Monday, April 03, 2006

A Short Break In Oban - Kerrera


Another good, hearty breakfast and a quick trip down town to buy something for lunch and off we set for the 10:30 ferry to the little island of Kerrera. We've been to Kerrera before done this same walk but the weather was nice and our legs didn't fancy another climb after doing Beinn Lora yesterday so it seemed a pleasant way to spend the day.

Not The Ferry!

The ferry to Kerrera is about a mile or so south of Oban on the Gallanach road and there's plenty of parking there although it can get very busy as Kerrera is popular with cyclists and walkers. It was still on the winter timetable so we had to get there on time or the next one wasn't until 12:30. In summer you can just turn up, flip the board to let the ferryman know you want to cross, and if he's there and thinks there's enough people to warrant a trip, he'll come get you. The fare was only £3.50 each for the return trip so it's a cheap day out.

The circular walk round the southern part of the island is is about six to seven miles long and can be a pretty pleasant stroll if the weather is nice. We followed the path south, doing the walk clockwise. It follows the shore along Horseshoe Bay then cuts inland and over to the south side of the island just after Little Horseshoe Bay. Once over the headland there's a detour down to Gylen Castle, which is well worth taking for the views of the dramatically poised castle, the rocky outcroppings on the shore and the views over to Mull. The castle is undergoing restoration but it's still pretty impressive looking, sitting atop its rocky headland. We were allowed in to look around as the main floor has been flagged over now. It's still roofless but it must've been a decent home at one point, with at least three floors we could see plus the basement for storage.

Gylen Castle

We had lunch on the rocky beach the trekked back up to the main path via a bit of a circuitous route to avoid crossing a stream. We had been looking forward to tea and a scone at the Tea Garden but were met with a sign saying simply "Shut!". Yet another place that doesn't open until Easter, which is a pity. I remember that the scones were pretty good the last time we were here and I'm sure there were enough walkers on the island to justify them opening early, especially as the weather was so good.

So, our passion for scones unrequited, we plodded on back along the path, which wends ever north and higher as it crosses back over the top of the island towards the ferry point. There are some good views to be had from the high points and Ben Cruachan was still well covered in snow and looked amazing, standing high above the surrounding landscape. Still, time was pressing and we marched on to get back to the ferry in plenty of time for the 4 o'clock sailing.

Back in Oban, we had a walk up to McCaig's Tower to try and get some shots of the sunset but it wasn't that great and the huge yellow lights they have illuminating the tower got in the way of a decent view. Got a couple of shots but decided to come back tomorrow morning for more.

Eating Out

For food, we thought we'd try Shenanigans Tex-Mex restaurant down on the waterfront complex but yet again we were confronted by a closed door. To be honest, the whole area down there looked pretty dilapidated and the supposedly upmarket Waterfront Restaurant was also closed down. Anyway, we ended up in the unimaginatively named China, the town's only Chinese restaurant. The food was pretty good but the service was brusque and we felt pressured to finish up and leave. Maybe that's just fast and efficient service but it didn't help have a relaxing meal.

Home tomorrow...

1 comment: said...

Thanks a lot for your stories about your short stay in Oban. I'm going to Oban in september for 3 days and was surfing the internet for information about nice day trips, your blog was (is!) very helpfull! A pity I don't have a car, so Kerrera seems a very good option :)