Islay to Oban – September 13

We were up early and relaxed before heading down to breakfast. We packed up, checked out and made our way to Finlaggan. This was the ancient seat of the Lordship of the Isles from 1329 – 1493. The island is named Eilean Mor and on it there is a chapel ruin with 4 graves, a 16th Century house ruin and a scattering of ground stones representing some of the 20 buildings that existed here in Medieval times. We then went to Caol Ila which was established in 1846. We drove alongside the water, opposite Jura to Bannahabhain – pronounced Bannahavain. Established in 1881 this distillery has a stunning view but the staff were not that engaging! On the drive back we spotted a golden eagle. We got to Port Askaig an hour early! We walked around the port, bought crackers at the shop and had espressos at the hotel. The hotel, shop, ‘garage’ (one fuel pump) and self catering cottages (2) are owned by Iain and Marion Spears. They have a captive market! The place could do with some TLC and a friendlier attitude. We are on the same ferry as on the way here. The staff work 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off, living on the ferry while in port. The hotel must do a thriving business from the crew each night. We had lunch in the cafeteria of the Hebridean Isles and then espressos in the coffee bar. We spent a lot of time on the deck basking in the sunlight. We watched the bow lifting when we docked at Kennacraig and drove off the barge at 15:10 with the weather a warm 18 degrees. We followed the route we came in, until Adrishaig, where we turned off for Oban. We stopped to look at the Kilmartin crosses from 900 and 1200AD which were found in 1860 and the 23 stones which date from 1200 – 1712. We then drove past an unmarked standing stone just before Ardfem. We arrived in Oban just before 5 and parked alongside a slew of B and B’s and hotels. We chose the Corriemar Hotel for the night. We took an hours walk through the town, gazed up at McCaig’s Tower and had a half pint each at Coasters. Doom bar Cornish ale for Dave and Belhaven best for me. Dinner was at Oban Fish and Chips as Rick Stein said it was the best fish and chips he had ever had (in 2002). We had 500g of mussels to share and a fish platter for 2. This consisted of generous portions of sole, hake, cod, halibut and haddock which were all excellent. Plus a plate of chips each, and sides off tartare sauce, coleslaw and mushy peas. Our last stop was at Coasters for a tot each of Speyburn 10 year old.

ISLAY TO OBAN – SEPTEMBER 13

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