discover the mystery of the ancient Neolithic monuments of Kilmartin Glen. There are an incredible 350 ancient monuments within six miles of the village of Kilmartin, 150 of which are prehistoric. Your tour begins with a visit to the Kilmartin House Museum which will give you an insight into the life of the inhabitants of the Glen. You will then enjoy a guided walking tour to three of the most dramatic monuments in this remarkable area.
Half Day St Conan’s Kirk and Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe-side
St Conan’s Kirk is an architecturally elaborate and fascinating building, providing the most enchanting experience. It was voted one of the top most architecturally significant buildings in Scotland. The kirk is renowned for its connection to Robert the Bruce, where one of his bone fragments is meant to rest.
Kilchurn Castle is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland and was the former stronghold of the Campbell’s of Glenorchy. It was a fortress, residence and a garrison stronghold, and contains the oldest surviving Barracks on the British mainland. There is a short but beautiful walk to the castle through pasture on the banks of Loch Awe. From within the castle you can explore several levels, and take in wonderful views of the Loch and surrounding hill sides.
Half Day Dunstaffnage Castle
Built before 1275 on a huge rock overlooking the Firth of Lorn, just outside Oban, Dunstaffnage was the mighty stronghold of the MacDougalls. The castle, with its huge curtain wall, was captured by Robert the Bruce in 1309 and remained in royal possession for some years. Dunstaffnage became the temporary prison of Flora MacDonald in 1746. Enjoy a guided visit and learn the story of this dramatic castle which looks out to the Inner Hebrides.
Half day Oban Sea Life Sanctuary
Nestling in a mature spruce forest on the shores of beautiful Loch Creran, the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary enjoys one of the most picturesque settings in Britain and is home to some of the Uk’s most enchanting marine creatures. In clear waters you can explore fascinating natural marine habitats containing everything from Octopus to Seals. Every day there is a range of talks and feeding demonstrations from the team of marine experts which may allow you to hand feed some rays or perhaps learn about and hold some starfish and crabs.
Half day Cruachan Power Station
Widely regarded as an engineering masterpiece, and often referred to as The Hollow Mountain, Cruachan was devised by Sir Edward MacColl and was built by a workforce of 4000. Over 220,000 cubic metres of rock was blasted and drilled by explosives experts know as Tunnel Tigers, to create a cavern 1km inside the mountain to house the turbines and a network of pipes and tunnels.
At full operation Cruachan can meet the power demands of more than 200,000 homes. However, unlike other power stations, Cruachan can also act as a ‘battery’.
Oban Distillery is both one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland and one of the smallest with two pot stills. Pre-dating the town of Oban, it was originally established in 1794 by brothers John and Hugh Stevenson. It underwent a refurbishment in the 1890s and there has been little change to the present buildings since then. The distillery’s tours offer visitors the chance to witness the traditional craftsmanship of whisky production first-hand before enjoying complimentary drams of the World famous Oban 14 year old West Highland Malt.
Why not take a short trip along the sea front to Oban Chocolate Shop and enjoy some whisky infused chocolates.
The 1745 House was the first home of the chiefs of the Clan MacDougall, when Dunollie Castle fell into ruin and disrepair. The 1745 House is open for visitors to explore the history of the family and rural life through objects within the Clan and Hope MacDougall Collections.
The ruined castle was a strategic vantage point for the Kings of Dalriada and the Lords of Lorn, the castle now provides an emotive local icon attracting visitors from all over the world. It is a fascinating subject of research and offers the most magnificent views of Oban, down the sounds of Kerrera and across the Firth of Lorn to Mull and Iona.