A Visit to Oban, Kilmartin Glen, and Inveraray Castle in Scotland
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As we sailed into the port on the ferry from Mull, we passed all of the old manor houses lining the waterfront along the edge of the harbor. In the photo below, you can see the Barriemore (under the red arrow), which would be our home for the night.
Exiting the ferry in the car was less problematic than I’d read and we were at the house in about 20 minutes. Along the waterfront, just about every “house” is a B&B and the Barriemore is at the far end, yet still walking distance from the center of town.
We had a beautiful harbor view room with a huge bathroom. There was complimentary sherry in the room and a wee dram of whisky available in the downstairs hall. The house has a nice breakfast room with cooked to order food and a small buffet. There’s free parking available off the street in front of the house. We booked our stay at the Barriemore through booking.com.
Our room was on the corner and had lots of windows, with a spectacular view over the harbor, two comfortable chairs, table, and fireplace.
We didn’t have any plans and it was late in the afternoon, so we walked into the center of town hoping to be able to take a tour of the Oban Distillery. Unfortunately, they were fully booked for the rest of the day. Instead, we wandered about town a bit, stopping to look at restaurant menus and spent some time in a local whisky shop.
Places were starting to get crowded for dinner and we didn’t have reservations, so we went where we could get a seat and that was at Cuan Mor, right on the waterfront road, George Street. We lucked out to get a table for two right in the front window.
It’s a lively bar and restaurant offering drinks and decent food. We started with a bit of rustic pate and then David followed with steak and scallops while I had my craving for a burger and fries fulfilled. After dinner, we walked back to our room and enjoyed the sunset view over the water with a dram (or two) of whisky.
Note: the proper spelling for “whisky” in Scotland (what many people call “Scotch”) is without the “e”. In Ireland and the US, it’s spelled with the “e” at the end, “whiskey”.
Kilmartin Glen and Standing Stones
I’ve always been fascinated by pre-history and especially standing stones like Stonehenge. Of course, this obsession was enhanced by books like Outlander and when I discovered that on our drive from Oban to Galway, we’d be passing right by some stones that you could just walk out and touch (unlike Stonehenge), I was determined to make that stop.
We arrived at the hamlet of Kilmartin Glen in the late morning and made our first stop at their little museum gift shop where we bought tickets to the museum and picked up a map of the area sites. The museum is small but thorough and also offers a lovely view over the valley where the prehistoric sights can be found. Note: I think the museum is now undergoing a larger expansion. Visiting info can be found here.
From the museum we drove over to the field where the Ballymeanoch standing stones are. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be able to walk among them, even in the rain!
We were also able to walk to check out the Nether Largie South chamber tomb and the Temple Wood Circle.
Along the way to Glasgow, we made one last stop, to see Inveraray Castle on the edge of Loch Fyne. The castle as it looks today, was mostly built in the mid-1700s with more construction in the 1800s after a fire. It is the seat of the Campbell Clan and home to the Duke of Argyle. There are parts of it which are still lived in and you do get the sense of a family home while walking though some of the rooms.
One of my favorite things to see in old homes or castles is the kitchen and Inveraray did not disappoint. The old kitchen space is enormous. There were dozens of copper pots, several different types of stoves and ovens, and one very cool chest of drawers that functioned as a pantry (see below). The kitchen was used and working up into the 1950s.
If you are a Downton Abbey fan, you might recognize Inveraray Castle and the area in the photo above from the 2012 season Christmas episode. More on that here.
After touring the castle, we had lunch in their tearoom which is located in the basement near the old kitchen. They have a decent selection of sandwiches and baked goods. We had tasty egg salad sandwiches and tomato soup as well as a fun local beer called Pig’s Paradise Blonde.
Inveraray Castle is about 40 miles from Oban and 60 miles from Glasgow. They are open daily April through October. Visitor information can be found here.
Have you been to this part of Scotland? Thinking of going? Leave me a comment at the bottom and make my day!
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